10 Sample Questions to Ask at Your Next Job Interview

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

While job interviews can vary from company to company and position to position, you can almost always count on at least one commonality. At the end of the interview, the hiring manager typically asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" Don't fall into the trap of saying, "No." This is your moment to learn vital information about the company and position yourself as an ideal candidate. Spend time before every interview preparing questions you can ask the interviewer. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. What Can You Tell Me About This Job That Got Left Out of the Job Description?

No job description is full and complete. Asking this question shows that you understand that and want to know the real scoop. If you're lucky, the hiring manager's response can also let you know a little about the personality of the office and the way co-workers get along. Follow this question up by asking what the likelihood is that the job could grow.

2. What's the Biggest Challenge Facing This Workplace?

The answer to this question may let you know about problems with higher-ups, conflicts between team members or unrealistic expectations regarding the workload. Listen carefully to the answer to this question, as it can help you position yourself as the solution to the challenges named.

3. Can You Tell Me About the Last Person Who Was Successful in This Position?

With this question, you can learn what the expectations are and whether you're following a star or a loser. By knowing what an employee has to do to be considered successful in the job you're applying for, you can better understand how the company culture works.

4. How Does Your Training Process Work?

This question lets you learn a little bit about how the company or department handles the inevitable mistakes that a beginner makes. Don't worry that you're pegging yourself as a beginner. You're showing that you want to get up to speed as quickly as possible. If your interviewer responds with something like, "We hope our new hires don't make mistakes," you have a valuable clue as to whether this company supports a productive, welcoming environment for new workers.

5. What Do You Like About Working Here?

Watch your interviewer's body language and listen to her tone of voice as she answers this question. If she has a hard time coming up with an answer, or her answer is vague, keep your ears open for other negatives about the company.

6. Who Will I Be Working With?

The answer to this question lets you know a little bit about how collaborative your new job might be and whether it fits with your own style of work. Learning as much as you can about future co-workers is always recommended, as the people you work with are key to the enjoyment of any job.

7. What's the First Priority for the Person Who Gets This Job?

Learning what the expectations are can be key to your success right out of the gate. It also sets you up well for a second interview. Listen for any warning signs that indicate the company's expectations are unrealistic.

8. What Kind of Team Development Does the Company Do?

This is another way to find out about the collaborative nature of your potential new job. If the company does a lot of team development, the hiring manager is likely to want to brag about it.

9. Do You Have Any Concerns About My Background or Qualifications?

This question invites the job interviewer to be honest. It shows that you're not afraid to hear the answer, which indicates that you're confident in your abilities. If the interviewer's answer is "No," it lets her say it out loud, moving her closer to becoming an advocate for you. If the answer is "Yes," you can learn something valuable for the next interview.

10. What Are the Next Steps?

Ask this question for your own peace of mind. If you know in advance that no decision is being made for a couple of weeks, you can stop checking your phone and email every 10 minutes. If there's a way you can follow up or prepare for another interview, it's good to know that, too.

When preparing for a job interview, don't spend all your time focusing out how to answer questions. The questions you ask are just as important. Think through how you can best show your ability to fit the position as you prepare the best possible set of questions for your interviewer.

Photo Courtesy of Jones Milss at Flickr.com


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Hema by all means that's a great question to ask. It will also help you to decide whether or not YOU want the job, let alone whether they want to hire you. We seem to think that just because a job is offered that we have to take it. You may walk out of an interview wondering what the heck you were thinking! @Duncan as long as your questions are professional, you should be okay. Don't be asking personal questions of the interviewer. If you see something around the office that interests you, such as a painting, you could comment on it and use that as an ice breaker. @Ludmila I have to respectfully disagree. I want to know why the position is open. Was the person fired? That would certainly give me pause. Was the person promoted? That could leave the door open for possible future promotions for me. I typically ask that question in every interview. I can usually tell by the interviewer's demeanor and expression whether I hit on a landmine or not. If you are uncomfortable asking that question then maybe you could phrase it like "Is this a new position for the company?" or something like that. At least you will be able to find out a bit more about the position which will help you in your decision making. Please remember all that an interview is a two-way street.

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    Some of the questions on this list are the exact ones that float through my mind during an interview. I’m always curious about how much training a company offers and during interviews I often ask about it. It’s better to ask these questions instead of wondering about them as the answers can provide valuable information about the workplace.

  • Duncan  Maranga
    Duncan Maranga

    It sounds really courageous of me as an interviewee to pose such questions to my prospective employer. However, I believe some questions may depict me as too inquisitive or careless and could actually cut down my prospects of clinching the job. What are some of the questions that I should avoid to be on the safe side of events?

  • Ludmila B.
    Ludmila B.

    I do not think that asking who was the person doing that job before is necessary to be asked as the candidate for the job will never receive an answer to that question. May be the interviewing panel do not know anything about that candidate or they have no wish to answer that question. Personally I have never asked that question and I am completely sure that asking such a question is out of the consideration for the members of the interviewing panel.

  • Andrew  S.
    Andrew S.

