The job interview is an opportunity for the recruiter to get to know you better and understand if you are a good match for the job position offered.
However, the interview is also important for you to understand if the role you are applying for is really the right one. And to do this, you must know the company, its culture, the objectives, what your responsibilities will be, with whom you will confront, recognize if that working context is in line with your values and your goals career.
At the end of the interview, one of the final questions you will be asked will be: “Do you have any questions for me?” The recruiter expects you to have some doubts to resolve.
If you don’t ask questions, you’ll seem lazy, unmotivated, or unprepared. In fact, questions are not only a good way for you to clarify the job, but they are also a great way to prove to the recruiter that you are interested in the role and excited about the chance to work there.
To make a great impression and ask the right questions, you’ll need to prepare thoroughly.
Let’s see how and what are the questions to ask at an interview to gather the right information about the company and the position.
Sure you can learn a lot by reading the job posting and gathering some information from the company website (or social media profiles), but the truth is that to go deeper you will have to talk to the recruiter and ask him detailed questions.
Don’t be afraid to be curious or intrusive, the recruiter expects you to ask questions, and is disappointed in candidates who don’t ask them.
According to a study conducted in the United States of 750 recruiters, 88% of these said that an informed candidate is a quality candidate and that the informed candidate is the one who can ask the most relevant questions.
And to do this, you need good preparation. The questions you will have to ask must have the right focus.
These questions must concern only and exclusively the work you will do and the company, nothing concerning the personal sphere.
The best questions you can ask are about corporate culture, your daily tasks, so you don’t have any surprises in your first week of work if you’re hired.
To prepare these questions, you will need to carefully read the job posting and collect information about the company from the official website, from social profiles, or news about it or about the sector in which it operates.
The questions can also allow you to highlight your qualities, skills, or experience and show the recruiter that you are a great match for that role.
How many questions will you have to ask?
You will need to prepare a minimum of 4-5 precise questions, of course, if you have more the recruiter will appreciate it. But the important thing is not to go below 4.
Why? Because the recruiter could, indirectly, answer some questions you have already prepared during the interview. As a result, you’d find yourself at the end of this with no questions to ask.
What questions to ask?
In preparing your questions, you will need to focus on some specific areas to investigate. Here are some categories for questions to ask at an interview:
The role: tasks and requirements
You certainly know the role you will play if you are hired thanks to the job posting, but is there anything that is not mentioned, and you want to know? What exactly will you do? Will your role evolve?
Regarding the requirements, ask questions to know if you need to do something before starting the job, such as a particular training or course. Also, ask when you should start.
The company structure
Ask questions that aim to investigate the company a little. You will be able to inform yourself about the people who work there, about the department or team you will be part of.
You must know who you will be working for, and I don’t just mean your manager, but the company in general. Surely you have done the research and collected a good amount of information, but there are details that you cannot get from research and that can only be explained to you by someone within the company.
How you do your job if you get hired is very important, and so are the expectations of the people who hire you. The best way to achieve the goals
the company expects of you is to know, right away, what these goals are.
What do they want you to do? Which goals will you need to achieve? How will your performance be evaluated?
The possibilities for growth
Once you’ve asked what goals you need to achieve in your role, you may want to ask what you are entitled to if you actually achieve them. Will there be opportunities for growth and advancements?
Remember to make sure that the position offered is in line with your career goals and allows you to reach them if that’s what you want. I don’t think you want to be hired and then discover that there is no possibility of growth for you within that working context.
You will be interested in having some information about the people you will work with. Who will your colleagues be? Will you work in a team? You must know who you will be spending your time with. The best job in the world can easily turn into the worst if you find yourself having to put up with people who create problems.
This is another important aspect that you need to take into account, which is the company culture in which you will work. What kind of company is it? What are the positive aspects of working there? What are the negatives? Are employees allowed to have a casual style or is there formality?
The mission and the vision
With these questions, you investigate the company’s objectives in more detail. What are these goals based on? Has the company changed in recent years or does it always have the same mission and vision of what it does?
The waiting time
Once you have asked all the questions about the role and the company, there are then a series of questions you can ask about your post-interview steps. You may feel like the interview went well, and you are satisfied with the information you have had. What awaits you now? What next steps will you have to take? What is the timeline?
It is very important to ask these questions not only to show the recruiter your interest and enthusiasm for the position but also for you, to know how long you will have to wait before getting feedback without leaving to take the stress out of silence after the interview.
Sample questions to ask at an interview
Based on the categories we saw in the previous paragraphs, here are the questions you can ask at a job interview:
- Can you describe a typical day for this role for me?
- If I am hired for this position, what will be expected of me?
- What are the biggest challenges for this role?
- How many people work in the company?
- Who should I report to for my activities?
- How will employee performance be assessed?
- What, in your opinion, is one of the best aspects of working in this company?
- Who previously held the position? Is this a new role?
- Does the company offer professional development opportunities?
- How has the company changed in recent years?
- What are the company’s goals in 5-10 years from now?
- Is there any doubt about my qualifications?
- What are the next selection steps?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
Guidelines on questions to ask
You don’t necessarily have to ask every single question described above or cover all categories. However, you will need to have some good questions ready for the recruiter. Follow these tips to prepare your question list.
Avoid questions that “strictly” concern you: These kinds of questions give the recruiter the wrong message as if you were above the employer. These are the questions that concern, for example, salary, holidays, bonuses, and other concessions. You will certainly be able to address these issues later in the selection, but during the interview be sure to demonstrate to the recruiter that you are a good match for that position and how the company can benefit from your hiring.
Ask one question at a time: avoid asking questions with multiple parts. Each question must have its precise purpose, must be direct and concise.
Avoid asking closed-ended “YES” or “NO” questions: this type of question can usually be answered by searching the company website. Do not waste your questions, ask those that create a dialogue between you and your interlocutor and that dissolve all your doubts.
Ask questions on different topics: we talked about categories precisely because the questions you ask the recruiter must have the focus on different aspects of the job, not just one. Also, asking questions that have only one subject could make the interviewer suspicious. For example, if you asked him only about management and managers he might think that you have problems with authority figures.
Avoid too personal questions: establish a connection with your interlocutor, a sort of understanding during the interview, it’s a good thing, but try not to get confused and ask questions that are not in the public domain or that are not necessary for you for the role or to get to know the company. Don’t ask questions about family, private life, etc.
Sample questions to avoid
- What does the company do? (Don’t go to the interview without doing the right research!)
- If I have a job, what will my vacation be? (Before asking questions about holidays, bonuses, salary, wait until the company wants to offer you the job or wait for your interlocutor to talk about it.)
- Can I change my schedule if I have the job? (If you need to organize yourself for the times you will have to wait once the offer is made or one of your interlocutors will talk about it.)
- How did I go? Are you thinking of offering me the job? (Don’t be impatient and don’t seem desperate, wait for the company to tell you.)