Your line of questioning during a job interview is one of the most critical elements in determining whether the potential employer is right for you. Keep in mind, the question you’re ultimately trying to answer is not “Is this a good company?” but “Is this a good company for me?” To help, I thought I’d share 39 great questions to ask in a job interview.
By organizing all your questions into one of three buckets—Company, Role, and Boss—you can maintain a prearranged flow of information for the interviewer and also sell yourself in the process. (While I would generally reserve the boss-related questions for your potential boss, you could substitute more appropriate interviewer-centric questions for any interviewer that would not be your boss.) I’m convinced any question you can imagine will fall into one of these three categories. Furthermore, this provides you with a manageable number of groupings to access and review for each interviewer.
Company: Includes questions aimed at surfacing corporate-level information. These questions could be related to financial health, revenue, earnings, organizational structure, employee base, corporate strategy, market position, products, services, competitors, management team, and corporate communications.
Role: Includes questions related to your specific job. These questions could be related to your typical responsibilities, team structure, performance review process, career development opportunities, and career path.
Boss: Includes questions related to your potential boss. These questions could be related to your boss’s management style, expectations, and plans for the future.
- Can you provide insight into the overall company structure? It would also be helpful to understand the management team structure, revenue, and number of employees in each of the areas.
- Based on the company’s position in the market, what do you see ahead for the company in the next few years? How do you see the overall performance for the company’s target market or industry? Can you venture a guess as to the overall percentage of growth?
- Can you provide more detail regarding the company’s products and services? Are there plans for any new products or services? What do you consider to be the organization’s greatest assets?
- How would you rate the company against its competitors? What competitive advantages does the company have? Is the company vulnerable in any areas relative to its competition? Why is the company unique in the market?
- Can you describe the company’s overall management style?
- What is the company’s overall communication style to its employees? Can you let me know what specific means they use to achieve this?
- What is your organization’s policy regarding transfers to other cities?
- What is the employee turnover ratio?
- Can you describe the benefits the company provides (health-care insurance, dental, profit sharing, 401(k) match, and so forth)?
- Does the company typically pay bonuses? If so, what has been the historical trend?
- Why is the position open? If it is a newly created position, why was it created? If it is replenishment for a vacancy, why did the previous employee leave or why did you let the previous employee go?
- Can you provide more detail on the primary and secondary responsibilities and any other pertinent information you think would be helpful so that I have an accurate view of the job?
- What are the performance expectations of this position over the first twelve months?
- How many people work in the unit and specifically what types of function do they perform?
- How does upper management view the role and importance of this unit?
- What are the characteristics of the most successful individuals within the company and this particular team?
- What types of skills do you not already have on the team that you would like to fill with the new hire?
- How much autonomy is there for me to make key decisions within this role?
- Have you interviewed any other candidates for the role? If you haven’t yet hired someone, what was lacking in those individuals? If someone rejected your employment offer, why did they do that?
- What are the various ways employees communicate with one another to carry out their work?
- How and by whom will my performance be reviewed? Are there specific criteria upon which I would be evaluated? And how frequently is formal and informal review given to new employees?
- Can you highlight the possibilities for growth beyond this position?
- How much support or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
- Does the organization support external training for this position? If so, how much expenditure is the company willing to support?
- How much travel is expected? Can you describe the amount, patterns, and typical locations?
- How is the compensation structured for this position? If there is a bonus opportunity, has that bonus been paid in previous years? If so, what portion has the bonus been paid (of the 100 percent available)?
- What particular computer equipment and software do you use?
- What is your management style?
- Can you describe the characteristics and qualities of your most successful subordinates?
- What drew you to the organization?
- What has kept you here?
- Have you had to fire anyone from the unit? If so, can you describe that situation for me?
- Who does the position report to and can you describe that individual for me?
- If you were to offer me a job and I was to accept, what would be the first act I could do to make your life easier?
- Can you highlight for me something you discovered after you started that you were unaware of during your recruitment process (good or bad)?
- What are the top five things you would improve about the organization?
- What do you love most/least about working here?
- Do you have any reservations about hiring me?
- What are the next steps?