Job interviews are always a two-way street. While it’s important to prepare for the interview so you can answer questions confidently, it’s just as important to know the best questions to ask an employer in an interview.
You are there to evaluate them as much as they are to evaluate you. You are a precious commodity, and you have a right and an obligation to interview them just as they interview you. Asking questions to make sure it’s a good fit lets them know that you are aware of your worth.
A potential employer will assess you as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give. Prepare for job interview success by reviewing the 18 best questions to ask an employer in an interview.
Why Asking Questions In An Interview Is Important
When you are being interviewed, you probably think the focus is on your qualifications or technical expertise. But it may not be. I’ve talked with hundreds of executives actually doing the interviewing and this is what they tell me they are really interested in:
- Is he lazy?
- Does she have common sense?
- Does he have a fire in his belly?
- Is she qualified?
- Is he lying?
- Will she fit in?
- Will he embarrass me?
The questions interviewers ask are as much about who you are as what you can do.
In the same way, the questions you ask in the interview can tell you what you really want to know about the company and the job:
- Is the company worth joining?
- Do they have good products or services?
- Do they have workable plans for the future?
- Will I have a qualified, competent boss?
- Will they support my growth and development?
- Will they reward my efforts?
- Will I be proud to work for them?
Knowing who the company and your potential boss are gives you the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to invest in them. But you have to ask the right questions to find that out.
18 Best Questions To Ask An Employer In An Interview
- What do you believe someone must know to do this job well?
- Could you describe the people I would be working with?
- How is the company organized? Would you draw me an organization chart?
- What makes you different from your competition?
- What are the biggest problems confronting your company and the industry?
- In what ways do you expect the company to change?
- How do you market, and how do you sell your product or service?
- How are employees trained? Who trains them?
- Where does this position take me if I do an outstanding job?
- Where does your job take you?
- How do you recruit people? Within the company or outside the company?
- If someone does an outstanding job, how are they rewarded?
- What do you expect from this person?
- Who are your biggest competitors?
- Do you personally make the final hiring decision? Do you consult with others? Who else do you consult with?
- What do you like or dislike about some of the people who have worked for you in the past?
- What is your management style?
- What kind of boss are you? Could you give me an example?
Remember that each interview is unique and you will need to tailor your questions appropriately. You most likely do not need to ask all 18 questions but you will find there are other questions you should ask based on how the interview is going.
Make Their Questions Your Questions
A good rule of thumb to remember in a job interview is that anything they ask you, you can ask them. Now you have to reword the question so as to not sound like a parrot, but later in the conversation you can use their question to you as a question to them. Here are some examples.
If they’ve asked, “Tell me about yourself,” later on in the conversation you can ask, “I’ve read about your company, talked with people, and know you have a great reputation…but you’re on the inside, tell me about the company from your experience?”
If they’ve asked, “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” later on you can ask, “What are you proudest of in the organization now….and what are the biggest areas you want to see change in?”
If they’ve asked, “What do you see yourself doing two-three years from now,” later on you can ask, “Where do you see the company (or this department, division) in two to three years?”
The thing to remember is that whatever they asked you about, they are interested in. You should be interested in the same about them to better understand what situation you are getting into.
The Biggest Question Of All In An Interview
When the interview is over and all the other questions have been asked (and hopefully answered), it’s time to ask yourself the biggest question of all, “Do I want to work for this company?”
Only you can answer that question, but if you know the best questions to ask an employer in an interview then you’ll be able to get all the information you need to make the right decision.