10 Questions to Ask in an Interview

The date is set, the nerves are setting in, and, surprisingly, you aren’t about to get married. Congratulations! You’ve probably scored a job interview. Anyone who’s received the call or email request for an in-person, or over the phone, meeting knows the excitement and anxiety associated with preparing for it. You want to make a great impression so you can nab the position of your dreams. Find out what that may be here. It’s important to remember that interviews aren’t all about putting you in the hot seat.

They can be a great way for you to:

  • show how much research you’ve done on the company
  • prove that you aren’t afraid to ask interesting questions
  • acquire insider knowledge about how things are run
  • learn about the goals and philosophies of the company
  • make a networking contact for future opportunities

Whoever the interviewer is, he or she has to prepare for your questions, so pick the ones that showcase your curiousity and intelligence. Here are ten questions to set you apart from the crowd:

  1. How would you describe an ideal employee for this position?
  2. This question shows your true interest in knowing whether or not the job will be a good fit for you. It also gives you an edge because you will know what qualities of your own to emphasize during your discussion.

  3. What would some goals be for the person who takes this job?
  4. Knowing the answers to this question will reveal more than you think. Depending on what your interviewer says, you can determine whether or not the position is meant as a long-term gig or whether it will make only a great starting point. If you like what you hear, mirror your goals to those mentioned. For goal setting tips.

  5. Is this position new? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
  6. This question sounds innocent enough, but you can learn a lot from the way an interviewer handles this question. Does it seem like the employee before you was unhappy? Did they leave for a better opportunity? Use the answer to this question to ponder about what your experience may be like.

  7. Can you tell me what challenges face the person in this job?
  8. Often times candidates become so caught up in an ideal vision of what their experience will be like that they forget about challenges they may face. It’s unrealistic to ignore the fact that there will be at least some difficulties for every position. Find out about them early on to avoid being unhappy later.

  9. What are some of your favorite things about working here?
  10. Asking a personal question of your interviewer allows them to relax in your presence and feel important. The question is still relevant, but it creates an intimate atmosphere for you both. This question can be a great way to ease the tension, unless he or she is about to hand in his or her two-week’s notice.

  11. How has your career developed at this organization?
  12. Knowing the answer to this question will shed light on the potential for future growth. The person answering this question should always have an answer. No one wants a dead-end job. Use your interviewer’s personal testimony to gain insight. You may also jot down any opportunities mentioned for future use.

  13. What opportunities exist for growth and advancement?
  14. This is a great follow-up question from the previous one. You should be curious to know what professional benefits will be offered to you. After all, you want to gain as much experience and knowledge as you can. Who can afford to go back to school these days? A free education is more valuable than you know.

  15. If I am offered the position, how soon would you like me to start?
  16. This is a very basic question to ask, but it’s important to know. Everyone has a schedule, and knowing the company’s plans for yours is crucial. What if the position doesn’t start for a month? Would you still be interested? What if they need someone ASAP? Would you be willing to cancel that trip to Hawaii?

  17. Does the company provide seminars, workshops, and training?
  18. If the answer is yes, than that’s a great sign. Companies that invest in seminars, workships, and training plan to keep their employees around. They want to have the most knowledgable staff possible, and they’re willing to build their team up. These benefits are great to have, and you can put them on your resume to make it shine for the next job you pursue. Hunt down these opportunities and learn as much as you can.

  19. How and when shall I follow up with you?
  20. You never want to walk away wondering how or when you’ll hear from your interviewer. Be direct, and make a contact plan. Would you leave the love of your life standing on the sidewalk without setting up your next date? Don’t let the gatekeeper to your next position slip away.

With these tips, you can’t go wrong.  Remember to ask questions that show off your researching skills.  Use appropriate terminology for the field you’re in. Avoid questions about salary, unless they’re brought up by the person conducting the interview; you don’t want to seem more interested in money than the opportunity. It’s your time to turn the table. Make it pleasant, professional, and impressive. For more insights on questions you can ask in an interview, watch the video below:

Now that you’ve got your wheels turning as far as questions go, find out what your other secret weapon in an interview is.

More posts by Sara Kosmyna.

What questions have you found work well on an interview? Give some advice below.

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5 Comments

  1. Mary
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Very informative

  2. Kate
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    First I just want to say that you posted this at the perfect time for me as I was preparing for an interview and was wondering what type of questions I should ask.. and boy did they come in handy!! The first question I asked was: “what challenges does a person face in this position?” which led to the interviewer talking about how long he has been with the company and how much he loves working for them, so I didn’t even have to ask those questions! Toward the end of the interview I asked “if I was to get the position how early would you like me to start?” and “how & when shall I follow up with you?” Thanks to your tips I snagged the job! Thanks so much Sara!

  3. Kelly
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I recently interviewed for a job and I never know what questions to ask, I feel like I should but caught in the moment my mind goes blank. I will definitely keep these in mind, especially the one about the challenges one might face, I never thought about that but what an important thing to know!

  4. amy bowden
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    How do I print this?

    Thanks ,

    Amy

  5. Kathy
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    My favourite question for the interviewer is #5. I find that if the interviewer gets excited about answering the question, regardless of what is said, it tells me that they really enjoy their work and it is a place that I would like to work at. If they are not excited about their work, I would think twice about working at that company. Also, remember to talk to the receptionist about the company… they know everything that’s really going on.

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