To Ask or Not to Ask Questions in the Interview

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Jill Klees

Q: I am preparing for an interview and I read somewhere that I should ask questions and that if I don’t it shows that I am not interested in the job. What questions should I ask?

A: You absolutely want to have questions prepared ahead of time to ask at the end of the interview. It is common for the interviewer to turn the tables and ask you what questions you have for them. Having questions ready to go demonstrates that you have put thought into this position, that you are interested, engaged, and prepared. Not asking questions sends a negative message to the employer that you’re not very interested in the job or you just haven’t thought much about it.

Interviewers appreciate questions that demonstrate you’re interested in the work itself, the details of the job, and the culture of the department and the organization in which you’ll work. I recommend writing your questions down and keeping them in a professional folder during the interview. When it is time to ask your questions, you can open your folder and be ready to go.

Here are some of my favorites to ask. You won’t have time to ask all of these so you will have to pick which questions are most important to you.

  • What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face?
  • How does this position fit into the organizational structure?
  • Describe a typical day or week in the position.
  • Describe some projects or assignments this person would work on.
  • What would a successful first year in the position look like?
  • How will the success of the person in this position be measured?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • Where did the person who held this position go?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What is your timeline in making a hiring decision and getting back to applicants?

Happy interviewing!

Please post your questions about interviewing or send me an email at jill.klees@sjsu.edu

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