You probably already know that an interview isn’t just a chance for a hiring manager to grill you—it’s your opportunity to sniff out whether a job is the right fit for you. Which means: It’s important to go in with some questions. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The department? The team? To get you thinking, we’ve put together a list of key questions to ask in your interview. We definitely don’t suggest asking all of them rapid-fire—some of this stuff will certainly be covered during the course of your discussion, and you can weave in other questions as you go. But when the inevitable, “So, do you have any questions for us?” part of the interview comes? Use this list to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
First, make sure you have a handle on exactly what the day-to-day responsibilities of the job will be—both now and in the future.
1. What does a typical day look like?
2. What are the most immediate projects that need to be addressed?
3. Can you show me examples of projects I’d be working on?
4. What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
5. What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
6. What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
7. What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
8. What sort of budget would I be working with?
9. Is this a new role that has been created?
10. Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?
Training and Professional Development
Think of each new job not just as a job, but as the next step on your path to career success. Will this position help you get there? 11. How will I be trained?
12. What training programs are available to your employees?
13. Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
14. Would I be able to represent the company at industry conferences?
15. Where is the last person who held this job moving on to?
16. Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?
Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by learning up front the goals of the position and how your work will be evaluated. 17. What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job? 18. What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
19. What is the performance review process like here? How often would I be formally reviewed?
20. What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
Asking questions of the interviewer shows that you’re interested in him or her as a person—and that’s a great way to build rapport. 21. How long have you been with the company? 22. Has your role changed since you’ve been here?
23. What did you do before this?
24. Why did you come to this company?
25. What’s your favourite part about working here?
Because you’re not just working for one boss or one department, you’re working for the company as a whole. 26. I’ve read about the company’s founding, but can you tell me more about ___?
27. Where do you see this company in the next few years?
28. What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?
29. What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
30. What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
The people you work with day in and day out can really make or break your work life. Ask some questions to uncover whether it’s the right team for you. 31. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
32. Who will I work with most closely?
33. Who will I report to directly?
34. Can you tell me about my direct reports? What are their strengths and the team’s biggest challenges?
35. Do you expect to hire more people in this department in the next six months?
36. Which other departments work most closely with this one?
37. What are the common career paths in this department?
Is the office buttoned-up conservative or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of place? Learn the subtle, but oh-so-important, aspects of company culture. 38. What is the company and team culture like? 39. How would you describe the work environment here—is the work typically collaborative or more independent?
40. Can you tell me about the last team event you did together?
41. Is there a formal mission statement or company values? (Note: Make sure this isn’t Google-able!)
42. What’s your favourite office tradition?
43. What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
44. Does anyone on the team hang out outside the office?
45. Do you ever do joint events with other companies or departments?
46. What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
47. How has the company changed since you joined?
Before you leave, make sure the interviewer has all of the information he or she needs and that you’re clear on the next steps by asking these questions. 48. Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role?
49. What are the next steps in the interview process?
50. Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
51. Can I answer any final questions for you?