5 Questions You Should Ask at Every Job Interview

by Tisha Tolar on 20 May 2013 6 comments

When you go into a job interview, you likely have rehearsed what you're going to stay to the interviewer about your skills and experience. But then comes the part of the interview when your potential employer offers you the opportunity to ask questions. Many in the hot seat will often reply that they don't have any, even though their brain is rapid-firing plenty of unanswered questions.

The presented opportunity to learn more about a company hiring new employees is one that should not be wasted. You want to be sure you are pursuing vacancies that are actually worth going after. If a job or company is not right for you, you will end up wasting everyone’s time. If a job does sound like a good fit, you will want to be sure you have the right expectations if you do get hired.

Here are five great questions to bring up during a job interview. (See also: How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions)

How Often Does Your Current Staff Receive Promotions?

You should understand how committed a company is to promoting from within. Many employees take positions just to get a job but fail to find out what the advancement potential is in a company. If the employer has a lot of positive things to say about an employee’s ability to move up the ladder, you can ask more specific questions relevant to your own career path. If they are unable to provide you with information or try to avoid the question, you need to carefully consider whether the opportunity is right for you.

How Are Employees Compensated for a Job Well Done?

There are a wide variety of ways a company shows appreciation for loyal employees that exceed expectations. While financial rewards are always good, it is important to explore what else the company may provide outside of money. You want to identify businesses that do not acknowledge employee efforts, and asking such a question can give you a more in-depth look at how a company treats its staff.

Have You Ever Mentored an Employee to Help Achieve Their Career Goals?

If the interviewer is the person who will be your direct supervisor, you can learn a lot about their leadership characteristics through their answer to this question. There are many great leaders who are happy to help others get ahead and there are many in leadership positions just looking for a paycheck.

How Do You Promote Teamwork and Maintain a Motivated Environment?

If you are interviewing just to secure an income, you may not care to pose this question. However, if you are interviewing for a long-term career positions, you will want to check out the health of the work environment and understand things from the management’s perspective. You may also want to reach out after the interview to employees who already work for the company to see how their experience compares. If you get a positive review from management and a negative one from current employees, you may want to do more research into the realities of the work environment.

What Is the Process for Employee Reviews?

Career-focused individuals should want to know how they are doing periodically. Find out how employee reviews are done and if they are done on a regular basis. Some employers do not bother to communicate effectively with their staff, which can ultimately leave you dissatisfied and frustrated on the job in the near future.

While there are many more situation-specific questions to ask during an interview, you can use these starter questions to help you brainstorm. Ideally, you should take time to prepare your questions on paper in advance of your appointment day. As people tend to be nervous during the interview process, they forget their concerns and leave with too many unanswered questions.

A job interview should be much more than just finding out what the salary and benefits will be. If you plan to commit to a job, you should have a good understanding of the company policies and the right expectations about the kind of work environment you will be reporting to every day.

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Guest's picture

I was a hiring manager for many years. While these may be good questions, here are three I wish applicants would have asked.

1. What are this year's company objectives? What does this department do to support them and what part does this position play?
2. What problems is your department experiencing and what can I do, if hired, to help solve them?
3. What constitutes a good "fit" for the company and your department?

It's important to find out what's in it for you...but you should also try to find out how you can help the person hiring you. Just a thought!

Guest's picture
random dude

Good questions! I am gonna note this down ...

Guest's picture

Good points, Tisha. Other ones to add include asking why the position is open, expectations of the employees, and asking the personal background of the interviewer. In addition to your tips, these questions can show your interest in the job, as well as the organization.

Guest's picture
Guest

One I wish I'd asked: has my future boss been psychologically evaluated? Does he like human beings? :)

Guest's picture

These are some questions I would asked but I think the ones Ree Klein bring up are great ones as well. The one about the company objectives and the problems in the company get you a lot more valuable insight.

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Ryan

So much of the job interview has become scripted I think it is up to us as applicants to use any possibility we have to differentiate ourselves from the "herd" of applicants. The way we answer questions is good, but the free ability we have when we are allowed to ask questions can really show an employer what are thought process is. These days, employers want even entry level candidates to be creative, goal-oriented problem solvers. Our challenge is being able to get that across in an effective way in the short window we have. I love the suggestions.