The Key To Asking Interview Questions

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

Deciding which questions you are going to ask before the interview even starts might feel premature, but is actually a vital part of the interview process! The questions you ask during an interview carry a lot more weight than you might think, and should absolutely be taken seriously.

Why it’s so important for you to ask questions

If you ask intelligent and quality questions, it demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in working with the company and people. You want to show that you are engaged, and fully understand the role and job functions.

When you should ask questions

Though it might seem self-explanatory, you should wait to ask your questions until your interviewers open up an opportunity to do so. This usually occurs at the end of the interview.

What questions are best to ask

The sample questions from Glassdoor and BigInterview are great starting points. While the generic questions are good, try and frame your questions so they are unique and specific to the job you are interviewing for.

Here are some of my favorite questions to ask at the end of an interview:

  1. What kind of training and/or coacheship do you provide?
  2. What does communication look like between our positions?
  3. Three months from now, what would make this hire a success?
  4. What is your method of supervision?
  5. Can you please describe the culture in the workplace?
  6. What future growth do you anticipate in the department within the next five years?
  7. What does an average day look like for someone in this role?

Be prepared when asking interview questions

Be prepared with what to ask who, and have different questions for different individuals ready. Keep in mind that you are interviewing them as well! In order to ensure a job is the right fit, asking the right question is key.

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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 4 Minutes

There’s a lot to think about when you are preparing for an interview… What are they going to ask? What can I do to feel more confident? What am I going to wear?

Deciding which questions you are going to ask before the interview even starts might feel premature, but is actually a vital part of the interview process! The questions you ask during an interview carry a lot more weight than you might think, and should absolutely be taken seriously.

This article will cover the following regarding the questions you ask during an interview.

  • Why it’s so important for you to ask questions
  • When you should ask questions
  • What questions are best to ask

The “Why”

Why do I need to prepare questions when they are the ones interviewing me?

The interviewers are reviewing a wide variety of factors during your conversation: the quality of your answers, your overall personality, even how you vibe with the rest of the employees.

As a whole, your entire interview paints a picture of you.

If you ask intelligent and quality questions, it demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in working with the company and people. Your interviewers will be impressed that you spent the time and did the research in drafting good questions, and it really can seal the deal!

If you do not come with questions prepared, it might give off the impression that you are not that serious about the job. You want to show that you are engaged, and fully understand the role and job functions. Just like when you are chatting with a friend or family member, asking questions shows interest and investment in the conversation.

The “When”

Though it might seem self-explanatory, you should wait to ask your questions until your interviewers open up an opportunity to do so. This usually occurs at the end of the interview when they have concluded asking you everything they planned on. If you come up with new questions while your interview is still happening, write them down in your notes and wait to ask until it’s appropriate to do so. Try not to interject with your questions unless they explicitly give you permission to do so.

The “What”

Ok, so what kinds of questions should I ask?

If you Google sample interview questions to ask your interviewer, you will get lots of results. The sample questions from Glassdoor and BigInterview are great starting points. While the generic questions are good, try and frame your questions so they are unique and specific to the job you are interviewing for. Keep in mind that what you ask and how you ask is important!

Sometimes, the questions that you prepared in advance end up getting answered during the interview. Therefore, it is important that you 1) have back up questions prepared, and 2) are listening intently throughout the entire interview so you do not ask a question that has already been explained.

If you need clarification on something, then ask away! However, just be aware of phrasing the question in a manner that seeks further explanation rather than simply asking something that has already been addressed.

Here are some of my favorite questions to ask at the end of an interview:

  1. What kind of training and/or coacheship do you provide?
  2. What does communication look like between our positions?
  3. Three months from now, what would make this hire a success?
  4. What is your method of supervision?
  5. Can you please describe the culture in the workplace?
  6. What future growth do you anticipate in the department within the next five years?
  7. What does an average day look like for someone in this role?

Be prepared when asking interview questions

Be prepared with what to ask, and have different questions for different individuals ready. You are not going to ask the same questions to the person who will be your direct supervisor that you would ask the CEO, for example. In the case where you do not know who will be interviewing you, just keep your questions applicable to the company but not specific to certain individuals.

Make sure your questions are written down, and rehearse them out loud as you are prepping for the interview. The more you practice in advance, the less likely you are going to trip over your words when it’s go time.

It goes both ways!

Keep in mind that you are interviewing them as well! Though a job might look great on paper, sometimes the office culture and values don’t vibe with yours. When this happens, oftentimes you don’t learn this until you are interviewing. In order to ensure a job is the right fit, asking the right question is key.

If you are offered this job, you are going to be spending A LOT of time with these people. If there’s a part of the job description that’s unclear, or if one of your interviewers mentions something that you want to be clarified, ASK! It’s better to understand your expectations upfront than to accept the job and start working only to realize it’s entirely not what you wanted. Inquiring about exactly what you’re getting into will benefit you in the long run.

Actionable Steps


1

Write down unique questions

Spend time doing research and thinking over your questions as you prepare for your interview. Don’t only use generic questions, try and frame them so they are unique and specific to the job you are interviewing for.

2

Be flexible

Be prepared with what to ask, and have different questions for different individuals ready. You are not necessarily going to ask the same questions to different people.

3

Rehearse

Make sure your questions are written down, and rehearse them out loud as you are prepping for the interview.

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About the Author


Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter

Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Alyssa holds an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. For the last 7 years, she has coached hundreds of college students on how to be successful academically and in prepping for a job.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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