One of the most overlooked factors in job interview success: The questions you ask in the interview. This can be the deciding factor in whether you get hired!
So to help you make sure you’re asking the right questions (and not asking anything that can COST you the job), we put together this list of 105 good, safe questions to ask the interviewer.
To get started: We recommend finding 5-7 questions that you like and asking each potential employer the same things. Pick a few questions about the company culture, a few questions about the position and typical day, one or two questions about the hiring manager and group, and then ask each employer you interview with.
You’ll find example questions organized by category below to help you find the questions you want to ask.
105 Smart Questions To Ask In An Interview:
Questions To Ask About the Position
These are the best questions to ask about the actual job you’re interviewing for.
Who would be my immediate manager or supervisor in this position?
Can you give me an example of how I would collaborate with my manager or supervisor?
Why is this position open right now?
How long has this position been open?
How many people have held this job in the last two years?
How long does someone typically stay in this job?
What avenues are available within the company directly after this position?
What can you tell me about the position that isn’t in the job description?
What would be my #1 priority coming into this role?
Can you show me examples of projects I would be working on?
What are the most important skills to have to do well in this job?
When and how is feedback given to me as an employee?
How will I be trained?
Will I have a mentor? And what does the company do to help in my professional development?
Will I be leading or managing anyone? Can you tell me about their strengths and weaknesses?
What is the last person who had this job doing right now?
Where have successful employees in this position progressed to?
What is the process for formal performance reviews- how often are they conducted and who contributes to them?
Has anyone failed in this position, and why?
How will you judge my success? What will need to happen in the first six months for me to know I have met your expectations?
With whom will I be working most closely or most often in this job?
How does upper management view the role and importance of this position?
Looking at the other people who have been in this role, what are one or two things that set the very top performers apart from the good or average performers?
What have you identified as the most important things to find in a candidate?
What can you tell me about the 6-12 month outlook of this position and where you see it going?
What tasks are really going to define success in this position?
How would I know if I’m succeeding or not month to month?
What’s the toughest part of the job?
Will the work be similar most days, or will there be variety from day to day?
What will the typical day look like?
Do you expect the main responsibilities for this role to change in the next six months to one year?
What improvements or changes do you hope that a new candidate will bring to this position?
What do you think are the most rewarding or gratifying aspects of working in this position?
What personality traits would help someone perform well in this role?
Would you like me to do anything differently than the previous people who have held this job? If so, what?
What about my background interested you for this position?
What are a couple of things I could do to quickly become a top contributor in the organization?
How much of an opportunity will I have for decision-making when I start this role?
How much interaction with clients or customers will I have?
What types of strategic decisions will I be able to make immediately without getting approval from my manager?
Will I have the opportunity to work with any cutting-edge tools, technologies or methods?
Questions To Ask About The Company
These are the most impressive questions to ask the hiring manager or other interviewer about the company as a whole.
What can you share about this organization that isn’t widely known?
Where do you see the company in three years and how would I contribute to that if I’m hired for this role?
What is an issue the company is facing right now that I could contribute to solving?
How would you describe the company culture?
Does the company have any traditions that you enjoy or think are interesting to share?
What’s the most unique thing about working in this company?
What steps do you take to keep employees highly motivated?
What are some reasons people like working here?
How many people joined your company last year?
How is your turnover and what are you doing to improve it?
Why do you think people leave the company?
Have you cut headcount or had any layoffs in the past two years?
How has the company changed since you’ve joined?
What would you say is the most important aspect of the company culture?
Who are the company’s typical customers and why do they choose you?
What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
Who is your biggest competitor and what would you say is one key difference I should know?
How does the company attract sales or develop client relationships?
What excites you the most about the company’s future?
What new changes or developments in the company have been announced recently?
How do you encourage your employees to keep current with professional developments in the field?
Can you describe the company’s overall management style and the type of person that usually does well here?
How do you ensure the salary of long term employees stays competitive with the overall market?
How are raises typically handled and what is the standard timeline for increases in salary?
How does the company view creativity and individuality?
If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?
Would you say that management is open to ideas and suggestions?
Questions About The Group Or Team
These are the best questions to ask about the group or team you’re interviewing for:
Are there any ways in which this team’s culture differs from the company culture?
How much power do individual teams have when it comes to selecting technologies and methods to use for certain projects?
How are your teams structured?
How often will my team get together and meet as a group?
Is the work on this team more collaborative or independent?
What types of team events do you do together?
Does anyone on the team ever get together outside of the office?
Do you ever do joint events with other teams or departments in the company?
What tools does the team use to communicate each day?
How many people are in this group/department?
