Best questions to ask your job interviewer

Paula Delos ReyesContributorSeptember 15, 2020

#InterviewTips #CandidateGuide #JobHuntingTips #EmploymentTips #CareerTips #JobInterviewTips #JobHunting101

A guide to what you can--and should not--ask during your job interview

Asking important interview questions to your employer matters. It allows both you and the hiring manager or your future boss to gauge if you are both on the same page.

When the hirer asks you if you have questions after your job interview, don't feel shy and just hurry up to leave. Instead, try to learn more about the work that you're applying for. Ask more about the role, your future teammates, and even what the company culture is like. Working at a company with likeminded people makes work lighter and easier. During interviews, it's best to hear from the person you'll report to if they see you fit in the team you'll join. When what they're looking for matches what you need, then chances are your team will collaborate in harmony, and you can produce great results at work.

To help you address this, we made a list of best questions to ask your interviewer at the end of your meeting. Depending on the interview stage, you can ask the interviewer these questions to learn more about the position you applied for. Remember that these will help you gauge your role better, get insights about the company culture, and understand the work environment more. Keep in mind that there will be different interviewers per recruitment stage (it can be the HR manager, your future boss, or the department head interviewing you), so discern which questions you can ask whom.

The Don’ts: Things you may be wondering about but shouldn’t ask

1. Don't ask anything too personal.

What to ask the interviewers instead: Ask about the job at hand and questions relevant to it.

During the course of the interview, you may find out you have friends or activities in common. While these are good to know and mention, you shouldn’t really dwell on them in an interview, especially if you just met your interviewer. Not everyone appreciates small talk.

Instead, ask professional questions that reflect your honest interest in the position plus the capability to take on the role. For instance, you can ask about the interviewer's experience at the company or what they like most about working there. This way, you can see it on a human level instead of seeing the company as just a brand.

Depending on who is interviewing you, you can ask about the tasks at hand, clarify responsibilities in the job description, and even career advancement support.

2. Don't ask if you will like the people you will work with.

What to ask interviewers instead: Do they think you will fit in with the team?

Job fit, employee fit, company fit--these are all important factors when deciding on your next career move. As early as the interview--or even before that--research if you like a certain brand's company culture, and if you share the same values and beliefs.

3. Don't be so blatant and ask if they've let go of people because of the pandemic.

What to ask interviewers instead: What and how was their COVID-19 response for the employees?

The COVID-19 pandemic tested our job security. Some lost their jobs because the company they used to work for closed, while some employees could not report to work because of the different quarantine measures. As someone coming in in the midst of a pandemic, this is a valid concern and relevant to the times. How did they adjust to the health and safety protocols? Were employees allowed to work from home? Did the company assist their people in adjusting to the new normal, in a timely manner? How companies responded to this crisis--and even how quickly they responded to it--will give you a picture of how the company you want to work for looks after the welfare of their people.

4. Don't ask if you got the job up front.

What to ask interviewers instead: When should you expect to hear from them again and what are the next steps in the job hiring process?

Instead of putting the interviewer on the spot, give them time to assess, evaluate, and compare their candidates. As you close the interview, show the hiring manager that you are genuinely interested to hear back from them again. Also, let them know that they can contact you anytime if they need to ask anything else or if they will request for additional information or documents.

Top questions to ask interviewer: Career development, company culture, and other important factors

Aside from the work at hand, it will also be great to ask about your career track. This shows that you are also interested to grow in your role and are able to contribute more in the future.

We know everyone is different. You have unique needs and non-negotiables. So we’ve compiled a list below on the best questions to ask at your next job interview. Simply choose what is applicable to you.

Questions about the role

  • What types of projects will I work on?
  • What teams will I collaborate with?
  • Who will I be reporting directly to?
  • Can you tell me a bit about my direct reports - what are their strengths and weaknesses as a team?
  • What are the biggest challenges that someone in this role would face?
  • Do you expect the job responsibilities of this role to change in a year or so?

Questions about career progression

  • What people development programs do you have?
  • What training opportunities will be available for me if I take this role?
  • Will I have a mentor? And in the future, will I have the opportunity to mentor someone?
  • The people who have previously and successfully held this position - where did they progress to within the organization?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement?

Questions about company culture

  • What are some of your employee engagement activities?
  • What is your favorite office event so far and what made you love it?
  • Where do people generally hang out after work?
  • Would you say that people around here are generally collaborative or work in silos?
  • Do you have any corporate social responsibility programs I can join?
  • What are the values that you really value among your employees?

Questions about well-being

  • What are your wellness practices here?
  • How does the company support the work-life balance of its employees?
  • Do you have programs for mental health?

Questions to ask an engaged and friendly interviewer

  • How long have you been working here?
  • What do you like the most about working here?
  • How is your typical day at work like?
  • How has the company changed since you joined?

Asking these questions shows the interviewer that you are serious about the role you are applying for. On your next interview, remember our list and engage in a meaningful conversation with your interviewer.

If you don't have an interview yet but are actively looking for work, check out the available jobs now and find one that fits you best.

Good luck!

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Need more helpful job advice in navigating our new normal? Check out our careers blog.