Toward the end of an interview, most employers ask if you have any questions about the organization or the job. If you say no, as some applicants do, you’re turning down an opportunity to:
- make a positive impression on the employer
- decide if this job is a good fit for you
- use the information to summarize why you're the best candidate for the job
When you take advantage of the opportunity and ask thoughtful questions, you show the employer that you:
- care enough to do your research
- are interested in the organization
- are confident and able to assert yourself appropriately
Check out these suggestions to be ready to ask questions during a job interview.
Prepare your questions
As you research the employer to prepare for the interview, you’ll probably think of questions that you can ask about the company and the position.
Most employers will expect you to bring a list of prepared questions with you and to write down others you think of during the interview. When the employer invites you to ask questions, quickly review your list and ask questions that haven’t already been answered.
There is no correct number of questions to ask in an interview, but 3 or 4 well-chosen questions are usually enough to demonstrate your interest without taking up too much time. Pay attention to the interviewer’s non-verbal cues when you ask your first 2 or 3 questions. If you sense that asking more would be inappropriate, leave the other questions for a follow-up interview or until you are offered the position.
It’s important to avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless the employer mentions these topics first. You want the employer to know that your primary concern is how you can benefit the organization—not how much you will be paid. It’s best to wait until you’re offered the job before asking detailed questions about the salary and benefits package.
You may be able to use information in the interviewer’s answers to help you demonstrate that you’re the best person for the job. As the interviewer responds, jot down keywords and ideas and refer to them when you summarize your qualifications at the end of the interview. Use the opportunity to create a clear picture of how hiring you would benefit the organization.
Use the following questions as a guide to develop your own questions based on your research.
Questions about the organization
- What are the organization's biggest challenges?
- How would the person in this position be involved in meeting these challenges?
- What are the company's long-range plans?
- How does the organization support professional development?
- What are the prospects for advancement within the organization?
- What is the organization’s management style?
Questions about the position
- What are the key responsibilities of this position?
- How does this position fit into the company?
- How would you describe the ideal candidate?
- Can you describe a typical work day, or week, for this job?
- What immediate projects or tasks would I be working on?
- Is this a new position? If not, what kind of position has the previous employee moved on to?
- What training programs are available to new employees?
- Who would my immediate supervisor be? How would you describe their management style?
- How soon after hiring would I expect a performance review? What process is used?
- What are the prospects for advancement in this position?
Questions about the work environment
- What do employees enjoy most about working here?
- What key values or attitudes does the organization look for in the people it hires?
- How is success measured in this company?
- How would you describe the culture of this organization?
Ask questions to show interest and learn about the organization
Keep in mind that an interview is a two-way street. Not only is the employer assessing you, you are also deciding whether you would want to work for the organization. Welcome the interviewer’s invitation to ask questions as an opportunity to demonstrate your interest and find out information that will help you make a good decision.