10 Of the Best Questions To Ask In An Interview

By Marina Krivonossova on September 5, 2022

So, you’ve applied for some jobs, and you’re anxiously waiting on a response from at least one of them. Finally, it arrives, the email you’ve been waiting for! “We reviewed your application, and we’d like to invite you for an interview.” You’re beyond excited — this is what all those applications have been leading up to. But what do you do now? What do you need to do to make sure that you get as much out of this interview as possible? A good interviewer will always give you a chance to ask questions, and that’s your opportunity to find out as much as you can about the company, the role, and the work environment. Don’t waste this precious opportunity. Instead, check out 10 of the best questions to ask in an interview to get the most out of it.

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1. What caused this position to open up? It’s always important to know where the position for which you’re applying came from. Was the last person in this position fired? Did they quit after a month because they realized they’d be miserable here? Did they work here for years and make the difficult decision to move on to a different company? Is the company expanding rapidly and opening new positions along the way? Asking this question helps you get an idea of what sort of situation you’ll be getting into if you choose to pursue this role.

2. What does your organization do to support staff in their personal and professional development? You probably don’t want to work in a place where you’re not supported in your personal and professional growth, so this is an important question to ask your interviewer. Find out if they offer a training budget that you could take advantage of to learn new skills, both for yourself and for your job. It’s always a red flag if there is no support for staff to develop themselves within a company.

3. Will the majority of my work be done independently or with a team? This is an important one that’ll help you determine if you’re pursuing the right role. Depending on your career field, your background, and your interests, you’ll be looking for a specific answer. Determine ahead of time where your preferences lie in terms of independent versus collaborative work, and ensure that these align with what’s outlined in your role of interest.

4. Is this position remote, hybrid, or onsite? This is another important one to clear up early on. If you’re looking to be in the office full-time, you won’t be happy to find out later down the line that the company operates exclusively remotely. Likewise, if you’ve been looking for a company that offers you the freedom to work from wherever you want, you probably won’t love the idea of working every day at their designated office.

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5. What kind of person do you see being successful in this position? Is the person they envision being successful in this role a rule follower? Are they fiercely independent? Do they like to take risks? Do they do everything by the book? Are they inquisitive, fiery, extraverted, or something else? Get these details sorted to get an idea if their ideal candidate sounds anything like you. Because if they’re looking for someone who’s a rule follower who prefers to do everything by the book, while you’re a fiery soul always looking to challenge the status quo and take risks, then it’s safe to say that this isn’t the role for you.

6. Who is the person to whom I’ll be directly reporting (and can I meet them)? There’s arguably nothing more important than knowing whom you’ll be working with – especially when it comes to the person to whom you’ll be directly reporting. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you love your team and your job if your manager makes you nothing but miserable.

7. What are the growth opportunities available for someone in this role? You don’t want to stay in the exact same position for 20 years, do you? Of course not. That’s why it’s key to discuss what sort of career trajectory could be possible for someone who pursues this role. You could also bring up what you had in mind to hear if there’s alignment from their end.

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8. How would you describe the work environment in the company? Do people tend to keep to themselves? Is there a lot of chatter in the office? Are there weekly team dinners? Is there a lot of bureaucracy? Is a hierarchical structure present? Find out the kind of work environment you can expect to find yourself in, because you don’t want to take the job without knowing these crucial details.

9. What is your company retention rate? This is a big one. If people are leaving the company after a few months of joining, then there’s probably some serious internal problems that aren’t being addressed. After all, I’m willing to bet that you aren’t looking for a job that you’re going to keep for no more than 3 months, right?

10. What are the next steps in the interview/recruitment process? Get this sorted as early as you possibly can. I like to bring this up at the end of the first interview, specifically if I am interested in continuing with the process. I’ve had it happen that the first few interviews go well, and then I find out that I have to come into the office for a day to shadow a current employee, complete an unpaid assignment, and join for 3 more interviews before I’m even considered for an offer. And, I can also admit that it was a mistake for not confirming early on if the hiring/interview process is one that I’m on board with!

Obviously, you won’t be asking every single one of these questions during every single one of your interviews. I would advise you to pick a few that you find are most interesting to know about the role/company in question, adjusting them in a way that makes sense for you. But no matter what questions you opt to ask, keep in mind that every interview is a two-way street. Just like the interviewer is using it as a chance to get to know you as a potential candidate, you’re using it to get to know the company as a potential employer. Make sure you take the necessary steps to scout out an organization before you take a role with them, because you don’t want to dedicate effort into securing a role that immediately disappoints you!

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