Top Interview Questions for You to Ask and Which Ones to Avoid

By University Staff

Top Interview Questions for You to Ask and Which Ones to Avoid

Toward the end of an interview, the employer will ask, “Do you have any questions?” Always be prepared to ask questions. It shows the employer that you have conducted your own research and that you have sincere interest in the specific position. There are also specific interview questions one should avoid asking as they may impede the interview process. Both sets of questions will be covered so that you can make sure you are equipped with the proper information before going into your interview.

Questions to Ask During Your Interview

There are several questions you can ask that show the employer you’re a serious candidate:

  • What does a typical day look like?
  • Can you tell me how I will train for this role?
  • What are some of the biggest rewards and challenges associated with this position?
  • If I am chosen for this position, how will I be evaluated? What will be our measurements for success?

You can ask for more information about company culture. Consider exploring what opportunities for engagement, support, and professional growth exist within:

  • How do you engage your employees?
  • How do you provide for professional development?
  • What goals are you focused on?
  • How would you describe the work environment here?

You might also establish rapport with your potential manager and evaluate how your relationship might work:

  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • What does your team like to do for fun?
  • How do you see the department changing in the next year?

Lastly, you can determine how to prepare for the rest of the hiring process. Ask, “What are the next steps?”

What Questions Not to Ask in an Interview

Now that you have a good idea on what questions you should ask, it’s just as important to be aware of the questions that you should not ask in an interview. There are certain interview questions you should not ask until you are offered the job, because bringing them up may impede the interview. Here are some of those off-limits interview questions.

1. What is this position about?

Asking this question conveys that you have not researched the position. Many job seekers apply to multiple job postings within a day, so it is possible to lose insight to some of the jobs. Nonetheless, once you are called for an interview, it is important to do your homework. Thoroughly read the job description and review the company's website to see if there is additional information you can learn about the position. On the contrary, it is appropriate to ask questions to clarify your understanding of the position. For example, if you have a question about something in the job description, you could pose the question as, "I saw in the job description that you are looking for someone who can work in a fast-paced environment. Can you tell me what it is like to work in this office?" This question shows you have done your research, yet you would like examples of the position's qualifications. Walk confidently into the interview knowing that you have done your due diligence.

2. What is the salary of this position?

Every person wants to know the salary or hourly wage of the position for which they are interviewing. However, the salary or hourly wage is not the basis of the interview. Keep in mind that you have an opportunity to express how much you can contribute to the organization. Asking a question about salary during the interview can change the pace of the interview and unfortunately may change the interviewer's impression of you. In addition, it shows that you are more interested in the pay rather than the job itself. Employers want to know you are genuinely interested in the opportunity. Patiently wait until the conclusion of the interview process to see if you are offered the job, and if you are, then talk salary.

3. Does the company offer benefits?

Are you choosing a career because of the benefits? If so, you may want to rethink your job search strategy. In relation to the question about salary, asking such a question takes away from the essence of the interview. Yes, benefits are a great selling point, and it does wheel in applicants for a job opportunity, but it does not make or break the job opportunity for individuals that desire the position. Allow the employer to bring up any incentive or benefit packages, such as medical insurance or worker’s compensation, then you will have room to ask questions.

4. When are employees eligible to take vacation days?

This question gives the impression that the perks of the position, such as vacation days, has precedence over the position itself. Hold off from asking a question that is connected to employee benefits until you are offered the job. If you have a future engagement that may intervene with the projected start date of the job, do not suggest that you may need a day off during the interview. This tactic reveals a preconceived notion that you already have the job. Have a plan B and make sure your commitment does not overlap if you happen to get offered the job, but focus on your priorities first. Land the job, and then talk logistics with your manager.

5. Did I get the job?

No matter how sure you are of your interviewing skills, abstain from asking this question at the end of an interview. An interviewee may ask this question out of excitement, but it could make the interviewer uncomfortable, as if you are putting them on the spot to make an instant decision, which in turn could suggest that you are overly eager and impatient. Be mindful that your interview is just a portion of the hiring process. The interviewer may still have other candidates to interview; in addition, the interviewer may not make the final decision. Thus, they will need time to process the interviews. In all, remain composed and exit the interview with a positive lasting impression.

As an interviewee, you may wonder, "Is this job a good fit for me?" So, it is only natural to want to ask questions that can affect your happiness and standard of living. But a key component to a successful interview is to ask the right questions. The saying, "There is a right time and right place for everything," also applies to this process. It is important to ask questions during the interview that are most pertinent to the position. However, once you are offered the job, you have the opportunity to ask the questions above, so you can make an informed decision as to whether it is the right job for you.

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