Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview

By Sarah Hildebrand

Photo by Social Cut on Unsplash

At the end of virtually every interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Your answer should always be a resounding “Yes!” Asking questions at the end of the interview both signals that you came prepared, having done research on the company before you got there, and can give you valuable insight into the position that might help you decide whether you should accept or decline a potential job offer.

What to Ask

What do you like most about working for this organization?

This question is good for two reasons. First of all, it capitalizes on the fact that most people enjoy talking about themselves. Asking them to talk about something they like about the job might leave them in a more positive mood after our interview. Secondly, their answer might be telling about the office culture and morale. Are they enthusiastic about what they do? Or do they hesitate and not give a straight answer?

Who would I be reporting to?

Sometimes this information is listed in the job ad, but not always. It’s worth finding out this information and doing some research (or, better yet, meeting the person) to see if your work styles mesh.

What would a typical day look like for someone in this role?

While you might be familiar with the basics of the position from the job ad, this information might not be complete. Asking this question gives your interviewer the opportunity to provide you with a more detailed description of what the role would entail.

Could you tell me more about the office culture?

This is information you usually can’t ascertain from a job ad or the company’s website. What is the experience of working at this company like?

What are the short- and long-term goals for the person in this position?

It’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into. What will the expectations of the position be over the first 6 months and what will they be over the next few years?

What kind of professional development opportunities are available at this company?

This question signals your desire to grow and learn while an employee. It’s also telling about any opportunities for advancement that might exist for this position.

What are the major challenges currently facing this organization? Or, what would be the most challenging aspects of this job?

These questions show an interest in what’s going on at the company and might also provide you the opportunity to suggest a way in which you could contribute to solving the problem. You can also glean more information about whether or not you’d enjoy working on those problems.

I noticed your organization has recently been in the news for _____. Could you tell me more about this project or if the person in this position would have the opportunity to work on that project?

This question shows that, in addition to closely reading the job ad and researching the company’s broader mission, you’ve also been keeping up with them in news. It signals a deeper interest in the company and you’re already aware of major projects they’re working on or challenges they’ve been facing.

I’m interested in how this position came about. Could you tell me what led to its creation?

If the position is new, it’s worth asking what the catalyst for its creation was. This might give you insight into what problems this position is expected to solve or the type of work that needs to be done.

How would you measure success for someone in this role?

Most job ads will list the tasks and responsibilities of the position, but it can sometimes be harder to assess what the concrete goals are that will be expected of the new hire. Asking this question may help you gain more information about expectations of the role, as well as what might be required in order to earn a raise or promotion later on.

What is your organization doing to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

This question will give you a clue as to whether or not a company is only paying lip service to issues of diversity. Do they answer with broad statements or with concrete examples?

What does the timeline look like for the rest of the hiring process?

Asking this question helps you know what to expect next and may relieve some of the stress of waiting to hear back. It also gives you a sense of when you should follow-up about the hiring process if you haven’t heard back. This is a good final question.

What Not to Ask

Questions about salary and benefits

Sometimes information about salary and benefits is listed transparently on the job ad. Even if it’s not, questions about these particular logistics should be saved until there’s an offer on the table, at which point you can work to negotiate terms. You don’t want your interviewer to walk away thinking you’re only interested in the job for the money (even if that’s true).

Questions whose answers could be found in the job ad or on the company’s website

Make sure your questions are thoughtful and couldn’t be answered with a quick Google search. Prove that you’ve carefully read the job ad and researched the company’s mission and current projects. While it’s okay to clarify aspects of the position to which you’re applying, you should demonstrate a strong understanding of the basics.