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Top Questions to Ask in an Interview

Last updated by Utkarsh Sahu on Apr 01, 2024 at 01:15 PM | Reading time: 25 minutes

"As the series of questions came to a halt, and the interview had almost reached its end, Cathy was surprised at how well and smoothly everything proceeded. The interviewers seemed to have been impressed with her confident yet calm personality. Not to mention, her delivery and eloquence while answering their questions also left quite an impression. However, when it came to the point where they wanted to know if Cathy had any questions for them, she seemed flustered."

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. Why should you ask questions in an interview?
  2. Questions that you can ask when applying for a job position
  3. Questions associated with training and professional development
  4. Trivia
  5. Questions regarding the performance of employees within the organization
  6. Questions regarding the organization you are applying to
  7. Question related to colleagues or team members
  8. Questions regarding organization's work culture
  9. Questions that you ask in the next segment of your interview
  10. Do not ask these questions

Like Cathy, many applicants forget that it doesn't just mean to be bombarded with tricky and technical questions when appearing for an interview. Any interview that you attend is more like a discussion.

"A job interview isn't the test of your knowledge but your ability to use it at the right time" – Anonymous.

While the organization holds the right to assess your experience, knowledge, and expertise, so do you. If you manage to get through the interview, your position in the company will impact your career.

That is why you mustn't lose sight of the specific questions you need to ask if you wish to determine whether the company you are applying to will help you pave your path to success.    

However, while brainstorming regarding your interview, you may encounter the dilemma of appropriate questions to ask an interviewer. You do have the freedom to ask any question that will impact your decision to join this company. However, are you sure you are asking all the right questions?

Keep reading to find out about the questions to ask in an interview that will help you determine more about the job position available.

Here we go!

Why should you ask questions in an interview?

While a job offer and the description that it comes with may seem attractive, and at times, like the dream job you were hoping for, there is no harm in speculating it. Every candidate comes with a single wish, and that is to ensure a successful career ahead.

“Your success and happiness lie in you” – Helen Keller

This is why, when making such serious decisions about one's career life, there are questions to ask an interviewer before you go for it. It also allows the hiring manager to comprehend that you possess the proper professional capabilities to understand what you require from a job. It also portrays that you possess enough interest to gather more information about the available position and the company.

Questions that you can ask when applying for a job position

  • What can I expect from a typical day?

Asking directly about the work culture within the organization may not be a very professional approach. That is why, instead of opting for direct questions to ask an interviewer, something in the lines of this can help you comprehend exactly how the organization functions daily.

  • What is the recent project that the organization is working on?

To understand the development and growth pattern of a company, questions to ask an interviewer about their recent project allows you to know their goals and aspirations. It also helps to comprehend whether the company is willing to risk their aspirations or have adopted a laid back attitude.

  • Can you elaborate on any project I will be integrated into?

To grasp your responsibilities under this job position, asking them directly about it may be perceived as unprofessional. So, your solution?

Ask an indirect question that provides you with the answer you expect while your interviewer isn't seen as too crude.

  • What, according to you, can be described as an ideal candidate for this job?

While it is expected that you are curious about what your employer expects of you, however asking a direct question is a bit too straightforward. So how can you find out about their expectations without imposing too much? Simple, opt for questions to ask an interviewer about how they would describe an ideal candidate. This description may allow you to comprehend what it is that they expect of you.

  • To be successful in this job position, what are some of the attributes that one must possess?

While your employer has a certain expectation, it is your goal to exceed that. However, comprehending what is it that you need to do, if you wish to be successful, can be difficult. That is why, before you opt for a job position, understand the goals and responsibilities you should be willing to take if you wish to develop along with your organization.

  • What type of expertise do you think your current team is missing?

There are a number of skills that the employer wishes to see in a potential candidate; however, there must be something specific that they want their newest addition to bring to the team. It can be soft skills such as leadership, integrity, will power, or it can be hard skills such as technical knowledge or analytical thinking.

  • What do you think will be my biggest challenge while working in this job position?

