smart questions to ask during your next job interview

The end of your interview is quickly approaching. You know you aced it. The interviewer nodded along with several of your answers. You found out you had a mutual favourite sports team and bonded over that. You’re getting the vibe you’re definitely a shoo-in for the job. And then… the final question drops: “do you have any questions for me?” Crickets. Everything you wanted to know was covered during the interview.

Has this ever happened to you? If it has, don’t worry, it’s an easy fix that we can help you rectify! It’s always a good idea to have a stash of questions in your back pocket for this seemingly innocuous question. Many people prepare for all the tough interview questions about strengths and weaknesses and their past job experiences, but forget that they should also be asking questions to get to know their potential employer. Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to ask about the company you could be working for and show that you’re invested in the opportunity.

We’ve talked about what not to ask in a job interview, but looking in the opposite direction, here are some awesome questions you should absolutely ask.

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questions to ask in a job interview

1. how would you describe your ideal employee?

Every hiring manager has a different idea of what makes an excellent employee. So it’s never a bad idea to ask what they’re looking for. You might just gather something unexpected that isn’t in the job description. Just remember to agree and explain how you use those very same skills!

2. what can you tell me about the team?

If you’ve been around the workplace block you probably know that who you work with is as important as the work you do. Great coworkers can make an unbearable job bearable. So it’s always a good idea to get a feel for the team you’ll be joining before you accept the job.

3. how would you describe your management style?

Just like every employee is different, no two bosses are the same. This question requires your potential boss to be self-aware of their strengths and shortcomings, though they’ll likely focus on the good! Nonetheless, you can get some great insights about their work style and whether it meshes with yours.

4. what’s your favourite thing about working here?

No one knows the company better than the people who work there. Even if you’ve heard of the company and have done some research into what they’re all about, you’ll likely learn something. Also, it’s a fun, positive question. There’s almost no way for this question to go sour.

5. what does a typical day in this role look like?

Sometimes the job description may not clearly lay out how much time you’ll spend on various tasks, or even what exactly those tasks will be. This question will give you a better idea of what you’ll be doing on a daily basis, and how most of your time will be spent.

6. what’s the process for evaluating employees?

It’s nice to know that what metrics will be used to measure your success before you sign onto the job. It’ll help you get a feel for whether the job and its requirements fit with your preferred style of working. If there’s a mismatch it’s better to know now, rather than after you’ve been hired.

7. what’s one surprising thing about working here?

When you ask this question, your interviewer will most likely offer up something positive like an added perk that isn’t on the job description. Don’t be alarmed if your interviewer takes a moment to answer, thinking up something unexpected can be a challenge if they’re not expecting the question!

8. what would you say is the most important quality to have in this job?

It can be interesting to have your interviewer boil down the complexities of a job description into a single quality. It’ll help you focus on what’s most important, and reinforce that you have this quality that they’re looking for, hopefully with examples.

9. where do you see this company in 5 years?

It’s always nice to know what employees on the inside have to say about the company they’re working for. You’re looking for someone who is enthusiastic and positive about the future outlook of the company. If they’re guarded and don’t have anything nice to say, consider it a red flag.

10. what are some of the biggest challenges this department is facing right now?

This question allows you a chance to address how you can help solve some of the priority issues the company is currently facing. Just be careful not to insult the current team. You want to present yourself as a great addition to the existing team, not a savior who will parachute in and fix what they couldn’t.

11. what is a typical career path for someone in this role?

This is a great question to help you understand the potential for advancement at the company. If having a hierarchy to climb is important to you, this is a great way to ask without asking point-blank about promotions, which can seem presumptive when you haven’t been hired yet.

12. is this a new role, or will I be replacing someone?

This question will give you a feel for the history of this position and how you should approach the job if you’re hired. If the job is new, the opening was created for a reason. If you’re replacing someone, you’ll have to fill their shoes, whether you like it or not. It’s always nice to have that background.

13. how is [current industry trend] affecting your organization?

This question is a double whammy. It shows off your industry knowledge and at the same time expresses your interest in the company. Just be sure to ask about something insightful that’s a legitimate concern at the company (and that the answer is not obvious or public knowledge!)

14. do you have any doubts about me that I can address?

This question can seem a bit ballsy at first glance and that scares some job seekers, but it’s smart for one very good reason: either your interviewer admits you’re great, or you have a chance to refute any doubts they might have about why you’re the right fit for the role.

15. what are the next steps in the hiring process?

Asking about next steps is basic, but it’s a good way to cap off your interview because it shows that you’re interested and looking forward to the next steps. It also gives you a timeline, so you’ll know when you should hear from the recruiter next, and therefore when to follow up.

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Remember, the point of a job interview is to assess fit on both sides. Sure, the interviewer is getting to know you, but you should be getting to know them, too! Don’t waste the opportunity to dig in and get to know more about the company and the job that might soon be yours!

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