Questions to Ask Interviewers

Questions to Ask Interviewers

A person interviewing for a job.
Taunee Besson, CMF, Senior Columnist

Q: I have several important interviews scheduled and I want to be fully prepared. I'm pretty confident about how to answer the interviewers' questions, but I’m not sure what questions I need to ask them. Are there any questions you would recommend asking during a typical interview?

A: It's very smart for you to be thinking about the interview questions you should ask. Good questions give you useful feedback about the job and the company, which can be incredibly valuable as you make sure the job is a good fit for you. In addition, a savvy query offers your interviewer a chance to showcase his or her expertise and opinions. You may also uncover any ineptitude or evasiveness you didn't expect, which is good to discover before you accept an offer.

Asking pointed questions also tells interviewers that you've done your homework. It shows that you’re prepared, are interested in the job and understand the key issues and challenges likely to be involved in the job. In fact, you may find your effort to gather information is a more effective sales tool than your astute,insightful answers.

Here are some questions that you might want to ask in any interview:

  • What do you like about this company? What made you want to work here?
  • What characteristics do you think a person in this position must have in order to be successful?
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this job?
  • What types of professional training options do you offer your employees?
  • Tell me about the key people I would be working with on a daily basis.
  • How does this department fit into the organization as a whole?
  • Please discuss the organization's mission, as well as its values, strengths and challenges.
  • What are this department's greatest strengths and challenges?
  • What is your management style (if you are talking to your potential manager)?
  • When issues occur, what do you consider the best approach for dealing with them?
  • Based upon what you've heard so far, do I seem to be a good fit for the position?
  • Do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job or fit into your team/organization?
  • What is your timetable and process for filling this job?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • If you haven't contacted me by (date), may I call to touch base?

You can use these questions, create your own or develop a combination of both for your interview. Whatever you decide, the interview should be a back-and-forth dialog between you and your interviewer.

Remember, an interview is a two-way street where both sides are trying to figure out if this is a right fit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you decide what is right for you and your career path.

Taunee Besson, CMF, Senior Columnist

Senior Columnist Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in career transition, job search, executive coaching, talent management and small business issues. She is an award-winning columnist for and a best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal's books on resumes and cover letters. Her articles on a variety of career issues have appeared on numerous career/job websites and trade and business journals. Ms. Besson has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money, and a number of other websites and publications.

Career Topics
Job Interviews