Congratulations! The long hours spent toiling over job applications have paid off and you’ve finally landed an interview – but now what? An interview isn’t just a chance for the employers to assess you, it’s also a chance for you to evaluate the company. Also, asking questions in an interview also signals to the employer that you’re a driven individual with a genuine interest in the job. However, thinking of the right questions to ask in an interview to bring across this sense of interest, curiosity and passion is not an easy task. Fret not, for today we’ll walk you through 17 smartest questions to ask in an interview that are sure to wow your interviewers. Read on!
Questions to Ask in an Interview About the Job
1. “What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?”
Other ways to phrase this question include: “Can you describe what a typical day in this job would look like?” This is one of the most common questions to ask in an interview, and one that you should not leave out unless the interviewer has already discussed the JD (job description) with you beforehand.
Other than signalling to the interviewer that you take the job seriously and want to find out more about the job scope, the answers you get to this question will also help you make a more informed decision on whether to accept the position, if ultimately offered. After all, you will be committing a considerable amount of time and energy to the job, and it’s important to get a sense of whether you’ll enjoy the work you will be doing.
2. “What’s your favourite part of working in this job?”
If you sense that the interview is going well and you’re looking to break the ice with your interviewers, this is one of the many questions to ask in an interview that you can consider. Most candidates tend to go for more “formal” questions pertaining to work culture and job scope, so this question may set you apart from the others.
In addition, from their replies, you’ll also get to get a quick gauge of how it’s like to work at that organisation from the employee’s perspective. If the replies aren’t very enthusiastic, it could also be a potential red flag that may be noteworthy. On the contrary, if the employee gushes sincerely about the organisation, this could be a sign that employees of this organisation are satisfied at work.
3. “What’s the most challenging part of the job?”
Questions to ask in an interview should not only be about finding out the good part of the job but should also tell you more about potential difficulties. Realistically speaking, no matter how great a job is, there will always be certain not-so-good parts. It’s good to learn more about these potential challenges early on so that you can better prepare yourself.
Questions to Ask in an Interview About the Company
4. “What is the company culture like?”
It’s important to know what the company culture is like to see if the workplace is the right fit. Does the company have a strict hierarchy in place? Or is the organisation structure flatter? How many people will you report to? This is one of the more important questions to ask in an interview to evaluate if that particular organisation aligns well with your personal preferences/values.
5. “Does the company value more independent or collaborative work?”
This is one of the good questions to ask in an interview to find out if the working styles in the company suits you. If you dread collaborative work, it may be better to avoid an organisation that places high value on that. Similarly, if you simply cannot work independently, a company structure that emphasizes independent work may not be a good fit for you.
6. “Can you tell me more about the team I will be working most closely with?”
You’ll be spending a lot of time with your colleagues. Hence, it’s always good to get a sense of what the team is like. Find out more about their working styles, management styles and personalities!
7. “How long did the previous person in this position stay? What is the turnover rate like?”
Huh? Person already resign, I go ask about them for what?
Although this question may seem awkward at first glance, it’s actually one of the smartest questions to ask in an interview. If no-one has stayed in the job for very long, this could be a sign of internal conflict within the organisation. A fast turnover rate can also indicate a lack of training or rampant job dissatisfaction amongst employees. All these are important considerations in your job search.
Questions to Ask in an Interview About Professional Development Opportunities
8. “Are there any opportunities for professional development or growth?”
In any career, growth is often seen to be a key highlight. A company where employees are stagnant in their roles is usually not a good sign. You’ll want to find out more about what opportunities this position opens up for you. Are you able to take up new courses to learn new skills? Does the company have a Learning and Development programme?
If you value constant learning and growth, this is one of the key questions to ask in an interview.
9. “How will I be trained?”
With the ever-evolving job market, most roles actually need new skills that are often learned on the job. It’s always good to check how and if you will be trained. If the replies are uncertain or vague, this may be a red flag that the company does not invest enough time and money in properly training their employees.
10. “What are the typical career paths of employees?”
Hear from the horse’s mouth about potential areas for growth! An interview is a great time to directly enquire with HR about career progression and opportunities in the company.
Questions to Ask in an Interview About Performance
11. “What are the personal qualities needed to excel in this position?”
One of the more unconventional questions to ask in an interview, this question is sure to make your interviewer sit up with greater interest. From the replies, you’ll be able to roughly gauge the type of values the company endorses. You can also get a sense on whether your personality is a good fit for that particular role.
For example, if the role requires someone who is extremely bubbly, it may be a sign to introverted candidates to look elsewhere.
12. “How would you measure success in this position?”
Knowing the company’s metrics for success helps you work smarter when/if you eventually get the job. Furthermore, this question is sure to impress your interviewers as it makes you come across as an eager candidate.
13. “What would you like to see accomplished by the person selected for this role in the next 6 months?”
Starting a new job is never easy. You’ll want to get a good sense of the kind of expectations the role holds. The reply will also let you have an understanding of the potential challenges and learning curve ahead of you. You might also be able to glean more information about the expected responsibilities of the position by asking this question.
Questions to Ask in an Interview About the Hiring Process
14. “How do I compare with other candidates who have applied for this position?”
Arguably, this is one of the riskier questions to ask in an interview. It is probably better not to attempt this question unless you’ve felt like you’ve built a good rapport with the interviewer. If you and the interviewer clicked well, this can be a good question to ask. Not only will you get a rough sense of where you stand, but you can also supplement their replies with additional information that might help you stand out from the rest.
15. “Is there anything about me that makes you wonder if I would be a good fit for this organisation?”
Again, this question is more straightforward and may take interviewers by surprise. Nonetheless, this can still be one of the more powerful questions to ask in an interview. Firstly, this question signals to employers that you are as serious a candidate as can be. More importantly, if they do bring up certain doubts they have, this is a chance for you to further sell yourself. Present them with more convincing reasons about why you’re the best person for the role.
16. “Is there anything on my resume/anything that I have previously shared that was unclear?”
This is a good way to explain more in-depth certain answers that you may have constructed too quickly. Maybe you raised an interesting point earlier but did not delve deeper into it. Or maybe a particular part of your written resume piqued the interviewer’s interest but it was not discussed in the interview. Use this question as an opportunity to let the interviewer learn more about you.
17. “What is your timeline for the next steps of the job application process?”
Of all the questions to ask in an interview, this question should always make an appearance! This question is important so you know the rough timeline and when to expect a call. This saves you from the painful post-interview period of fretting over whether you got the job or not. In addition, knowing the rough timeline also allows you to check-in with the employee at the appropriate time.
An interview is not a one-way street. Knowing the right questions to ask in an interview is just as important as knowing the right answers to the interviewer’s questions. You should always ask questions post-interview to learn more about the job expectations, company culture and career opportunities. In addition, thoughtful questions may also impress your interviewers. In the scenario where two candidates are equally tied, the final hiring decision may well rest in the type of questions you both posed to the interviewer!