The interview process can be lengthy and intimidating, but remember: as a job candidate eager to land that position, you’re still interviewing the company to determine if they’re the right fit for your career path just as much as they’re deciding if you’re the most qualified person for the job.
When the interview wraps up and the hiring manager asks if you have any questions, the worst mistake you can make is to ask naive questions, or even worse, to ask no questions at all. How you respond to this final question can say a lot about you as a potential employee.
Preparing thoughtful, intelligent questions to ask the interviewer is equally as important as the answers you give to their questions, and is often the determining factor in whether you get your foot in the door with a company.
Reviewing the company website should be the bare minimum in terms of interview preparation.
When it comes time to meeting the team and decision makers, having researched the job description, organization, competition and industry in depth will allow you to provide valuable insight on how you can improve the company more effectively than your competition.
So what are the most valuable questions to ask? While this varies within each position and company, there are some universal questions that will provide you with the insight into whether the opportunity is actually the most beneficial step toward accelerating your career while also demonstrating that you’re proactive and well-informed.
Here are the top 10 questions to consider asking at the end of an interview:
- How would you prioritize accomplishments and define success within the first three months of this role?
- What is most important to the company when considering a new member to the team?
- How would you describe the company culture and management style?
- What are the organization’s long-term goals and how does this role contribute to them?
- How do you envision this position evolving within the next three years?
- What is the most challenging aspect of the job?
- How long have your employees worked for the company?
- How do you help your team develop professionally?
- Is there anything else I can elaborate on?
- What is your timeline for the hiring process, and when can I expect to hear back from you regarding next steps?
...and Questions to Always Avoid
- Anything related to salary or benefits
- How soon can I expect a promotion?
- How flexible are the hours/is there opportunity to work from home?
Questions related to salary, perks and benefits, or flexibility are best saved for when you have received an official job offer or have established yourself within the company. Research, prepare, and ensure you actively listen throughout the interview to avoid asking questions that have already been answered or implied.
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