You know your responsibilities, you are aware of what you need to do to succeed; however, are you aware of your challenges. Knowing the hurdles that you must pass to successfully establish yourself in this position is quite integral. So, when going for questions to ask an interviewer, slip in this one as well.

  • Can you specify the budget I will be working with?  

A few years ago, any developer or designer asking this question would be considered too rude and upfront. However, these days, candidates are most welcome to ask such questions and deserve a clear answer. Ensure to go for questions to ask an interviewer that will allow you to know more about any specification they desire in an employee working under this title. You will be able to comprehend your responsibilities as well as how much the company is willing to invest.  

  • Is this job position relatively new, or has it been there for a while now?

Companies, at times, may create new titles and set up interviews to fill up those positions. In such cases, comprehend the duration for which this opening exists. It will offer you a proper idea of why the position was created and its responsibilities. You will also be able to understand the expectations that the organization holds for anyone hired under this position.

  • Do you think there will be any alteration in the responsibilities under this position in the next six months?

While change is acceptable, no candidate prefers a sudden alteration in responsibilities. With the growth of a company, the priorities of a particular job position may also change. Which is why, before you land yourself in an unexpected dilemma, go for questions to ask an interviewer that will allow you to understand whether such alterations may happen in the future or not.

Questions associated with training and professional development

  • What kind of training will I be taking to be integrated?

As Sam was being integrated into the company's mandatory training program, he had agreed to all their terms but failed to question them back in regards to what he was training for. As his trainee days commenced, Sam often found it too much of a waste of time. He already possessed substantial knowledge in these departments.

This is why you must comprehend the importance of questions to ask an interviewer.

Remember this as a crucial piece of career advice for the rest of your life.

Be it for a direct job opening or through any mandatory training, always ask questions in regards to where you will be integrated and what is it that you will be doing under this title. In case you are entering into training, find out more about what kind of training you will be taking. What is it that you will be learning during this time?


  • What are the different training programs that employees may choose?

If you are integrated into the company's training program, try finding out what kind of expertise and knowledge you will be gaining during this period. Also, try opting for questions to ask an interviewer regarding any other training program that the company plans to provide to its employees. This will also allow your interviewer to comprehend that you hold an interest in learning and imparting knowledge.

  • Will I be provided with an opportunity for professional advancement or development?

What is the main purpose of training? Yes! You do learn something new; however, your main purpose is to grow and develop your expertise, which is why there is no harm in asking your hiring manager questions regarding whether their training programs allow professional advancement. After all, to ensure success, you must commit yourself to it.

  • Would I be allowed to represent the company during international presentations?

When integrated into company training programs, it is pretty much presumably that the organization probably expects you to develop certain knowledge or expertise that you lack. However, during this time, the company may not offer you the same responsibilities as someone with a proper job title.

This is why these questions to ask an interviewer will enable you to comprehend the responsibilities that you will be undertaking while training. You will also be made aware of the opportunities you are opening yourself to by taking this training.

  • How did the last person who held this job develop himself/herself?

Knowing how your current job is supposed to help is integral to progress in your road to success. While the interviewers may not answer how you can develop, they may be able to answer how the last person developed. Their story of growth may help you comprehend whether you should be taking this training or not.

  • What kind of success did previous employees move on to pursue after working their way through this job title?

You don't know anything about this job title or what you can accomplish by taking this offer. Hence, to develop a firm perception, ask questions. If you are informed about the success of previous employees, you will get a better idea of how you can grow.


4 Tips to keep in mind while asking questions during an interview

  • Avoid sounding lazy
  • Leave your overconfidence at home
  • Tone down your voice
  • Look at your interviewer

Questions regarding the performance of employees within the organization

  • What do you expect your employees to achieve in the first 30, 60, or 90 days of joining?

When your potential employer hires you to a position, they obviously don't expect someone to sit around staring at the wall all day. So, how do you comprehend their expectation related to your performance? Well, it is like they say, when in doubt, always ask. Complement their questions by inquiring about their expectation from any employee.

Keep reading to find out more about questions to ask an interviewer.

  • How much do you want your employees to accomplish in their first year in your organization?

