Student Success Centre

Questions For Candidates To Ask An Interviewer

“So, do you have any questions you would like to ask?”

While job seekers go to great lengths to prepare responses to anticipated interview questions, this one frequently catches individuals off guard. You have the right to ask questions of your interviewer, showing that you're in control of your career and job search, and making informed decisions about your future. Asking questions during a job interview can help you determine whether the organization is the right fit for you, and demonstrates to a prospective employer that you have prepared and are a serious candidate. It is important to know what appropriate questions consist of, and equally vital to know which questions are unsuitable. 

There are some fundamental rules when it comes to preparing for this part of the interview.

Appropriate Questions To Ask In A Job Interview

Questions that demonstrate the job seeker is confident, prepared, and interested in the organization include:

I know this company prides itself on X and Y. What would you say are the most important aspects of your culture here?

This question shows that you’ve done your research and gives you a chance to gain insight into what values are held in high regard. This is important to a job seeker looking for a great fit, particularly if this was a missing factor at a previous workplace.

If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?

What are the most important things you’d like to see me accomplish in the first 30, 60 and 90 days of employment? Could you give me some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?

These questions show you’re invested and intent in learning more about the position and show that you are keen on starting things off on an enthusiastic note.

What do you think are the most challenging aspects of the job I’m interviewing for?

Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?

This question helps you learn more about the day-to-day tasks and gain more insight into what specific skills and strengths are needed so you can decide whether this is a job you really want.

How does the company support and promote personal and professional growth?

What do you like most about working here? / What attracted you to this organization?

Interviewers appreciate the chance to reflect on their own thoughts, and this question can be strategic in providing you with important insights into whether you’d be happy working with this individual or company.

Can you tell me how the role relates to the overall structure of the organization?

This question shows that you want to know where you would fit in and how your contribution would affect the rest of the company, and suggests a preference for teamwork.

What would you consider to be the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?

This question will help you to determine if you will be a good fit, while allowing the interviewer to look beyond your resume to see you as an individual. After your interview you can reinforce these qualities in your thank-you letter.

What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?

What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

Similar to question #8, this question can lead to valuable information that’s not in the job description, allowing you to speak to the key attributes indicated in the interviewer’s response.

Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?

What are the biggest opportunities facing the company/department right now?

This question demonstrates your interest in the company. If you are looking for security, or perhaps a chance to grow with a company, this question will provide you with the necessary insights to decide if it is the right place for you.

What are the most important issues that you think your organization will face?

You have recently introduced a new product/service/division/project; how will this benefit the organization?

These questions show your interest in embracing challenges and opportunities, while helping you learn more about where the company will be focusing over the next several months.

Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?

Although it may be a tough one to ask, this question can be beneficial. It provides an opportunity for you to address any hesitations the interviewer may have, but it also demonstrates that you can take constructive criticism and show an eagerness to improve. This is a valuable quality in a candidate.

While researching your company/organization, I read that you are in the process of expanding / developing / creating………Could you please tell me more about this?

This question shows that you’ve done your research and are interested in learning more. It demonstrates initiative and a genuine curiosity about the company.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?

Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What is the next step in the process?

When do you think you will be making a decision? / May I contact you if any further questions arise?

If the interviewer hasn’t already addressed these items, these are basic questions candidates may ask to help them maintain some element of control in their job search.

Questions You Should Never Ask In A Job Interview

Never ask for information that's readily available online

Never ask for information you could have easily found with a quick Google search. (For example, What does your company do? or Who is your competition?)

Avoid asking “self-serving” questions:

  • Anything related to salary or benefits
  • Inquiring about sick time and vacation days

These types of questions can be asked once an offer has been extended. Negotiating these issues is a completely different stage of the hiring process.

May I arrive early or leave late as long as I get my hours in? Or, Can I work from home?

Although work-life balance is a very popular subject these days, it’s not the top priority in the mind of a hiring decision-maker. This type of question may indicate to a prospective employer that you are more concerned about your needs and less concerned about theirs. The interview isn’t the time to be asking for special favors. Focus on selling the employer on what you can bring to the company.

How soon do you promote employees?

Or, If I'm hired, when can I start applying for other positions in the company?

You may come off sounding arrogant and entitled.

Will you monitor my email or social networking profiles? Or, Do you do background checks?

Avoid giving the impression you may have something to hide. (Note: When you are in job search mode, or for that matter, even once employed, always play it safe and refrain from posting negative or disparaging things about your company, co-workers, or employers on any popular internet social media platforms.)

Never ask about gossip you've heard.

This is both unprofessional and unfounded.

How often do reviews occur?

Avoid asking questions about the company’s review or appraisal policies. Keep your confidence intact, and avoid this topic at least until you receive an offer.

What happened to the last person who held this job?

If you want to know about the history of the position, rephrase this negative question in a more positive light such as, "Is this a new position?" The interviewer will tell you if the position is new or not, and may also volunteer additional information.

What Other Jobs Do You Have Available?

If you weren't interested in this position, you shouldn't have applied for it and accepted an interview. Your interview is not the right place to be asking about other jobs.

How did I do? Or "Do you think I'd be a good fit?

These questions can put an interviewer in an awkward spot, as they are rarely in a position to answer. Furthermore, the blunt nature of these questions is considered unprofessional.

Additional Resources