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What Questions Should I Ask During the Interview?

The interview has to be an exchange of information. The interviewer has a list of questions they ask to learn about you, but you also need to learn about them! What questions will you ask during the interview?level the field

Let me also say that many interviewers have had no formal training in interviewing and it is often the least favorite part of their job (unless they are a recruiter or in HR and then it IS part of their job.)

The Scope and Tone of Your Questions

Have you prepared appropriate and thoughtful questions you would like answered during the interview? This shows your interest in the job, professionalism, maturity and self confidence.

I interviewed a candidate many years ago, for an entry level job who had very little work experience.  My role at the time was in human resources as the screener and he began asking questions like “where do you see your company going in 5 years” and “what has the turnover is this department been”.  I felt these questions were outside the scope of what he should be asking so early in the interview and I told him so.  If he had asked other questions that had to do with his role and expectations of him in the job first, I may have been more willing to consider answering his ‘out of scope’ questions.  I can understand why he asked those textbook questions, but I didn’t feel I was the right person to answer them nor was I trained enough to know how to respond.  The questions weren’t necessarily bad, but the candidate should consider these things:

  • Show interest in the job by asking questions about the job.
  • Understand your audience and ask questions they are qualified to answer.
  • Share why the questions being asked are important to you.
  • Use an inquisitive tone of voice to suggest you are truly seeking information, not judging.

Leveling the Playing Field

If you are a seasoned candidate, interviewing with a seasoned interviewer, I think you want to find the right mix of coming across confident and  curious. When I found these questions, I knew I had to share them because they truly level the playing field. These questions came from Margaret Heffernan’s post “How to Spot a Bad Boss” on CBS MoneyWatch:

  • Of all the people who have worked for you, who are you proudest of — and why?
  • Can you describe a disagreement within the project, job or department and how it was resolved?
  • Are there formal opportunities to mentor or coach rising stars in the firm?
  • What did the last person in this position go onto do — and what were they like?
  • How far have the expectations and requirements of the position changed since it was first created?

For more explanation and logic about these questions, please go read the full post!

If you are looking for more questions to ask during the interview, you can read: Interviewing is a fact-finding mission, not an interrogation.

What do you think about these questions? Would you or have you asked them?

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