The Best Questions to Ask During an Interview

FT Contributor
A potential employee asks her future employers a question during an interview.
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An interview can be stressful. You’ve already impressed the potential employer with your resume and cover letter — now all you have to do is impress them with your interpersonal skills. However, interviews aren’t all about the employer asking you, the candidate, questions.

A job interview is a time for you to get to know the company just as much as they’re getting to know you. It’s extremely important to ask questions during a job interview. In fact, the interviewer will expect you to ask a few. Questions show them you did your research and you’re truly interested in the opportunity they are offering. Questions also demonstrate that you’re dedicated to finding a job you’ll enjoy.

In addition, asking questions during your interview will give you a better idea of what the company is like, what your day-to-day might entail, and anything else you may be wondering. A complete understanding of the job and the company allows you to make a decision about whether you want to pursue that career.

If you have an interview coming up, be prepared with questions. Here are some questions you should ask during an interview so that you can demonstrate your interest and get the answers you need in order to make a decision about taking the job.  

What would my day-to-day routine look like if I got the job?

Find out what your everyday routine would be if you get the job. Asking this question will ultimately help you decide if you’re going to like the job or not. Inquire about the daily tasks someone in this role would be responsible for, then consider those duties and think about your desire to do them long-term. Make sure to get the specific details from the interviewer so you come away with a full understanding.

What would I be expected to accomplish in my first month/year on the job?

Ask the interviewer about the company’s expectations for your first month and year on the job. Having a clear idea of what the company expects of you will allow you to get a head start if you land the job. In addition, asking this question allows you to demonstrate your ambition and desire to succeed with the company long-term. It also demonstrates your ability to think ahead.

The interviewer should have a general idea of what your role will be responsible for initially. You can also follow up with a question about how the company caters to personal development. This shows that you have a desire to learn new skills and grow within the industry.

If I were in this job, how would my performance be measured?

Inquire about any metrics and methods management will use to gauge your performance. As an employee, it’s important to understand how your performance will be measured so you can succeed. Asking this question will give you a better idea of how the potential employer handles performance reviews, if at all. Generally speaking, a company that offers performance reviews is one that cares about the success of their employees.

The interviewer’s answer to this question will give you an understanding of how you can succeed in the role. Even if you’re not offered the position, you can gain insight on what it takes to grow in that career elsewhere. Ask about who would give you a performance review and what they might expect at various points in your career trajectory.  

What do you like best about working here?

Find out what the interviewer likes best about working with the company. Asking this personal question will help humanize the interviewer and give you a better understanding of the company culture. You want to work somewhere with happy employees and an opportunity for a good work-life balance.

A more seasoned employee who has been with the company for a long time should have an example (or two) that demonstrates what they like about their job, the people, or the company as a whole. If the interviewer hesitates to answer or doesn’t have a decent example, this could be a cause for concern.

Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?

Be upfront and ask whether the interviewer has any hold-ups about your qualifications. You may feel odd asking this question, but it’s a good way to address anything on your resume that may be a turn-off to the interviewer — and possibly other companies you’ve applied to.

If the interviewer mentions a lack of experience in a particular area, demonstrate your interest in cultivating new skills and your adaptability in the workplace. If the interviewer does have a concern, try to address it with a thoughtful, professional answer. This will further demonstrate your desire to get the job and succeed in the role.

What are the biggest rewards of the job and working for this company?

Finally, query your interviewer about the benefits and rewards inherent to the position and the company. This question is extremely important for judging the trajectory of your career. After you’ve considered what your personal aspirations are for your career, you should have an understanding of the rewards you want from a job.

Does the employer offer flexible vacation time? Will they give you opportunity to advance to more senior roles? Asking about benefits and incentives in an interview will help you decide if the job is going to take you where you want to go professionally.

Whether it’s your first job interview or you’re a seasoned professional looking for a career change, ask these interview questions so that you can get clarity on the position you applied for.

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