When you’re preparing for a job interview, you have a lot of work to do. Although you already invested hours in the résumé and cover letter that landed you the interview, you still need to research the company, think about your appearance, plan your travel time, practice answering interview questions and more. That’s already a lot to think about, but we need to add something else to your list: Prepare questions for the interviewer.
It’s common practice for an interviewer to give you the chance to ask questions as the interview wraps up. Be prepared ahead of time or you risk damaging the good impression you tried so hard to make all during the meeting. When only 2 percent of applicants actually get an interview, you must make every minute count—including the wrap-up.
When you go into the interview prepared with questions to ask when it’s your turn, you convey your seriousness as a job candidate, your professionalism, and your genuine interest in the company and the job. In addition, the answers can help you decide if you really want the job—or not.
7 questions to ask after an interview
To help you prepare, we’ve made a list of some of the best interview questions to ask an employer at the end of the meeting. We’ve also included a few questions not to ask. Also note that if any of these questions have already been addressed during the interview, do not ask them because it will then seem as if you weren’t listening earlier!
1. Is this a new position or is someone leaving? Why are they leaving?
If it’s a new position, it will come with some unknowns and you want to know that up front. If someone is leaving or left, it might be useful for you to know why. If they were promoted, that’s a promising sign for you. If they left to take another job elsewhere, you might wonder why.
2. In what way does this role contribute to the team, and to the organization as a whole?
Knowing the dynamics you’d be walking into—if you got the job—will help you decide if it’s a good fit or not. Plus you’re showing the interviewer that you’re thinking this through and that you care about the bigger picture.
3. What will be the hardest part about starting in this position? What kind of support will the new hire have?
If it’s a brand-new role, you’ll want to know if you’ll be left to flounder and figure it out or if someone will be mentoring to you. Even if you’re stepping into an existing role, you want to know how much guidance you’ll get as you learn the job. As with question 2, it shows the interviewer that you’re giving the job opening serious consideration, even without getting an offer.
4. Does the company offer learning and development opportunities?
This might seem like a self-serving question on the surface, but it’s not. Asking this question indicates you’re thinking long-term and it shows your desire to grow in your skills and field, which can increase your contributions to the company. For you as the job seeker, you’ll learn what might be offered, because that will probably factor into your decision about whether or not you want to accept a job offer, should you get on.
5. How will you measure my performance, should you decide to hire me, and at what point?
It’s not a paranoid question, but a valid one. It shows you care about your performance and want to measure up. It’s also information you’ll want to know.
6. Does this job offer opportunities for advancement?
Asking this question shows the interviewer you’re thinking about the long term and might be more likely to stick around. And—as with the other questions on this list—you need to know the answer, so you can make an informed decision if they want to hire you.
7. What is your job like? How long have you worked here?
This is a nice opportunity to get the interviewer talking and possibly to let down his or her guard. It shows you’re interested in learning more about the person and company, and the answer will give you some insight into the company’s culture.
4 questions not to ask after an interview
Those seven questions described above are straightforward, and they are some of the best interview questions to ask the employer. But not every question is a good question and some you should avoid! In general, you want to avoid asking questions that indicate you’re not a serious candidate. Those questions include:
- Basic questions you should already know the answers to by doing your research ahead of time, such as what does the company do, when was it founded, are there other locations, etc.
- Questions about pay, vacation time, sick leave, parking, benefits, etc.—anything that makes it seem like you’re more interested in what you get than being a contributing member of the team
- Questions that make you seem untrustworthy, like asking if they check on employees’ Facebook accounts, do background checks or monitor emails
- Any questions that were already addressed during the interview, as per our advice above
Get ready to get hired
Looking for a new job can be stressful, but being prepared can lower that stress level and give you some sense of control. By making sure your résumé is of high quality, preparing to answer questions and make a good impression ahead of time, ensuring you’ve earned a certification to increase your credibility and skill level, you’re taking positive steps toward success. Knowing which questions to ask after an interview can help too. Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but you need to make a lasting impression too.