    Number 9 is a really good question to ask, though perhaps there's a better way to phrase. And I think that if the interviewer does say he has some concerns and then lets you address them, it is probably a good sign that he's interested in your candidacy. Otherwise, he'd probably answer it with a polite "No" or something to the effect.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @William it is to true that you should try not to ask any "yes"/"no" questions during the interview. You want to draw the interviewer out because you can learn so much more that way. Ask leading questions if you can. It's tough sometimes for the interviewer to really tell you what happened to the person who was in the position prior. What if that person has been fired and the interviewer just says - oh we let him go for cause. What would you do next? Would you want to continue with the interview or would you be thinking - oh man if he was fired for cause what will happen to me? @Tara that is so true - it's always great when the interviewer tries to dig a bit harder because, many times, it brings to mind things that you may have forgotten about that would be a big boost for you.

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    I think question nine is really important, not just because it serves as a clue about the possibility of employment, but also because it allows the individual to clarify any misconceptions or to further explain a qualification that may not come through clearly on the page. For example, if the interviewer said, "I'm not sure you have the project management experience we're looking for," it provides an excellent opportunity to describe a specific example of one's relevant experience.

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    I disagree that the third question is one you should ask during an interview. Asking a yes or no question could show a lack of forethought before following that line of inquiry. The HR manager could simply answer the question "yes" or "no" and then move onto the next question. Due to privacy laws, HR doesn't have to open up about a previous employee. Perhaps the best way to find out about your predecessor is by asking his former co-workers rather than your interviewers.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jacob there is no right number of questions to ask during or at the end of an interview. You want to ask questions that you really care about - not just pick something at random. Really listen to the answer, too, because it might bring up more questions. I have found that, many times, my questions are answered during the interview. In that case I will just simply say that I don't have any questions at the moment but could I contact the interviewer should I have any questions after I leave. This kind of allows that two way communication to remain intact. Doesn't mean that I will be the one to get the position but I at least know that they have considered me.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    These are some great sample questions with which to be prepared at an interview. Is there a 'right' number of questions to ask in an interview? Or in a similar vein, is it better to hold your questions to the end to respond to the interviewer asking for questions, rather than asking questions throughout the interview process?


    I love the question about whether the interviewer has any concerns with the applicants resume. This allows the applicant the opportunity to explains any anomalies or gap in work or education history. On my resume, there was a period of time when I was finished with undergrad and taking requisite nursing courses that may have seemed like a gap to employers. It was nice when I had the chance to explain this.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Lydia, personally speaking, I have asked the question. I feel that my time is just as valuable as the company's and I don't want to waste the time or energy in waiting for a call that is never going to come because I was not qualified. True they have probably already checked up on me but you know that we can't include everything on our resume so maybe there was something that I left off that would be valuable at this time. For instance, maybe I left off a particular computer program that I am adept at but didn't think that it was needed on my resume when I initially applied. So sometimes that question can open up a whole new avenue. I could have a skill set that they need for another position within the company but, if I hadn't asked, I never would have known. @Shannon training opportunities certainly are important when weighing out a decision about a company. Sadly, training opportunities are few and far between in most companies today. Hopefully that will change as our economy continues to recover. As for the questions at the end, if you don't have any by that time, you don't have any. But always leave the door open by asking if you may contact them should questions come to mind after you leave. And, as always, send a handwritten thank you note immediately after the interview.

  • Lydia K.
    Lydia K.

    I think asking question #9 could be opening a can of worms. Has anyone asked this and received useful feedback? In today's job market, interviewers may be screening for a variety of organizational factors that go beyond background and qualifications. This means you might have the perfect background and qualifications and still not make the final cut. I can't see many interviewers admitting to this. Maybe questions 1, 3 and 5 are alternative ways to get to the same information.

  • Lorri Cotton
    Lorri Cotton

    I really had never thought of this before. Maybe, now I can see where neglecting to ask good questions might have been the deciding factor in whether I got the job or not. There were a few times when I thought I nailed the interview and had chemistry with the interviewer, but never heard back.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    I definitely agree that asking about training opportunities is very telling. Companies must provide employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed. I have always found that a company focused on training is much more invested in the growth and developments of their employees versus being solely focused on numbers or profits.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I understand the importance of asking questions during an interview, but I don't always think the emphasis is in the right place. I think it is important to ask questions to show that you are interested and engaged, but I don't think a person should expect to get much out of the answers. For example, asking the interviewer what they like about working for the company is a great question to show that you want to know more about the company. The interviewer more than likely has a rather prepared response, and you aren't going to learn much in many cases. Certainly ask questions, but don't put too much stock into the answers you get back.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Erin as long as you keep your questions professional you should be okay. Do not discuss salary unless the interviewer brings it up. Don't ask about any benefits, either. Honestly, showing an interest in why the interviewer likes the company is a good thing. It means that you are serious about wanting to work for them as long as the interviewer doesn't respond in a negative manner.

  • Erin Jean
    Erin Jean

    Is there anything that you should absolutely never ask? General subjects or phrasing that is inadvisable? I like to hope I wouldn't be that unable to read an interviewer, but it seems like there might be unknown factors worth knowing.

Jobs to Watch