Tips on Asking Questions During Your Interview
Here are some guidelines for asking questions:
Prepare five good questions, understanding that you may not have time to ask them all.
Ask questions concerning the job, the company, and the industry or profession.
Your questions should indicate your interest in these subjects and that you have read and thought about them. For example, you might start, “I read in Business Week that … I wonder if that factor is going to have an impact on your business.”
Don’t ask questions that raise warning flags.
For example, asking “Would I really have to work weekends?” implies that you are not available for weekend assignments. If you are available, rephrase your question. Also, avoid initiating questions about compensation (pay, vacations, etc.) or tuition reimbursements. You might seem more interested in paychecks or time-off than the actual job.
Don’t ask questions about only one topic.
People who ask about only one topic are often perceived as one dimensional and not good candidates.
It’s OK to ask a question to clarify something the interviewer said. Just make sure you are listening. Asking someone to clarify a specific point makes sense. Asking someone to re-explain an entire subject gives the impression that you have problems listening or comprehending. For example, you can preface a clarifying question by saying: “You mentioned that ABC Company does (blank)…Can you tell me how that works in practice?”
Specific Questions To Ask
A job interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about a potential employer. Indeed, what you learn from an interview may determine whether or not you want the job you’re interviewing for. The following are examples of the types of questions you might ask at your job interview.
- Can you please tell me how your career has developed at XYZ Corp. Would someone entering the firm today have similar opportunities?
- If I work hard and prove my value to the firm, where might I be in five years?
- I read in your literature that your training program is comprised of three six-month rotations. Does the employee have any input into where he will go at the end of each rotation? How do you evaluate the employee’s performance during the training period?
- I read in Business Week that a major competitor of yours is increasing its market share in your main market. What plans does your firm have to regain its lost market share?
- Can you describe for me what a work week is really like as a salesperson for XYZ Corp?
- How many individuals complete your training program each year?
- When does the training program begin?
- What is the length and structure of the training program?
- Do most trainees advance fairly rapidly through the program?
- What career paths have others generally followed after completing the program?
- How does the position and the department contribute to the overall company mission and philosophy?
- What is a typical day (assignment) [ for a position you are applying for ] in your company?
- What characteristics best describe individuals who are successful in this position?
- Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?
- What other positions and/or departments will I interact with most?
- To whom does this position report?
- How much decision-making authority and autonomy are given to new employees?
- How will my performance be evaluated?
- How often are performance reviews given? By whom?
- What are the opportunities for advancement?
- Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education?
- How would you describe the organization’s culture/environment?
- What makes your organization different from its competitors?
- What industry-wide trends are likely to affect your organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How would you describe you organization’s personality and management style?
- How is the work environment affected by the organization’s management style?