11 Smart Questions to Ask Interviewers

Finding what you love is the key to success! Be it leaders, motivational speakers, or gurus, you will hear this from every successful person you come across. Even after knowing this fact, I wonder why people don't cash in when given the opportunity to find out whether a job or a workplace suits their interests or not. I am talking about asking interviewers the questions that not only help you to develop your credentials for the job, but also help in exploring details that you might not have otherwise unveiled. The point being, getting a job that does not fit your profile is more disastrous than not getting it, which is why it is pertinent to ask interviewers questions that will convince both you and the interviewer that the particular job is a great fit for you.

Why Should Ask Questions in an Interview?

The goal of an interview is to showcase your credentials for the job and at the same time, learn as much as possible about the work, people, and culture of the company. The questions you ask during an interview can change the interviewer’s perception of you. Besides a great impression, it shows your interest in the job and that you have come well prepared for it. Asking questions also helps to stand out among the many candidates for the job, so you should have at least 3-4 well-prepared questions when the interviewer gives you the opportunity to ask them.

Tips for Asking the Right Interview Questions

Asking the right questions is of utter importance; otherwise the interviewer will get the impression that you lack interest, preparation, or intelligence. Before going on to the questions we recommend you to ask an interviewer, let's go through the lines of questioning that you should avoid. You don’t want to leave a bad impression by asking unreasonable questions.

Ask one question at a time

The first and foremost tip is to stay calm and ask one question at a time. This will give the interviewer an idea that you are not asking questions just for the sake of it, but are actually interested in knowing more about the employer and the company.

Avoid asking "Me" questions

It means don't ask selfish questions because that would indicate your lack of interest in the job. You don't want to put yourself ahead of the employer. Instead, ask questions that show the interviewer how you would be of value to the organization and that, if hired, you can be an asset to the company.

Avoid too personal questions

Another thing you should be careful about is not getting too personal with the interviewer. You don't want to put the interviewer in an embarrassing position by asking personal questions that they might not be comfortable answering. This may appear as trespassing into the personal space of the interviewer and he/she may find it rude.

Ask open-ended questions

Avoid asking "yes" or "no" questions or questions that you can figure out by yourself. Open-ended questions can reveal beneficial information from the interviewer that otherwise you would not have been able to extract. Try to be creative with the questions and demonstrate to the interviewers that you have done some research on them and want to be a part of the organization. You can achieve that by asking questions that give the interviewer an opportunity to explain the functioning of the company or information that may help you in making a decision about whether you should or should not work for the company.

Don't make this common mistake

Lastly, we highly suggest you do not ask any question along the lines of "Did I get the job?" because by asking this you are putting the interviewer in an uneasy position. This is a very common mistake made by many interviewees because such questions give the impression that you are desperate and have no other options.

11 Questions You Could Ask

Now let's move towards the questions you should ask. The most important thing is to try to make the interview more of a discussion rather than a series of questions and answers. In this way, you will get to know more about the employer and vice versa. The four major topics your questions should concentrate on can be about the company, the team you may work with, the job, and the interviewer. Firstly, let's take a look at what questions can be of interest to you and the interviewer when it comes to the company.

Questions about the company

Q 1: Where do you see this company in the next few years?

By asking this question you are letting your interviewer know that you are ambitious and look forward to growing with the company, and this is a quality that an employer seeks in an employee.

Q 2: What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this teamwork to support hitting those goals?

After getting aware of the current goals the company, you can figure whether these goals are aligned with your passion or interests and if they are then you should definitely go for this job, if offered. You would be working for the whole company and not just for one boss, so knowing how the departments collaborate to achieve a goal should be of interest to you. This will also help you to know more about the structure of the company, the role of the management in hitting targets, and how you would play a part to achieve them.

Q 3: What are the biggest opportunities/challenges facing the company right now?

Asking about the opportunities expresses your self-confidence and zeal to excel to the interviewer. It shows that you are self-confident enough that you know if an opportunity presents itself, you can prove your worth by making the most out of it. On the other side, asking about challenges indicates that you are a problem solver who is not afraid of taking up challenges. It will also help you uncover the issues in the company and perhaps highlight the areas where your expertise can make the most impact.

Questions about the job

Q 1: Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?

A job becomes the major part of one’s life as you would spend a substantial portion of your time and energy doing the tasks you are assigned. It is very helpful to know what kind of responsibilities you are jumping into. By asking this question, you can get a good view of what would your life be like if you are offered the job.

Q 2: Besides the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the position best?

A job is not only about salary but the opportunities and the personal growth it offers it. Definitely, you should look for a job that will groom you and develop your soft skills.

Q 3: What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?

It is an intelligent question and will directly lead you into the psyche of the management, which in turn will give you a better understanding of the attitude and expectations of the management. With this information, you will know what the interviewer is looking for in the candidate and knowing the interviewer's expectations can put you in a better position to convince him/her that you have what it takes to perform this job.

Questions about the team you may work with

Q 1: Can you tell me about the team I'll be working with?

This question will show that you are a team player and understand that the team you will be working with would play an important factor in delivering the company's goals. This will also give you an idea about the current employees and whether you would enjoy working with them or if the adjustment would be a difficult task.

Q 2: Which other departments work most closely with this one?

This question will give you an insight into the structure and working of the company. This will also give you an idea of the role and learning prospects the job offers.

Besides these two most recommended questions you can also ask about common career paths in this department or questions like "Can you tell me about my direct reports?", or  "What are the team's strengths and biggest challenges?"

Questions about the interviewer

Q 1: What do you like best about working for this company? Or how would you describe this company's culture/values?

Showing interest in the interviewer is equal to showing interest in the job, as you are asking a current employee about how he finds the company. This includes their likes and dislikes about the job and their overall view of the company. Are they happy with their job and comfortable with the company's cultures/values? The answer to these questions will give you a bigger picture of the company from an experienced professional who has a thorough idea about it.

Q 2: Can you tell me about the last team event you did together?

Social life is as important as professional; therefore it is appropriate to inquire about the team events the company organizes. It will also show that you are an extrovert and would actively participate in the company's events.

Q 3: Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful or questions I can answer?

Ensuring your willingness to work for the company is always a good sign for the interviewer. This question tells the interviewer that you have nothing to hide, much to offer, and are very much interested in the job at hand.

If you want to impress your potential employer and highlight your interest for a job then asking well-prepared questions is the best way to achieve that. Similarly, by asking intelligent questions you can also find out whether this is the right job for you. In this article, we provided you with a list of questions you should ask an interviewer to explore more about the job and let the interviewer know why he/she should choose you over the other candidates. For your benefit, we have also added a section that contains the questions you should avoid asking. Having said all that, always value your instinct and tailor the questions based on your own situation.