Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer How many questions should I ask in an interview What kind of questions to ask in interview Why do HR managers appreciate your questions? What to ask after an interview What you should not ask in a job interview Conclusion
Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer How many questions should I ask in an interview What kind of questions to ask in interview Why do HR managers appreciate your questions? What to ask after an interview What you should not ask in a job interview Conclusion
Updated 05/08/2020

Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Ready to accept a job offer without in-depth knowledge of the company? Do not rush! Our list of questions will help you break it down and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Ready to accept a job offer without in-depth knowledge of the company? Do not rush! Our list of questions will help you break it down and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Interviewing is like ping pong - the hiring manager and the candidate serve each other questions, thus maintaining a constructive dialogue. Every prospective career move is a big step that must be closely evaluated. Any clarifications that can be made about the role are in the best interest of the candidate. Sadly, many miss their opportunity to appraise the job role and the company due to a fear of being intrusive or poor awareness of the appropriate job interview questions.

Such excessive modesty can be harmful to applicants, as they either relinquish their position to more curious and active competitors or accept the cooperation offer unaware of all the pitfalls. To avoid both perverse outcomes, take note of the top questions to ask during an interview. They will help you put things right and avoid miscalculations with your choice of work.


How many questions should I ask in an interview

There is no generally accepted number of questions to ask during an interview since a live conversation can have different scenarios. Perhaps, the recruiter will provide comprehensive information about the position without a room for clarifications and misunderstandings. In other situations, the data on future duties may seem so blurry to you that your list of questions to ask an interviewer will double right away. Therefore, a safe approach is to closely study the vacancy and prepare 3 to 5 topics to discuss with the potential employer. The more prepared you are in advance, the more ready you’ll be to handle scenarios that may arise in the process of conversation.

The number of questions in a job interview may also depend on the dialogue format and the allocated time. For example, a telephone interview as the initial stage of the selection process does not imply a deep dive into all aspects of future cooperation. Therefore, the best questions to ask in a phone interview are ones that clarify general facts such as the scope of the company, responsibilities, work schedules, and so on. The employer, in turn, is also limited to identifying your experience, basic qualifications, and skills for an available vacancy. The successful result of this brief communication is an invitation to interview in-person or online where more time can be spent to discuss all the critical details.

In a face to face interview, do not rush to ask all your questions one by one in a row. Bombarding the interviewer with a spate of questions doesn’t create a professional image. Pay attention to the behavior and reaction of the recruiter. Often, the time allocated to one applicant is limited, and perhaps your interlocutor is thinking about how to end the meeting on time and inform you tactfully. If you see a recruiter periodically glance at their watch, you should take the initiative and not put them in an awkward position. You will show respect for their working time. A rush in dialogue could negatively affect the quality of answers, which does not serve your interests. Therefore, feel free to report that you still have a lot of important questions to ask in an interview and specify whether it is possible to continue the dialogue at another available time.

Take notice if the recruiter evades answering your questions or does not seek to find out all your questions. If time is not an issue, then this behavior shows that the offer of cooperation and the vacancy are not transparent. You should maybe reconsider any further interaction with this company.

During both the preparation stage and the interview, focus less on the quantity and more on the quality of the questions to ask the employer or HR manager. If you have ten items, but each of them is thoughtful and to the point, they will be perceived as a genuine interest in the company and position. But if you have just two questions, neither of which provides you with valuable insights, it will more likely resemble a waste of the recruiter’s time.


What kind of questions to ask in interview

The common goal of all your questions is to protect yourself from unpleasant surprises after signing the employment agreement. You should get all the necessary information about the company’s inner workings, your role in their strategy, and the team, interaction with which directly affects the quality of your performance.

Browse our top 10 practical examples for each type of questions to ask the interviewer and use the best ones to your good advantage.

Company related items

1. What are some of the challenges the company is facing?

This question shows your desire to be in touch with the situation and to assist in the resolution of these challenges.

