10+ Things You Should Ask During An Interview

by Ken Savage
two women sitting beside table and talking

Whether you are new at finding a job or are an expert in your field, going into an interview and creating a good first impression is so important if you want to get that job offer.

A good way to show that you are proficient and have given the job a lot of thought is to ask questions that indicate an understanding about the job. Staying on topic and not going in another direction is important, since so many candidates seem to lose focus when asking questions in an interview.

The reason for these mistakes is likely due to the stress as well as not being completely prepared. What can you do to be successful? Let questions comes up in a natural way. Taking notes and brainstorming before an interview can also be a great way to come up with appropriate questions to ask in an interview.

Finish the interview in a memorable way. The following are some questions to ask the hiring manager during an interview:

1. What is the job's past history?

If you are given a job offer, it is important to find out the history of the position. If you start working in the job, the whole atmosphere may have been influenced, either negatively or positively, by the previous person in the position.

Knowing why the job was created is also important. If the purpose of the position was to provide support for growth in the company, it might be a good thing to ask who previously had that responsibility and how the reassignment of those duties will be done.

It might also be a good idea to find out why someone left a position if you are interviewing for that same position. Find out if they were transferred within the company or else promoted to a better position. If they chose to get a job outside of the company, try to find out why they chose to leave.

A good question to ask would be if the company is interviewing outside the company, or if they are also looking at internal candidates.

If you seem to be struggling even getting interviews, then maybe there is something wrong with your resume.

2. What is the most important part of this position and how does it support management?

It is important to know how the job fits into the company. Which group of people will be your subordinates? Which positions do you provide support for? What abilities do you need in order to have success in this position?

3. In the first six months, what goals would you have for me?

Job descriptions do not always get very specific about expectations and usually show just the basic responsibilities of the job. You can show that you might be a good candidate for a position if you ask questions about actual goals the company has and some of the successes they have had. Asking these questions indicates your commitment and potential importance to the job.

4. How is success evaluated, and how can I do more than what is expected?

This question forces specific answers. Besides the normal answers that have little value, it pushes for an answer about what success looks like for this job.

5. What is the most difficult part of the job to learn? How can I get that knowledge the most quickly?

Learning the company procedures and getting a grasp of the technology can be the most difficult part of some jobs. Some jobs are difficult because of the organizational chain of command. If you can get assistance on the best way to make the learning process faster, that can give you the chance to be more of an asset to the company.

6. What expectations does the company have handling the workflow?

Every company usually has more work then there are hours in the day. Because the workday has a limited amount of time, what expectations are placed on you outside of the normal working day? At what point in the day are you considered done and able to go home? Are you going to have to work on weekends and monitor your emails outside of the working day?

7. How does the company provide feedback?

Providing feedback to employees is so important. It helps people improve in whatever they are doing. Finding out if the company provides regular feedback, or if it only happens during an annual review is important. Many people feel they do not improve as much without regular constructive feedback.

8. Are there opportunities for growth?

Questions to ask in an interview may involve training and mentoring. Does the company take part in continued education that allows employees to continue growing and improving in their skills? Let the hiring manager know that you are interested in continuing with your education through any type of professional training.

9. What part of your job is the most difficult? What part is most enjoyable?

Most likely the job you are interviewing for is not the same as the hiring manager’s job. Questions to ask the hiring manager during an interview are what they find enjoyable as well as difficult in their job.

10. How did you get to your role?

Asking questions about the hiring manager’s job in the company and how they got to that position can show interest. Many professionals enjoy engaging in conversation about their careers. It is important however, not to get too personal when you ask them these types of questions.

11. Are you provided with the appropriate materials and resources to do your job correctly?

Asking this question in an interview can give you insight into the challenges the hiring manager has in doing their job. This in turn may give you some idea about the challenges you might face.

12. Do you feel like you are listened to and are your ideas given consideration in your position?

Job satisfaction and working in a positive team environment are strongly related to a person’s ability to contribute to the project. If the person doing the interviewing feels like they are heard and are given considerations, then it is likely that your position will also have the same level of appreciation.

13. Have I said anything that gives you concerns about whether I would be a good fit for this job?

This is a scary question to ask because you are trying to find out what barriers the person that is hiring could have against hiring you. If you get over the fear of being this direct, then it does give you some idea about the process and the steps that are needed. You might also be given the chance to clear up any concerns the hiring manager has about you.

Bonus: What questions should you stay away from in an interview

Any information that can be found on the internet should be avoided. Asking questions like, “What type of company is this?” makes it appear you have not done any research and therefore are not very serious about the job opportunity.

Gossip of any kind that you have heard that has not been officially states, but stated instead through the company grapevine should be addressed carefully. For example, if you heard negative information about the company’s financial strength, instead of being direct, prompt the hiring manager to tell you how they feel about the company’s future potential.

Stay clear of speaking about money and promotions. That will be addressed if a position is offered. It can make you look like that is the only thing you are concerned about when deciding on the job.

If you ask about whether the company will be doing a background check, it can raise suspicions. Instead, just assume that they will be running a check.

Do not use the company’s network for things besides work. Make the assumption that they will be monitoring, so avoid making yourself look unprofessional by using it for social media or outside emails.

Stay away from invasive or personal questions so you do not make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.