Interviewing

11 Best Questions to Ask in an Interview

December 17, 2020

Knowing the right questions to ask in an interview is essential to coming across as the best candidate for a position. Although answering the interviewer's questions is important, it's essential that you also consider which questions you want to ask the interviewer to show your genuine interest in the position and to get an idea of what the job will involve.

If you want to stand out among other applicants and make sure you land a job that meets your standards, make sure you ask the interviewer the right questions. Here, we'll cover the right questions to ask in an interview so you can obtain the information you need to determine whether the job is right for you.

Best questions to ask in an interview

Here are some of the top questions to ask during an interview that will not only help you gain more information about the role but also demonstrate that you're a serious candidate:

Did I answer all of your questions?

Starting with this question can help transition from the interviewer's questions to your questions better than anything else. Plus, it allows the interviewer to point out any aspects of your answers that they'd like you to elaborate on further. Not only does this help you demonstrate your qualifications for the position, but it can also be used as a useful gauge to see how the interview is going overall.

Additionally, make sure you mention that you do have other questions. For example, the interviewer may ask if you have any questions after they've asked everything they need to. A proper response would be, "Yes, I do have some questions, but is there anything more you wanted me to elaborate on first?" This establishes that you have your own line of inquiry rather than merely appearing as though you want to extend the interview without any effort on your part.

What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?

This question is designed to let you learn all about the role you could potentially fill at the company. Not only will this give you an idea of what your average day at work will be like but it'll also provide valuable insight into the necessary skills that will be required to get the job done properly. With these skills in mind, you'll know what to highlight during your further conversations with the interviewer.

What kind of qualities will be required to thrive in this position?

Even if you are able to gauge what kind of skills the job requires from the previous question, this question helps you get a clearer answer. Plus, it'll help reveal any relevant skills that aren't immediately apparent based on the job description alone. Typically, these skills have more to do with company expectations and culture, so be prepared to highlight how you possess these necessary skills as well. Also, make sure to relate them to the duties stated in the job description.

How might your expectations for this role change over time?

The purpose of this question is to assess what the company's expectations are for the role throughout the length of the position. The job description can give you a good idea of the day-to-day responsibilities, but it's helpful to be able to hone in on specific time frames for different stages of the position. For example, you may ask how long the training will take in addition to how long it'll take for the position to start to call for potential cross-training.

One of the best ways to coax the necessary information from the interviewer is by framing this question in specific periods of time. For example, you can ask what the expectations will be after 30 days, 60 days, and a year.

What is the company culture like?

Company culture is an essential factor in any job. Not only does a company need to have a culture that works well for you personally, but you'll also have to demonstrate that you're a good fit for the company's culture. Keep in mind that the culture can vary widely from company to company, so you'll have to think about where you're most comfortable.

Additionally, you'll want to keep an eye out for red flags when the interviewer answers questions about company culture. Mentioning excessive overtime or a "work hard, play hard" culture could imply that they plan to work you for longer than the hours stated in the job description. Of course, something like this isn't a problem for many workers, so it's mostly a matter of what you can work well with.

Where do you see the company in five years?

This question turns one of the most common interview questions back onto the interviewer, and it's useful for several reasons. First, you can determine whether the job is the right fit, depending on how long you're looking to work there. For example, if the interviewer can't give definitive answers to this question, that may mean this position isn't very useful for long-term employment. Second, this question provides valuable insight into the direction of the company. Knowing their general plans for the future allows you the opportunity to grow with them.

Who is your top competitor?

The first thing you need to know about this question is that it shouldn't come from a place of ignorance. During your research before the interview, you should already discover who the company's top competitors are. This question is designed more to give you insight from the company itself. Perhaps you'll be able to gain a better perspective of their primary competitor or discover an up-and-coming competitor to be wary of.

This question also allows you to appear confident. One aspect of this question is learning more about what the company is dealing with, but another aspect is that it forces the interviewer to try to win you over. While the question may specifically ask who the top competitor is, it's also implicitly asking, "Why should I work for you rather than your competitor?" It helps to solidify your value as an employee.

What are the most important opportunities for the company right now?

With this question, you can show that you're already planning how you can help the company upon being hired. Plus, the answer to this question will provide you with valuable information for describing how your skills specifically will be able to help the company move forward. Highlighting skills in your repertoire that are specifically relevant to the opportunities in question is a great way to cement your qualifications for the position in a way that other applicants who failed to ask this question won't be able to.

What's your favourite part about working here?

This question works in your favour in a couple of ways. The most important benefit is that you get to learn what the experience of working within the company culture is like straight from a primary source. The interviewer will be able to tell you what the experience is like more than just the general company mission statement regarding their culture. While the latter can certainly be helpful, a firsthand account is always useful. Additionally, asking a personal question of the interviewer like this will inherently make them more comfortable with you.

As a follow-up, you may want to ask if other people at the company would have a similar experience. The point is to hone in specifically on what makes people stay at the company and to discover whether those benefits are what you're looking for from a position. For example, if you're looking for a specific type of company culture and all anyone ever talks about is the paycheck, that may be a red flag.

What is the typical career path for this position?

With this question, you're essentially asking how often you're going to get a raise without coming across as overly self-centred. Ideally, the interviewer will highlight the frequency of raises and opportunities for promotion in the future. If they mention that the company promotes from within and how your position specifically can pave the way for better opportunities down the line, those are good signs for long-term employment. Plus, this question demonstrates that you're interested in long-term employment, which is far more appealing to hiring managers.

What's next?

This should be the last question you ask in an interview. The answer to this question will likely be conveyed at some point , whether you ask it or not, but finding the answer isn't the point of asking. Instead, this question serves to demonstrate your eagerness about the job. Keep in mind, however, that the answer to this question is still important. You'll need to have a proper timeline in mind so you'll know when to follow up after the interview is completed.

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