2. How should I contribute to get a career advancement?

This question allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You test the waters about professional opportunities and get the recruiter’s loyalty because of your zeal to bring something useful to the company by showing your interest in long-term cooperation.

3. How and when do employees receive feedback?

Feedback is vital for improving performance and mutual understanding between the boss and the employee. If the company neglects giving feedback, it will be hard to detect the moment when something went wrong.

4. Do you offer training or career development courses?

This item shows whether the company cares about knowledge retention and the self-improvement of its specialists.

5. What is the corporate culture of the company?

If you prefer carte blanche and independent decision-making, then it will be difficult for you to get along in a company of a multi-layered hierarchy with clear guidelines and directions. Or, for example if you aim to unlock your potential, but management entrusts creative tasks only to experienced employees, limiting beginners to administrative duties, this could influence your decision significantly.

6. What are the company’s management styles?

The quality of interaction between management and staff is one of the critical factors for effective productivity. Make sure that you and your potential employer are on the same page before agreeing to long-term cooperation.

7. How has the company and its policies changed over the past few years?

The answer to this question will help you track and analyze development trends and draw useful conclusions about future prospects.

8. What is unique about your product or service?

Even if your position does not include sales and presentations, you should know about what unites all the people in the company and what benefits they bring to the final consumer.

9. What characteristics are essential to be a worthy company representative?

Some corporations prefer employees who keep a healthy lifestyle, while others will not consider candidates that do not have pronounced leadership qualities. Make sure your values match.

10. What is the decision-making process?

The response to this question will make it clear whether top management takes into account the opinions and recommendations of staff and whether you can influence the situation.

Questions about the desired position

1. How would you describe the working day in this position?

The role may include, for example, administrative and technical responsibilities, as well as communication with clients. This question will help you understand the division of hours between them.

2. What results do you expect from me in the first month and in the first year?

You must know what mission is assigned to you to gauge your strength and meet the expectations of the company.

3. What are the key performance indicators for this role?

Successful activity is a loose concept that can be individual for each person. To avoid misunderstandings, find out specific metrics that measure your success.

4. How long did the previous employee hold this position? What is the overall turnover?

If there is a tendency for the sudden dismissal of employees, then it is a dangerous sign that proves pitfalls in company policy.

5. What contributes to the revision of wages?

The goal here is to find out whether the company can meet your future financial expectations and to prove that you are ready to put forth the effort to earn a salary increase.

6. What would you attribute to the complexity of this work?

You definitely will not find this information in the job description, which explains its value in your assessment and analysis of the vacancy.

7. What career prospects does this post open?

Think ahead and make sure that this position does not become the limit or dead-end of your career.

8. What key characteristics should the best candidate for this role have?

Long-term cooperation depends on more than just the extent of experience and the professional skills found in resumes. Personal qualities matter too. Make sure that personality traits are not going to become a stumbling block with the new bosses.

9. Who will I report to? Can I speak with these people before making a final decision?

It is one thing to share company values, and it is quite another to be on the same page with your immediate supervisor. Therefore, such a request is reasonable.

10. Should I bargain for overtime or business trips?

A new job means a new schedule. It is important to clarify scheduling issues in advance in order to adjust your non-working activities.

Questions about the future team

1. How many people are on the team?

Knowing the number of people allows you to assess the scale of the company’s projects.

2. Which specialists will I work closely with?

It will help you evaluate your role in the overall strategy and success of the team.

3. Who sets goals and assigns responsibilities?

It will help to identify or exclude the problem of shifting the burden within the team which can negatively affect the achievement of goals.

4. What is the corporate culture of the company?

This will help you to assess at what stage you are joining the company and demonstrate how you can be a useful link in the chain.

5. What kind of people usually fit into the team?

A recruiter is unlikely to give a detailed description of each employee, but instead, you will understand what qualities are valued in an organization.

6. Is there room for independent solutions?

It is good to know in advance whether you are discussing each decision with your colleagues and whether you take part in their issues.

