Questions To Ask (And Not To Ask) At A Job Interview

Questions To Ask (And Not To Ask) At A Job Interview

Asking the right questions in an interview is important

If you struggle when asked if you have any questions for the interviewer/s at the end of a job interview you’re not alone. Many of us struggle to come up with intelligent and relevant questions at this most critical time.

At the end of most job interviews, it’s likely you’ll be asked something like “Do you have any questions for us?” The wrong answer is: “No, I think you’ve covered everything.” The right answer is to ask relevant questions that demonstrate your genuine interest in the position. You can ask questions that relate to the company, the team or the role itself.

Here are some examples of questions to ask at a job interview:

Questions about the company [to help you learn more about the company including staff turnover, work environment/culture, challenges and future plans]

  • How long have you worked for the company?
  • What attracted you to work for the company?
  • What do you like most about working for the company?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?
  • Where do you see the company heading in the future?
Questions about the team [to give you insight into to the team, its functions and challenges]
  • How would you describe the team I’ll be working with?
  • How large is the team I will be a part of?
  • Can you describe the team’s functions?
  • Does the team work closely with other areas in the company?
  • What are the greatest challenges facing the team right now?
Questions about the role [to clarify the scope of the role, difficulties faced and opportunities for advancement]
  • Can you describe a typical day in the role?
  • What would you say is the most challenging aspect of this role?
  • How do you see this role evolving in the future?
  • What kind of training/mentoring/coaching is available?
  • Why has the role become available?

The best questions are those that demonstrate a genuine interest in the role without being too complex and difficult for the interviewer to answer. The last thing you want to do is make the interviewer feel uncomfortable or intimidated. Be prepared with a range of questions you can ask since many answers will already be covered during the interview process.

Stick with the suggested questions above and steer clear of any questions that could be misinterpreted or make the interviewer think you are demanding, lazy, unreliable or a risk.

Questions you should NOT ask at an interview:
    • Do you allow staff personal time to check emails and surf the internet?
    • Will you pay for my university tuition fees?
    • How many holidays will I get?
    • Do you offer the option to work from home?
    • Are you flexible with start and finish times?
    • Do you have regular casual dress days?
    • Will I have my own office?
    • Do you provide tea and coffee facilities?
    • What is the company’s view of bringing children/pets to the workplace?
    • Is there a staff discount policy?
    • I have a long-standing health condition, do you provide health cover?
    • Are medical certificates required for any sick leave?
    • How soon will I be able to get a pay rise?

Some of the above questions might be valid but are better asked at the point of offer rather than at the interview. If you are applying via a recruitment agency they may have answers to your questions regarding general conditions of employment.

If you have the opportunity to undergo interview coaching, be sure your coach asks you the “Do you have any questions for us?” question to enable you to practice asking relevant questions.

Do you have some any other examples you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Lisa LaRue is a registered Career Coach at CareerWorx with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

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