Sam decided to ask a question similar to this one. The interviewer, who was a bit taken aback by it, proceeded to explain their expectations from project managers. He ensured that although fulfilling the daily responsibilities were enough, within the first 12 months, they wished for any employee with this job title to develop a healthy relationship with their teammates. They should be able to progress without a hitch, given the training and experience they have had within this time. Also, they need to evolve to become role models for other teammates.

Like Sam, if you go for these questions to ask an interviewer, you can expect a helpful answer.

  • What kind of performance review procedure is adhered to here?

As you keep questioning your interviewer regarding your doubts, try enquiring about how they review employees. Their answer may help you work on some of the suggested points. This will assist in your development not only as an employee but also as a person.

Questions regarding the organization you are applying to

  • While I have already read about the company on your website, I wish to learn more about it. Can you please provide me an in-depth snapshot?

You see, at times, the company may not list every little detail about the organization on the internet. So, if you wish to learn more, try consulting the hiring manager and ask them these pertinent questions. They will be able to relay to you more detailed information than the organization's website or any other online medium.

  • Where do you see this company in the next few years?

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? You may have encountered these questions to ask an interviewer during an interview quite a few times. Like an interviewer, you also hold the right to ask these questions as well. Find out more about the aspirations held by the company and how they wish to develop so as to prepare yourself to assist them in their venture.

  • Can you tell a little about your new project or product?

You cannot grill an interviewer; however, you cannot choose to skip integral questions either. You need to find out why this job title will fit your career path and will allow you to grow. Try finding out a little about their recent projects so that you can comprehend the kind of work the company dedicates itself towards.

  • Please explain a little about the company's recent goals and how they plan to achieve it with their current team?

While this question can be viewed as one that is a bit too forward, however, to make a decision like your interviewer, a few trick questions won't hurt your image. Also, it helps your hiring manager understand that you hold the professional knowledge to ask these questions to ask in an interview. Find out more about what it is that the company wishes to achieve and how they plan to achieve it. Is the current team efficient, and how will you match up to them or even exceed all of these expectations to take your company to greater heights?

  • What excites you most about your company's future?

Every existing employee in a company is working toward helping the company achieve its primary objectives. That includes your hiring managers as well. That is why; find out whether the existent employees possess a certain zeal for achieving goals and skyrocketing to success. If they seem too disinterested about it, then choose to attempt other companies as organizations lacking prowess is a company that is just not worth the try.

Question related to colleagues or team members

  • Please tell me a little about the team I will be working with?

Your colleagues will help you pave your way past hurdles to success. Working with teammates who possess the same zeal to achieve success as you will keep you motivated. While your hiring manager may not offer you an answer to whether they are enthusiastic, they will inform you about their abilities and capabilities. So, listen intently; they might be able to assist you in your progress to excellence.

  • Who will I be working with mostly?

When working in a particular company, you will be assigned a particular department, so listen intently to find out who it is that you will be working with when they answer these questions to ask in an interview. Once they inform you, find out more about what this person is like and how they perceive work. Detailed analysis of this person will help you comprehend how they work. This will allow you to create a proper work relationship with them that might even lead to powerful collaborations in the future.

  • Who shall I be reporting to?

There will be a particular superior you will be assigned under. Try finding out more about them. The more information you gather through these questions to ask in an interview, the more chance you have to develop a healthy relationship with this person.

  • So, can you tell me a little about the team that will be reporting to me? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

When you are working with a team, you are collaborating with people who possess opinions, ideas, and goals quite different from you. So prepare yourself for some conflict of interest. To avoid that a little, you can try finding out more about them in the beginning. This will save you a whole lot of time later.

  • Will you be hiring more people in this department in the next six months?

Generic candidate interview questions such as this allow you to comprehend the employee turnover rate of the firm. It will assist you in understanding the number of people that the organization plans to hire within a month or year. Also, you will be able to establish an evaluation of the number of employees working under this organization.

Questions regarding organization's work culture

  • What kind of workplace discipline is adhered to here?

