7 Smart Questions You Should Ask at the End of Every Job Interview

7 Smart Questions You Should Ask at the End of Every Job Interview
A candidate who asks me questions during her job interview is a candidate who gets my attention.
It shows me she’s doing her part to ensure we’re the right employer for her. After all, we want to choose someone who thinks we’re fun, or innovative, or environmentally friendly, or dog-friendly—whatever she already knows adds to her enjoyment of a job. And the only way for us to discover that is a two-way conversation. When you ask the right job interview questions, you're giving your potential employer proof that you're the candidate she needs. Can't go wrong with that.


1. Why is this position available?

With this question, you’ll learn whether the position is a new one or if you’re replacing someone else. A new position is a sign of growth and may spur other interesting lines of discussion. If you’re replacing someone, that conversation may give you hints about what will be required. If they say, “Sharon couldn’t work the hours we asked,” that could be a red flag if you’re a mom of two and can’t work much overtime.

2. What are the skills needed to master this job?

This question tells me the candidate is truly interested in seeing whether she has what it takes to do the job instead of simply bluffing her way through, should she not have the requisite skills. When I reply, she has a chance to show why her skills align with the position (making connections that may not be evident on the resume). And if she’s honest about lacking a certain skill, I like that integrity and have a chance to weigh that into my decision.

3. What’s the most important part of this role?

It’s similar to the skills question, but goes a little deeper into unquantifiable areas. It gives me a chance to say, for instance, “This position supports the sales staff, so a sense of humor in the midst of deadlines is a good thing.”

4. What are the prospects for growth in this job?

Someone who asks this is interested in furthering her career with us (vs. job hopping) and that’s someone I want on my team. It’s likely she will work hard in any situation or project she finds herself in as she moves up the ladder. When you ask this question, the response will let you know if this is an employer who is accustomed to helping employees further their career goals.

5. What do you enjoy most about working here?

This gives you a chance to direct the conversation to the interviewer (something most humans enjoy) and shows your interest in her opinions and in the company culture.

6. When are you looking to start the right candidate?

This spurs a discussion that helps us align expectations early so there are no startling surprises later. If you tell me you can’t start for two weeks because you want to give your current boss plenty of notice, I know you’re a person with ethical values similar to mine.

and try this BONUS JOB INTERVIEW QUESTION we bet you've never considered:

7. Can I have a quick tour of the office?

When I hear this question, I know the candidate is giving the position serious consideration and wants to see if the culture and workspace feel comfortable to her. If you ask the question and the employer says “no,” it may indicate: a) you’re not on the short list, b) this place is too busy, or c) they won’t prioritize your comfort now or in the future.

The next time you’re in an interview, go prepared with a few questions of your own. I promise it will impress the interviewer and show that you’re a well-prepared, articulate candidate!

Are there other questions you ask in interviews?