When preparing your questions, keep in mind that the goal is to engage with the interviewers and show your interest in learning more about the company. This also helps you to determine whether this is where you want to take on new challenges. Make sure to ask questions you really want the answers to.
Clarify the position
An interview is an opportunity for you to make sure that you have understood all aspects of the job offer. Interviewers obviously expect you to have familiarized yourself with the job description when you applied. However, an element or a duty may require clarification and the interview is the right time to make sure that you understand the position overall and that it’s what you really want to do. You can ask the interviewer to describe a typical day or describe the position in his or her own words.
Ask about the challenges and projects related to the position. You could, for example, ask about what you’ll be doing when you start in the position. This will add a concrete aspect to the position and help you imagine what your first days in the position will be like.
Learn more about the company
A good question to pose to managers and recruiters is what they enjoy about the company and what keeps them there. Your interviewers are probably quite happy to tell you what they enjoy most about their workplace. This will give the company a more personal and human feel and give you some insight into how employees feel about working there.
Questions about current events are also quite relevant, as they show your curiosity and that you have knowledge of the field.
A few examples:
- With respect to finance, you could discuss recent events in the stock markets
- With respect to IT, you could discuss new technologies or work methods
- With respect to accounting, you could ask about the impact of a new standard on the company’s operations
Make sure, however, to have an answer ready if interviewers ask for your opinion!
Questions about the company’s main competitors and how it stands out from them can also improve your overall understanding of the company.
Ask about the team
Ask about the people on the team and the atmosphere. The goal, once again, is to learn more about your future workplace and make sure that it is what you’re looking for. You can also ask about internal and external associates you will be working with.
The manager is usually at the interview, so you can ask about his or her management style. This will help you see whether you both get along and if you are comfortable with the manager’s dynamic.
Is asking about salary and benefits a good idea?
If the interviewers bring up salary and benefits, go ahead and ask your questions and discuss your expectations. Just make sure that they bring it up first. Some companies discuss these topics later in the hiring process, when making the offer or in a second meeting. The interview is not always the appropriate time to negotiate your terms. Use your judgment. It is important that your interviewers feel that you are truly interested in the position and not just the benefits.
At the end of the interview, ask when you will receive an answer and what the next steps are. Take this opportunity to thank the interviewers for their time.