9 good questions to ask in an interview
Interviews aren't just about giving the right answers—they're about asking the right questions.
The landscape for job seekers today can be difficult. In other words, if you want a job today, the hard work starts when you prepare for the interview. That means not just nailing the interview questions you are asked, but actually knowing which questions to ask in an interview so that you leave a strong impression on hiring managers. After all, you’re reviewing them as much as they’re reviewing you. The right questions to ask during an interview are the ones that will not only elicit important information, but will also reflect positively on you as a candidate.
Here’s the thing: Rattling off a list of haphazard queries won’t get you much attention. You need to come up with good questions to ask in an interview, ones that make the people in the room sit up and take notice. Your questions must demonstrate that you did your homework on the job itself, have a set of values that are shared with the company, and understand where the industry is headed. Bonus: These questions could also help you avoid a bad boss before it's too late.
Your goal is to make a statement in the form of a question. The statement is designed to:
- Highlight your qualifications.
- Demonstrate your confidence.
- Reinforce your commitment.
- Understand the employer’s challenges.
- Make yourself accountable.
- Advance your candidacy.
Questions are the best way to demonstrate that you understand the company’s challenges, emphasize how you can help the company meet them, and show your interest in the most unmistakable manner possible—by actually asking for the position.
So, what are the best questions to ask in an interview? Based on my interviews with dozens of recruiters, human resource professionals, and job coaches, here are nine of the most memorable questions to ask in an interview.
Good interview questions to ask about the company
- What exactly does this company value the most, and how do you think my work for you will further these values?
- Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture?
- How does this company define and measure success?
Good interview questions to ask about the job
- What kinds of processes are in place to help me work collaboratively?
- In what area could your team use a little polishing?
- What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?
Good interview questions to ask the interviewer
- How long have you been with the company?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What makes you good at your job?
Bonus interview questions to ask
- How long is the average tenure of an employee?
- Where would the company like to be in five years?
- Am I going to be a mentor or will I be mentored?
- How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?
- This job sounds like something I’d really like to do—is there a fit here?
- Now that we’ve talked about my qualifications and the job, do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?
- What is the next step in the hiring process?
- When can I expect to hear back?
- By when do you hope to make someone an offer?
- When is the anticipated starting date for this position?
- Whom should I reach out to if I have any further questions?
Use these questions to ask during an interview as prototypes for questions based on the particulars of the position for which you are being considered. Make them your own and polish them until their shine reflects on you. Asking questions like these is not for the faint of heart but, then again, neither is succeeding in a competitive job market.
John Kador is the author of 301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and more than 10 books. His other career books are The Manager's Book of Questions: 1001 Great Interview Questions for Hiring the Best Person and The Flawless Interview. Kador is a frequent speaker at job and college career fairs. He can be reached via email or on Twitter. His website is www.jkador.com.
Prep ahead of time
Now that you know which questions to ask in an interview, you can turn the focus back on crafting your answers to common interview questions. Could you use a little more help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you'll get career advice, job search tips, and interview insights sent directly to your inbox so you can learn how to put your best professional foot forward. We'll help you craft answers to questions about your personality, work experience, and skill set so that you stand out from the crowd. A little preparation can take you far!