An job interview is a two-way street.  You are there to demonstrate your qualifications, but you are also there to get more information.  So always be prepared to ask some questions in an interview, if time permits.  Most interviews are structured so that you can ask questions in the last 5 or 10 minutes.

Here are some rules of thumb of Do and Don’t + example questions to ask in an interview.

  • Do: ask questions in an interview that demonstrate you have done research on this company (relevant to recent news)
  • Do: ask questions  that illicit the interviewer’s personal advice or perspective (e.g., from your perspective, what does success look like in this role?  What will be this role’s biggest challenges?)
  • Do: ask questions to find out what concerns and reservations the interviewers may have about you.  (e.g.,  Is there anything about my qualifications or this interview that is of concern to you?)  This is a great way to hear about their reservations and address them before the interview ends
  • Don’t ask a million questions. Keep it structured.  2-4 questions are best depending on timing.
  • Don’t ask questions that you can easily get the answer for online
  • Don’t ask questions about salary and compensation, especially in the first interview (unless it’s indirect like how is high performance rewarded?)

Good luck out there!

– Lei

3 Thoughts on “Best Questions for a Job Seeker to Ask in an Interview

  1. Pingback: 15 Interview Preparation Tips

  2. Lei Han on March 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm said:

    Great comment. thanks for the addition.

    Lei

  3. Ajantha on March 20, 2011 at 10:31 am said:

    Good advice Lei!

    I’ll add a quick note to the Don’t section (based on experience from some recent interviews).
    Don’t: ask a question for the sake of asking, but refuse to pay attention to the interviewer’s response. It is quite easy to tell if candidate is already thinking about the next question to ask instead of understanding response to the question already asked.

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