You’ve had a great interview for a new role that you’re feeling excited about. Your interviewer is wrapping up their list of questions, and you’re confident your answers have portrayed you as a strong candidate for the position. However, one final test remains. In virtually any job interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for your interviewer – and, make no mistake, the correct answer is “Yes”. To help prepare you for that moment, we’ve compiled a list of ten great questions to ask in a job interview. Each of the following will help solidify you as a thoughtful, proactive candidate and ensure you leave a favorable impression that maintains or improves your chance of being offered the role. And remember, these questions are also for your benefit – you want to know as much as possible before making important career decisions. 1. How would you describe the culture of this organization?
This is a perennially useful, generalized question that will help you get a feel for what it’s like to work for a particular organization. It also shows you care about compatibility on a deeper level than simply how well your skills match the job description. 2. What do you most enjoy about working for the organization? And, conversely, what do you find least enjoyable?
These make sense asked together or one-after-another, but are, much like the first question on this list, almost always valid and worth asking. 3. What would a ‘day in the life’ look like for this role?
Asking this question may give you new insights about your potential responsibilities and work rhythms, such as information on which duties are commonplace and which you’ll only rarely be tasked with. 4. Could you describe how I’d work with some of the team members to complete my responsibilities?
This is a bit like the “day in the life” question from earlier, although – in this case – it’s framed through an interpersonal lens, which is likely to change how your interviewer responds to the question. You may gain valuable insights into prospective team members’ personalities or a more accurate picture of your responsibilities – remember, nothing exists in a vacuum, including a position in an organization. 5. What attribute best equips someone to succeed at this organization and/or in this position?
Alternatively – or possibly in addition – How is success quantified? Ask these questions so that – in the event you receive a job offer – you can hit the ground running and show that you’re committed to success. It also helps you discover whether the organization has well-defined metrics or KPIs. It speaks volumes if it’s a struggle for your interviewer to answer this question.
6. Are there opportunities for career development (continuing education, association membership, funding for conference attendance) in this position?
Getting an answer to this question in advance can help set expectations for the future as well as provide you with important criteria to weigh against any competing job offers.
7. How is the bulk of your data collected, stored and managed currently?
Data science and analytics professionals have an opportunity to further establish their fit for a role with this question, especially if the interviewer’s answer provides an opportunity to elaborate on how prior experience relates to the organization’s current data management practices. You may feel this question is best asked before the end of an interview (when the typical opportunity for your questions occurs), as it may help you better frame your initial answers and eliminate the need to circle back to elaborate.
8. What do you see as your organization’s competitive advantage over comparable organizations?
Similar to the “large-scale changes on the horizon” question, this shows that you’re a comfortable big-picture thinker who’s eager to jump into familiarizing yourself with a new employer.
9. Are there any large-scale changes on the horizon for your industry which you believe could compel a shift in organizational strategy in the future?
This question shows you’re a forward thinker with an eye on the big picture. It can also give you clues as to how the position you’re applying for might change over time.
10. Based on what we’ve spoken about, are there any elements of concern about my ability to succeed in this role?
This question can set you apart from other candidates in the mind of your interviewer, help clarify any ongoing misconceptions which have survived the interview itself, and serve as a learning opportunity which highlights skill areas you should work to develop in the future.
Keep in mind, there are plenty of other ‘good questions’ that didn’t make this list. You should use it as inspiration and try to develop a new list of questions before every interview. Creating a list of questions can be a helpful exercise for job interview prep more generally, as it gets you thinking critically about the organization and role. As you can see with example #10, you can even improve your interview responses by asking the right questions.
As helpful as it can be to come prepared with great questions, there are also some questions that can derail a good job interview – and your chances of an offer. You should avoid asking specific questions about compensation or about anything overly personal for the interviewer. In addition, becoming familiar with easily accessible information, like a basic description of the organization’s activities, should be a part of the interview prep we mentioned earlier. Therefore, asking questions about this information could imply a lack of preparation or interest on your part.