I’ve seen more bad advice given on the Internet about this one single topic than any other.
And everyday, job seekers write into me at Job Interview Tools and ask me this very question: “what are the best interview questions to ask employers?”
And I tell them …
It depends… and they’re like…no…no…no, really, which specific questions should I ask?
And I sigh.
Everyone seems to think there is one single set of questions to ask interviewers at the end of a job interview, but there isn’t – instead it’s a combination of formula and technique.
But job seekers seem to believe that if they ask a certain amount of questions or “these 11 questions” at the end of the interview then they will have fulfilled their requirements for this interview and now a job offer should be underway.
I hate to burst your bubble, but it does not work that way. Like I said, it’s a combination of a formula and a technique – your personal technique.
So what is the formula for determining which questions you should ask at the end of a job interview? Well, it’s not as complicated as you may believe.
You see, interviewers will determine your interest level in the position by the way you ask questions, the types of questions you ask, and your answers to their questions.
So how do you know which good interview questions to ask?
You simply ask questions that are important to you that will help you determine if this employer and the job they are offering is right for you and meets your needs. But job seekers seem to forget that interviews are not single-sided. Interviews are a conversation between you and an employer.
A job interview is not just an employer asking you questions and you coming up with the right answer – that’s only half. The other half is you asking them questions where you are engaging them to find out if they meet your needs for an employer. Maybe they come up with a wrong answer that you don’t like.
For example, what if you asked an employer how many hours make up a typical work week around here? And they said, the average work week was 60 hours, but because it’s a salaried position, we only pay you for 40 hours. Seems like a bad deal to me – and that might make me pass on this employer.
Because ultimately, I’m in control and I have the right to say no.
This is the part where most job seekers fail at job interviews because they don’t see themselves as having any control in the interview and they unknowingly give all that control to the interviewer. And why do they do that, you ask?
Because they are going into a job interview with the mindset that they need this job and will “say” whatever it takes to get the job. Meaning, they are looking for a cookie cutter approach to interviewing for a job and hope that by answering the interviewers questions the “right way” and asking the interviewer a few cookie cutter questions that everything will be okay.
Let’s go back to, “how do you know which questions to ask your interviewer?”
You ask questions that will help guide you in determining whether you want to work for this employer or not. So which questions are those? Well, those depend on you.
Here is a sample list of questions you might consider asking your interviewer. But only use this list as a guide to help you formulate your own personal list of questions to ask while on a job interview.
11 Good Interview Questions to ask on a job interview:
1. Can you tell me what a typical week is like here?
By asking this question it shows that you are envisioning yourself in the position and your interviewer will take notice of this. Employers like to hear questions like this and even more, they generally enjoy answering this question.
2. Can you give me a 6 month outlook on this position and where you see it going?
When you ask this question, it shows the employer that you are thinking in the future and again envisioning yourself doing this job and that you are concerned of the overall direction of this job.
3. What metrics will you use to determine how successful the person in this position is?
Again, this is a forward thinking question to ask and lets you know how the employer will measure the overall success of the person in this position.
You may not agree with how they measure success and this could be a sticking point for you – in which case their answer may sway your decision to consider them as an employer.
4. Is this a new position or are you filling an existing position?
I really like to know the answer to this question because if it’s a new position, I might change my tactics and give them some unique ideas for the position and how I think it should be handled.
If it’s a replacement, then I will poke and prod a bit to find out why the other guy did not work out or why he/she left. All good info I can use to sharpen my blade to improve my candidacy.
5. You can consider asking what the corporate culture is like, but only do so if it is something you need to know. But really, is the answer to that question going to influence your decision to work there?
Maybe, maybe not. But I highly doubt the interviewer is going to say anything negative and admit it’s a hostile work environment where the company treats everyone like crap. You’re likely to hear good things.
Remember, they are selling the job and their company to you because they want someone like you work there. They are not going to say it sucks to work there no matter what.
Six more good job interview questions to ask employers:
6. Here’s an interview question NOT to ask: How would you describe your management style? And I say NOT to ask because this seems more like a question they should be asking you if you were interviewing for a management job. Remember what I said before?
Only ask questions that will help you determine if this company is right for you. Is the answer to this question really going to affect your decision to work there? Probably not. Maybe…but I doubt it.
7. Any meaningful question you can think of about one of their competitors. Like, did you hear that XYZ company just came out with the new model FZ 1000 – how do you think that compares to your PR 250? This question will likely put them on the defensive and they’ll be going to bat to defend their products and sway you over to their side.
It’s more of a tactic than a question because it gets them trying to sell you on their company, and if your interview was going down hill – asking this question would put them on the defensive and you on the offense and it could potentially turn things around for you.
8. Based on what you have seen from me today, do you think I would be a good fit into your organization? This is an awesome question to ask because it gives you the chance to overcome any objections they might have about you.
9. How soon do you plan on starting someone in this position?
This is another great question to ask because it will prepare you for what to expect. Plus they might reveal some extra information about the job and the company with you that they might not have otherwise revealed.
10. Do you mind if I follow up with you in a couple of weeks?
This question is tied to number 9. In number 9, if they say we plan to bring someone on board in about a month, then you ask, “do you mind if I follow up and give you a call in two week.” Now you have their permission to call them for a follow-up call – something your competition does not have.
11. When can I expect to hear back from you?
This question is tied in with 9 and 10 and depending on the answers they give you, you may or may not want to ask this question.
There you have it. All the myths have been dispelled and now you know exactly how to determine which questions you should ask on a job interview. You have my simple formula plus a list of “10 potential interview questions to ask an employer” on a job interview and one question not to ask.