The Best Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

You’re sitting in a conference room, sipping a coffee with an easygoing hiring manager.  The code you wrote on the whiteboard is complete, readable, and even syntactically correct.  You’ve absolutely nailed every one of the questions they’ve asked you so far… until now, at the very end.  The interview isn’t over yet; your interview is asking one last question: do you have any questions for me? 

Two people shaking hands in an office.  One is holding a binder, the other is holding a laptop computer.
Photo credit: Sora Shimazaki

It may feel like the final question is your chance to assess the position, team, or company and determine whether or not you want to work there–and it is, but you also need to keep in mind that you are still being interviewed, and you need to keep demonstrating why you are the best person for the job.  Don’t let your guard down and ask about salary, benefits, or other perks just yet–it’ll come off entirely the wrong way, so it’s best to leave that discussion for when you have an offer letter in hand!  Even if you cannot accept a job without a certain salary or benefit package, don’t ask about those things in an interview; it’s a good way to not get an offer at all, even if you’re an otherwise fantastic candidate.  As a previous colleague of mine used to say, “don’t turn down jobs you haven’t been offered yet”. 

Ideally, you should ask questions that demonstrate an interest in the job you are interviewing for, and those questions should also help you get a feel for what the day-to-day job experience will be like. 

Are you interested in the company/team’s goals and processes?  Try asking these: 

  • How are goals and objectives set for this role? 
  • What do I need to accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days in this role? 
  • What is the performance review process like, and how often are reviews held? 
  • Are there standardized expectations or rubrics I will be evaluated against? 
  • What do you think is the main reason someone could fail in this position?

Are you trying to determine if the company/team is a good working environment?  These might help:

  • What other departments or teams does this team work most closely with? 
  • Who does the team report to, and what are they like? 
  • What are the biggest strengths and challenges of the team lead(s) or direct managers? 
  • Do you expect the responsibilities for this role to change within the next six months to a year? 
  • Is this a new position, or has a previous employee been promoted or moved on?
  • How has the company/team changed over the past few years? 
  • What has made you feel successful in your role with the company/team? 

Are you wondering if the company/team has a good corporate/team culture?  Ask your interview these: 

  • What do new employees typically find surprising about the company/team? 
  • What’s your favorite company/team tradition? 
  • What’s different about working here from any other places you’ve worked? 
  • What does the team usually do for lunch? 

Are you wondering about support for professional development, education, and growth opportunities? Ask these questions: 

  • How do employees here continue to grow professionally? 
  • Could you give me examples of career paths that grow from this position? 
  • Where have successful employees moved on to? 
  • How does an employee advance within the company? 
  • What kind of support is available for continued education and professional development? 

Finally, here are some closing questions of your own to try: 

  • Is there anything I can clarify for you about my qualifications or previous experience? 
  • What is the timeline for decision-making about this position? 
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Add a Comment