Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

Smart Questions to Ask in a Job Interview


In a recent article by Rachel Weingarten she discusses the key questions to ask when you are in an interview. By asking good questions it helps you to determine if the job and company is right for you but also gives you the opportunity to stand out in your interview. Rachel gives 10 good questions to ask and show the employer why they should choose you.


Why did you join the company?

This question is given from Mark Phillips, who runs one of the largest recruiting networks in the U.S. Sanford Rose Associates. The answer to this question will show you how much the company has to offer. If the response given has to do with paid time off or benefits, that is a good indicator that there is not much more to the company than what you already know. However, if the response has to do with elements of the brand you are going to work for, then this could be a winner.


How does this role further your company’s mission?

Kelly Lavin is a CTO at Canvas, and she expresses that understanding why a role exists in a company is just as important as understanding the job duties. The answer to this question will help you get a better understanding of the company’s mission and give you a greater sense of purpose.


Tell me about your most successful employees. What do they do differently?

Kelly Lavin also thinks is a very important question to ask because you get two answers out of it. First, you will “understand how a company defines success” before you even start working there. Second, if you do end up working for this company you will already know the things you should be doing in your role to achieve success in the eyes of the company.


What do you expect someone in this position to accomplish in the first 60-90 days?

Anna Young is a Career Advisor at the University of Richmond. She believes that great candidates begin at full speed. The answer to this question will give you insight as to what you should be doing to be able to hit the ground running when you start your new position.


What, if anything, in my background gives you pause?

This question is Roberta Matuson’s, President of Matuson Consulting, must ask question in an interview. Knowing what the interviews objections are about you before you leave the room is an advantage to you. You now have the chance to offer more information to the interviewer and hopefully lower the hesitation they have about you.


What is the turnover in your company, in the executive suite and in the department, I am interviewing for?

People switch jobs much more frequently these days. With that said, this question is not about gaining an answer about the number of decades people stay in the company. Dave Arnold, President at Arnold Partners, thinks this is a must ask question because it tells you “how long you can expect to stick around if given the opportunity”. It would also be nice to know if the company has an extremely high turnover rate before you accept the offer.


What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?

Knowing the structure of a company you are going to potentially work for is very important.  Anna Young says that this question allows you to know “if there are opportunities to move up and advance your career” within this organization.


If you had a chance to interview for your company again (knowing what you know now), what questions would you ask next time?

Ashley White is the executive director for Human Resources for APQC and suggests this tough question because it is a sneaky question. This question often offers more insight from the hidden signals than the actual response you receive. It is very telling how the interviewer immediately reacts to this question, do they pause and look uncomfortable or do they smile?


What haven’t I asked that most candidates ask?

This is another question that Mark Phillips suggests an interviewee asks because it makes you stand out. You are not only showing immense confidence, but you are also grouping all the other people who interviewed into the same category. For your own sake, it also gives you a little insight into the people you are competing against.


What are the next steps in this process?

If the interviewer has not already shared this information with you at an earlier point of the interview, this is an important question to ask. Knowing the timeline is important so you don’t wait around your phone for days or weeks.