7. Is there a specific hierarchy in the team?

This item is an easy way to find out to whom you will be reporting and whether you have subordinates.

8. Is informal socializing welcome in the company?

Make sure that a proposal to discuss problems after work during dinner will not be perceived as a violation of corporate etiquette.

9. Who will bring me up to date at the initial stage?

If a company provides a mentor, it takes care of the quick adaptation of a new-hire and makes them more comfortable.

10. How do employees communicate within the team?

Productive communication is the key to the success of any business. Find out if the team uses a general chat or if they prefer the practice of daily online conferences to discuss current problems.


How many questions should I ask in an interview

If you still think that your questions to ask in an interview create a nuisance, it will be helpful for you to know that active candidates receive more points and more loyalty. Moreover, if the interview turns into a monologue or just an interrogation, recruiters won’t be able to use the reactions and engagement of the interlocutor to properly gauge their character and potential. Thus, you have three main reasons to be curious:


By asking questions, you confirm your interest in the position and the desire to research it far and wide before starting cooperation.


You help the recruiter understand that you are not deluding yourself about the future post and related responsibilities, so your choice is conscious.


The HR manager may inadvertently miss some aspect about the position that may be of great value for you to know. Therefore, clarification is always in your best interest.

What to ask after an interview

Suppose your decisive meeting with the interviewer is over, and it’s time to leave and wait for the company’s decision. Do not let yourself think that the end of an interview is an occasion to let down your guard. On the contrary, this is the best time to ask the final questions. This stage can both strengthen a favorable impression of you and destroy it. To achieve a positive outcome, you need to understand which items are appropriate to discuss post-interview and which ones should be avoided.

Good pick

What is the timeline for decision-making?

Obviously, you are attending a lot of interviews in search of the best employment option while the company is actively looking for the right person among the many candidates. Therefore, this question simply clarifies the allotted time for mutual consideration.

Should I wait for feedback in case of failure?

Post-interview feedback policies vary by company. Some recruiters call back the applicant regardless of the decision of the company, while others suggest that their silence be perceived as a failure by default. To avoid misunderstandings and painful darkness, put the things right at the end of the meeting.

Is there anything in my resume or qualifications that confuses you?

Sometimes a candidate succeeds in an interview, but there is a detail in their background that prevents the company from making a final decision. So that this detail does not become an obstacle, try to clarify all the controversial aspects.

Bad choice

Did I succeed in the interview?

First, this put the recruiter in an awkward position. Second, a favorable answer may make you think that the job is in your pocket, when in fact other candidates may be favored more by the management..

Were other candidates better/worse than me?

This is an inappropriate question. The results of interviews are confidential and concern only the HR manager and senior management.

When should I tell you my decision?

Unlike the «what is the timescale for decision-making?» question, this one makes you sound arrogant by implying that the last word rests with you.


What you should not ask in a job interview

Despite all the advantages that can come from your curiosity and activity, some questions definitely won’t play into your hands. They can be conveniently classified into the following three groups:


Items that you should investigate before interviewing: What does your company do? How long have you been in the market? Who are your competitors?

If you do not have this information, it discredits your interest, research skills, and responsible approach.


Questions about financial issues: How often do you provide bonuses? When can I count on a raise? How much does an employee in my department earn on average?

Sure, you have every right to know what salary the company offers in return for your qualifications. Still, excessive interest in other financial specifications may contradict business etiquette or privacy policy.


Questions that impugn the purpose of your employment: How soon can I take a vacation after I start working? Could you show me the rest-room? How many warnings can an employee get before you fire him?

After such clarifications, the recruiter begins to doubt whether you came to work hard or just skimp work.


High-quality and thoughtful interview questions are your tools for researching the company and creating a favorable impression of yourself as a potential future employee. Sometimes, your train of thought and curiosity can impress the recruiter more than your self-presentation and your standard answers. But whatever the outcome of the interview, do not give up and continue to take chances by sending resumes and cover letters to other companies.

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