Do you expect to do more hiring in this group in the next six months?
Which other teams work most closely with this one?
Are there any skills missing on the current team that you’re hoping to fill with a new hire?
What is the average tenure of the current team?
How does upper management view this group’s function and importance in the organization?
What are the team’s biggest challenges, or in what areas could your team use some improvement?
What are the current goals the company is focused on and how does this team support those goals?
Is my boss’ performance evaluated based on how well they develop the talent and skills of the team?
Can I meet more of the team that I’d be working with?
What are some of this group’s greatest success stories in the past couple of years?
How do you ensure that each team member is doing quality work?
Questions To Ask About The Person Interviewing You
These are the most impressive questions to ask the person interviewing you about themselves and their own opinions, biggest challenges, and biggest personal up-sides to working in this company.
How long have you been with the company and what made you decide to come here?
What’s your favorite part about working here?
Has your role changed since you’ve been here?
What do you wish you had known before you joined the company?
What have you found to be the biggest challenges in working here?
What has allowed you to be successful here?
How did you develop your career in this organization? Do you feel someone entering the company today would have similar opportunities for professional development?
What excites you most about coming to work each day?
Questions About the Job Interview Process
These are the best questions to ask about the interviewing and hiring process for the job.
When do you expect to make an offer?
When are you hoping the person you hire will start in this role?
How many people will be interviewing for this job?
Who will make the final hiring decision?
What are the next steps in the job interview process?
Who should I stay in touch with as things move forward?
How should I follow up?
When will I hear back from you?
Deciding Which Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Now, you might be wondering, “Okay, this list is massive, so how do I know which questions are the best for ME to ask an interviewer?”
Here are a couple of tips:
First, ask questions about topics that genuinely interest you. You’re going to be more authentic and impressive if you’re actually asking questions you’d like answers to!
And you’ll find out lots of valuable info about each opportunity to help you make your decision.
Asking questions you don’t care about at all isn’t going to help you much.
Beyond that, pick questions that you feel comfortable with and fit your personality. Which of these questions will fit into the conversation you’re likely to have with the interviewer? That’s the type of question to ask them in the job interview.
You never want to sound too rehearsed or robotic, so it’s best to pick questions that sound like “you”.
Not all of these questions will make sense for your situation and your industry, either. So look for questions that really fit best for the potential employers you’re talking to, and the type of positions you’re going after (entry-level, management, etc.)
Choose Your Go-To Questions and Stick With Them!
There are a LOT of questions above, so you may need to just scroll back up and skim through it until a few stand out to you. You only need around five good questions if you’re interviewing with one person, and you can reuse these with different employers throughout your job search and your career.
So I’d invest time in picking your “go-to” questions, writing them down, and then practice them.
You’ll be familiar and comfortable with the questions you’re going to ask the interviewer and you’ll save time preparing for each new interview you go on.
“Bad” Questions to Avoid Asking in an Interview
Make sure you don’t ask a question that could be found in the job description, on the company website or via a quick google search.
For example, if you’re going to ask, “Does your company have a mission statement and core values?”, make sure it’s not on their homepage first.
Also if you want to get hired, I’d avoid asking the interviewer questions about salary, benefits, vacation, dress code, etc. Why? The company is focused on finding the person who is the best fit and will be able to come in and solve their problems. How is it going to look if you seem more focused on vacation time and benefits?
2 Bonus Tips For Asking Better Questions in the Interview:
Before we wrap up this guide to which questions you should ask in the interview, I want to leave you with two important tips…
1. Make sure you always ask, “When can I expect to hear feedback?”. Not knowing this leads to anxiety about following up. So always ask, and make note of the time-frame that give you so you’ll know when to follow up via email to get feedback if you haven’t heard anything.
2. Make sure you looked through the section above called Questions to Ask About the Person Interviewing You. Here, you’ll find opinion-based questions which are GREAT because you can ask the same questions to multiple people.
(Normally this is a big mistake to avoid, but it’s completely fine when asking the interviewer something like, “what have you enjoyed most about working here?”
Here’s why this is great…
If you interview with three or four people in a day, that final person is still going to expect you to ask good questions. And they will NOT be happy if you say, “sorry, the first three people answered all my questions.” So opinion-based questions are the best solution! There are other opinion-based questions mixed into the list above too, for example, questions 33, 60, 67.
Further Reading to Help You Interview Better:
If you want more tips to stand out in your next interview (and avoid mistakes), here are a couple of things to make sure you’re doing.
Asking good questions is one piece of the interview puzzle, but you also need to perform well in the interview and follow-up professionally after it’s over. So those resources above will help you with those areas.
If you have interviews coming up and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.