Published: Oct. 19, 2022

group of people meeting

Job interviewing is a skill, and most of us get better at it the more we practice. That said, even those with experience often miss the opportunity to answer the most important question of an interview: “What questions do you have for us?” 

Whether it’s lack of preparation or a desire to finish the interview quickly, many people answer this with, “No, I don’t have any questions.” However, asking some thoughtful questions demonstrates your interest in the position, your enthusiasm, and the fact that you were prepared for the interview. Here are some tips to help you prepare a few questions before your next interview. 

Do research

Before any interview, it’s helpful to do research on the company. Review their website or company blog to learn about their values and recent news, and check their social media accounts to see what they’re sharing. Search articles written about the company, the major players and the projects they are involved in. This “deep dive” research helps with two things: 

  • It can help you feel more prepared to talk about how your experiences and skills relate to the role and can benefit the company.

  • It can also help you come up with questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

As you research, think of questions you could ask that help highlight the fact that you conducted “deep dive” research on the company. When you ask these types of questions, you are showing you have done your homework, and you’re enthusiastic and engaged with what’s happening at the organization. It can also help you make small talk prior to the interview. For example, you may ask about a new project that was just announced on the company’s LinkedIn page while you get settled in the office.

Use personal language

As you make your list of questions to ask in the interview, write them using personal language. Instead of asking “What is a typical day like at the office?” you could say “What would a typical day look like for me in this role?” This invites the hiring manager to begin seeing you in the role and allows you to show your understanding of the needs of the role. 

Mix up your questions

Based on your research, compile a variety of questions about the position, the team, the company, the work culture and other things you want to know more about. Also—any time you can get the interviewer to talk about themselves or tell personal stories, the stronger the interview will be.

Most professionals enjoy sharing their career journey. Demonstrate that you value the interviewer and their opinion by asking about their work. If you know your interview will be in different phases or with different people, consider questions that could be specific to those individuals or roles in the company.

Here are some examples of questions to help you get started:

Questions about the position

  • What would success look like for me in this position? How is it measured and evaluated?

  • What type of training would I need for this position? And what is the onboarding process like?

  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?

  • How can I contribute to [project the company is currently working on]?

Questions like these invite the hiring manager to begin seeing you in the role and allow you to show your understanding of their needs. 

Questions about the company

  • What would you say are the top values of the company?

  • What type of people tend to thrive in this company?

  • How has the company changed over the last few years?

Show a potential employer your enthusiasm for working at their company and that you are a savvy candidate.

Questions about the interviewer and team

  • How does the team I would be part of continue to grow professionally?

  • What do you enjoy about working here?

  • What advice would you have for a new person in this position?

  • How is the feedback process structured?

An interviewer is looking to bring on a new team member they are going to enjoy working with. Your thought-provoking questions invite them to reflect on their organization and think deeply about things they may not have considered in a while, and make you more interesting.

Put together a closing statement

A strong closing statement expresses your interest in working for the organization and gives a last impression with the interviewer. Remind the interviewer of your skills and qualifications, ask if they need any other information from you and ask about the next steps in the process. 

Remember that interviewing goes both ways. The interviewer is assessing whether or not you’ll be a good fit, and you should be considering the same. Take advantage of the point in the interview where you can control the conversation. Use this time to ask unique and thoughtful questions and learn what you need to know to make the right decision for you.

For more tips, check out free weekly workshops offered by Career Services. Workshop topics include interview prep, job market trends, tips and tricks to find an internship and more.