Top Interview Questions

Top 3 Interview Questions You Should Ask

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We talk a lot about how to prepare for an interview, but we spend much less time discussing what you should do during an actual interview and interview questions you should ask at the conclusion of the interview.

A key, yet often overlooked, component of the interview is being prepared with these interview questions before you enter the interview.

Here’s the scenario: You’ve aced all the questions during the interview and now your conversation is coming to a conclusion. Then, the interviewer asks you if you have any additional questions. Avoid the “deer in the headlights” look by being prepared for this part of the interview, too.

Have a few questions prepared in advance. They can be general questions about the work environment and the type of work the company does or they can be specific to the position for which you are interviewing. Having something prepared is much better than trying to come up with something under pressure and stumbling in front of the interviewer.

Top Interview Questions To Ask

Interview questions you should ask may include the following:

What is the background of the company?

More specifically, you might ask about how long the company has been in business, how the company has changed over time, what type of work it does, where its offices are located, who owns the company, or if it’s publicly traded and what type of people it hires.

You should be doing some homework on the company before the interview, so make sure your questions aren’t too basic. You’ll want to try to obtain some additional information that wasn’t provided on the organization’s website and marketing materials.

Can you tell me a little more about the position and its responsibilities?

Hopefully, the recruiter or interviewer have already given you some basic information, but it’s a great time to ask more specific details on the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position, how your skills match the position, where the position is located and whether it requires travel, what will be required of you on a daily basis, and if there is room for growth.

How would you describe the corporate culture?

We spend a lot of time at work, so most people want to make sure they are working in an environment that is comfortable and meshes with their personalities. Interview questions you should ask on corporate culture include items like dress code, work hours, amount of travel required, etc.

If the interviewer doesn’t share information with you about the next steps in the interview process, it is totally appropriate to ask about what will happen after the interview. Some interviewers may not know the answer to this question and will refer you back to your recruiter or HR person.

At the end of the questions, you will want to ask the interviewer for a business card so you can follow-up with an email or handwritten thank-you note. This added touch will set you apart from the competition!

I create a quick video to help summarize my interview advice. Check it out below!


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25 comments

  1. I think if you are asking about the “background of the company” you really haven’t done your homework. These things are easily found on the company website and doing a google search…

  2. Why are people such jerks today? Wish it was the 50s where people trust people instead of the mentality all candidates are “bad employees.” I hope they are delivered same mentality when they pass into the after-life! They will all be in hell!!!

    No matter what I say at an interview, they will not hire me! and it is wrong to do that to anyone!

    working on 1001 interviews currently…

  3. Michaela Oldfield

    I am pleased to have discovered this site which I know will find very useful, but please, if you are reading this as someone looking to find a job, do not ask question 1. Any interviewer would have expected you to come to interview having researched this.

  4. Here are a few more questions I sugest:

    1. What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?

    2. What’s your leadership style?

    3. About which competitor are you most worried?

    4. What are key benchmarks in performance that must be met in the first 90 days?

    5. What’s the biggest change your group has gone through in the last year? How are things now?

    6. What are the core values of the company?

    7. Who are the heroes at your company? What characteristics do the people who are most celebrated have in common with each other?

    8. What values do successful employees carry into their work?

    9. How can professionals demonstrate creativity and innovation?

    10. What’s the timeline for making a decision on this position? When should I get back in touch with you?

    • These are great questions, some I have on my list and a few new ones. Here are a couple of others interviewers have responded with, “that’s a great question”.

      1. If you were the CEO what one change would you make?
      2. what keeps you awake at night (for the hiring manager. Gives you an idea of what problem is he/she looking for a solution to.

    • Steve, these are excellent interview questions; thanks! Far better than the ones mentioned in the article.

      I’ve copied your list for future reference, and again; thanks for sharing!

    • I agree these questions sound professional and I particularly go for question 10 as a candidate does not have to ask too much considering the interviewers are keen to move on to the next candidate.

  5. More accurate and thorough advice, as recommended by several responses, will keep your professional liability from being cancelled.

  6. Ask about company background-related information and you’re guaranteed NOT to get the job. I’m very surprised that the author would suggest asking questions related to this. With the Internet (hello Google!), there’s no excuse not to know this information before the interview – and asking it will only show the interviewer that you didn’t bother to prepare.

    First timer on this site, and not really seeing very many sophisticated articles so far…may be a last timer! (No rudeness intended, by the way…just honest feedback…)

  7. I like #3, but really would stay away from #2 and #1. Especially #1, which, I believe could hurt the job seeker more than actually help.

    Keep up your good work.

    Marcia at Twitter.com/HBCUCareerCntr

  8. Winnie Bwalya Mwila

    Thank so much for the tips on interviews. Please l would love more advise on the career choices how l should go about.

  9. I would agree with Robin. If a candidate asked me about the company’s background, products, office locations etc, I would have to say they hadn’t done their homework – most of this info is easily found out online these days. I certainly wouldn’t dream of applying for a job let alone attending an interview without this research being done first.

    What is not readily available online are specifics to the role (such as some of Robin’s examples), about the specifics of how the hiring manager likes to operate and also future career opportunities within the organisation (this shows a long term plan and view to growing within the company).

    Another question I sometimes ask (depending on the rapport established during the interview) is “How am I viewed / where do I sit in comparison to other candidates”. This can allow you to gently articulate anything that may close the gap between you and any other “leading” candidates.

  10. I agree that you should never ask about a company at an interview. That just shows the interviewee did not do his/her homework and had no passion for the company. Robin Ogden has some good questions in her list and while I am not always shortlisted for an interview, I have prepared enough for interviews to know what are some of the good questions to ask! Final tip — turn the interview into a conversation and questions will come naturally.

    When all’s said and done, a successful interview is never about how well you answered questions but whether you were about to establish a rapport with your interviewer!

    • Conversation is great, recommend candidates maintain structure by summarising questions, discussion and adding his/her personal strengths. This helps to create rapport and promotes your competency.

  11. I take some issue with your first suggested question. Research the company before going into the interview. Don’t expect him to tell you about it. I think that question would be a big turn-off.

  12. Robin Ogden - FiredUP Careers

    As you stated, homework is the key…In today’s marketplace asking about “company background” without first doing extensive research on the company would be a mistake. All basic company information should be known by the candidate when they walk in the door for the interview.

    A sample of other questions for candidates to ask would be:

    1. What are some of the objectives you would like accomplished in this job? How will you measure success in this position in the first 90 days?

    2. What are the first projects to be addressed?

    3. What are the major problems to be tackled?

    4. What personality traits do you consider critical to succeed in this position?

    5. Why is this position open?

    6. What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this job?

    7. What do you value about this organization?

    8. How is creativity encouraged?

    9. How do you gain support from top management?

    and of course…what are the next steps?

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