Interviewing Job Searching

The 5 Most Insightful Types of Questions to Ask Interviewers

Faith Boluwatife

Freelance Blogger & HR Specialist

An ideal interview is one in which there is a productive exchange between the interviewer and the candidate. Hence it is normal and expected for you to have some questions to ask interviewers. The interviewer usually opens the floor for this after they are done asking the major questions they have prepared. Many prospective candidates get so lost in selling themselves as the appropriate candidate for the job that they forget to prepare questions for the interviewer.

It is necessary to find questions to ask in an interview that help you understand if the job is a perfect fit for you. A healthy approach to applying for jobs is to find and go for those that make an impact on your career as a whole. Conjuring up questions to ask in an interview is important for you and your employer as it shows them that you are indeed interested in the job.

Preparing Good Questions to Ask Interviewers

Prepare a list questions to ask in an interview

When preparing for an interview, take time to come up with questions that you would like to ask your interviewer when given the opportunity. This removes you from the pool of applicants who have no questions to ask interviewers. A lot of times job descriptions can be vague, so it is important that you ensure you want that job by clarifying parts of that job description with questions.

There is no fixed rule about how the questions can be framed and what they should cover. It is true that you should be more concerned about confirming the job is right for you than you are with what the interviewer thinks of your questions. So go in with confidence.

With that being said, still remember that this is not a license to misrepresent yourself by asking unprofessional or unrelated questions. Questions to ask in an interview will usually fall under these specific categories.

Job Requirements

Important details about the job may be omitted or downplayed in the job description. It is important that when you see a vague job description, you work to pick it apart by asking questions in an interview. This will help give you a clearer picture of whether or not the job is really suited for you. Some questions to ask interviewers are:

  • What is expected of a person in this position over the next three months?
  • Can you tell me some challenges that one would face in this position?
  • Have there been any changes in the duties required of one in this position over the past year?
  • How will you know that I am doing my job well?
  • What is the budget range for people in this position to work with?
  • What degree of autonomy does a person in this position have?

Career Advancement

Every job you take during the lifetime of your career is important and must better you in some way. Among the top questions to ask interviewers are those that clearly help you identify what training and professional development plans are available as you progress in that position.

When asking questions about career advancements and skill development, you will find out if training is necessary before you begin working. You also have the opportunity to find out if there are any intermittent or periodic development programs in place.

Some firms offer paid and sponsored courses for their staff to help them do their jobs better. Such a company will be a great fit for somebody who wants to develop their skills and advance quickly in their career. Here are a few questions to ask interviewers to get a clearer picture of potential career and skill development options:

  • Will I be solely responsible for my training and professional needs?
  • Will I be representing the company at industry conferences and meetings?
  • What positions have people who have been in this position gone on to take?
  • What types of career advancement opportunities can this job open me up to?

Team Details

Working in a team presents many advantages, some of which include getting things done faster and learning from others. If there is a problem within the team you will be working with, the interview can serve as a place to learn more about the situation.

You can ask questions about how the members of the team (ie. personalities, skills, core competencies, etc.), how the team works together, or even how the team resolves issues. Asking these questions will allow you to visualize what it is like working with that team and in that company. Because the answers to questions like these can be too insightful, hiring managers may not give you the full spiel; however, it is worth a try and it could spark valuable conversation. If you are interested in team dynamics at the company you are applying to, here are some questions to ask in an interview: 

  • What other teams or departments does this one work closely with?
  • What is the format for reporting?
  • Have there been any issues with the delivery of the team of late?
  • What is the composition of the team concerning skills and competencies?

Company Information

Showing an interest in the company you want to work for shows that you are considering taking the job if an offer is presented before you. Hence, you should ask the interviewer relevant questions about the company. This will give you some basic information about routine activities, the core values of the organization, how the company operates, or even how they see you fitting into the company’s vision. Some questions to ask interviewers about this include:

  • What are the mission and vision statements?
  • Over the last five years, what achievements has the company had in tandem with the mission statement?
  • Do you have any expectations for the company in the next five years?
  • What is your favorite time of the year in the office?
  • How is the relationship between staff members across the board, within and outside the office?
  • What is the company’s approach to days off?

Get to Know the Interviewer

They have gone through your resume and asked you questions that they deem as important. There should be no problem with you getting to know them. Here, you can show off your research skills or how proactive you are. If you know who is interviewing you, then you can do a little digging before the interview. That way you can get the perspective of your interviewer by asking a few relevant questions about them or the company.

This is a great way to build a healthy work relationship with a potential senior colleague. You might also leave the room with some useful advice on how to settle in properly. Most questions when getting to know the interviewer would be more specific to them; however, here are a few general questions to ask in an interview when getting to know your interviewer:

  • How long have you worked here?
  • What other positions have you held apart from the one you are holding right now?
  • Would you say the company’s values align with yours?
  • What inspired you to take up a job at this company?
  • What do you enjoy the most about working here?

RELATED: Business Insider: The Best Questions to Ask at the End of Every Job Interview

What next?

Questions to Ask Interviewers After the Interview

The interview is usually just one of the many steps in the recruitment process, and the questions don’t stop there. In a follow-up email or a thank you email, you should be sure to ask about the next steps. More specifically, you could ask if you need to do anything further on your end or when you can expect to hear back. Here are a few questions you can include in your post-interview email:

  • How long will it take for me to hear back from the company?
  • What other steps are there in the recruitment process?
  • Do you have any reservations about my fitness for this role?
  • Are there any other questions you would like me to answer?

Interpreting the Answers to Your Questions

Your interviewers expect you to ask some questions about things you do not understand or do not know. They will usually answer these questions to the best of their knowledge. While listening to the hiring manager’s answers, you should pay close attention to the interviewer’s countenance as they answer your question. 

Take note of delays in answers, hesitation, and indications that they are thinking too hard. Sometimes, they are withholding important details. For example, only a few bosses will take the blame for altercations with junior employees, even if it is theirs. There are different possible questions to ask during an interview. Make sure to ask important ones that will help you decide whether you want to take the job or not. Finally, be truthful to yourself and make decisions in the best interest of your career.

Good luck in your next interview. Make sure you take some time to prepare for it and practice your questions. That way, when the interviewer gives you the floor, you’ll know exactly what questions to ask and topics to address.

Happy Job Searching!