While Cathy was excited to score this interview, she was a bit skeptical about the existing work culture. Previously, she had encountered the problem of working in a disorienting environment. This impacted not only her performance but also her mental health. This is why, to be sure that she was signing up for the right deal, Cathy decided to ask a question in regards to work culture; however, her dilemma was she didn't want to sound rude.

If you are facing a problem such as Cathy, try asking candidate interview questions such as this one. It will help you comprehend the kind of culture that exists in the workplace and how they manage to get their tasks done on time.  

  • What is the work environment here like? Is it all about "each person for themselves" or "power lies in unity?"

You may believe that you can get a lot more done when working solo; however, your company may have other plans. To ensure efficiency, the company, at times, may require you to collaborate with other colleagues or even clients for a particular project. So to be sure if such arrangements exist, it is always better to opt for questions to ask in an interview for a candidate.

  • What is that one office tradition that you love?

As an applicant, creating a lasting impression with your interviewer is necessary, which is why instead of asking direct questions, you can ask them about their favorite office tradition. I will allow you to decipher the existing work culture with ease.

  • Do you and your team members have lunch together?

To comprehend as to whether teammates get along with one another, asking them candidate interview questions as direct as "Do you get along with other employees?" maybe a little rude. That is why, in such cases, you can resort to questions as simple as “do they have lunch together” to understand how neatly built the team is.

  • So, other than working together, do team members and colleagues hang out outside the office?

For any organization to strive for success, it is important the employees maintain a healthy working relationship within the office. One way of ensuring an organized workspace is for colleagues to develop a friendly relationship with one another. This can be achieved only when they agree to hang out together outside the office. That is why, to understand workplace culture, asking questions such as these aren't that inappropriate.

  • Do companies or departments collaborate for any joint events?

A company's consistent growth and development is fueled by an enthusiastic workforce who dedicates themselves to innovate on a regular basis. However, to ensure that you lead your company on a one-way ticket to success, it is important you understand the importance of collaborations and working together. So, for you to be able to lead a team or work with them, they need to have a pre-established healthy work friendship among themselves.

  • Why makes working here better than any other place you might have worked in before?

Zeal is a very force; it is what motivates one to pursue a task that may be perceived as impossible by many. While every person comes in with this zeal to work, years of disorientation, lack of appreciation and procrastination may lead to this zeal to erode away. That is why, when applying to a company, ask their existing employees candidate interview questions on what makes this place better than other organizations. A constructive from them will ensure you that this is where you wish to work.

Questions that you ask in the next segment of your interview

  • Are there any lingering concerns regarding my current background, and were you expecting any particular skill for me to have?

Want to know how you can get into the mind of your hiring manager to find out their views about you? The answer is simple, try asking interviewing questions about their concerns regarding you. No matter how smooth your discussion may have been, the interviewer will have certain opinions in regards to your answers. They might expect you to come with a certain skill that you aren't equipped with. This is why, to know their sides of the story, always ask questions.

After one interview round, you obviously aren't going to sit around waiting for a response. So, in the meantime, prepare yourself for the next round of discussion. Find out from your interviewer about how they conduct the next round and on what basis will they be judging your performance.

  • Is there any other document or information that you would like me to provide?

Ask your hiring manager interview questions to check if you have provided all required documents and information that they require to assess you. After all, you want them to go through your portfolio once you have exited the organization’s premises post-interview.

  • Do you have any other questions that you would like to ask me?

As you are about to exit the cabin of your interviewer, ask them a final question as to whether there is still anything else they would like to ask you. They may have certain questions that they missed out on. Allow them to remember these pointers so that they aren't left with any grievance regarding this discussion with you.


Do not ask these questions

  • How do you think this interview went?

Make it a golden rule when asking your candidate interview questions: Never be too direct. Being abrupt may seem like a confident approach; however, asking about your performance directly is considered unprofessional. Also, you need to give them the time to assess you thoroughly.

  • So what say, do I get the job?

No! Absolutely not!

This unprofessionalism will never land you the crown. The issue here is that while confidence is good, too much of it is a real mood killer. Try asking questions in the lines of "Hope you enjoyed our discussion as much as I did." An answer to this comment will offer you the subtle hints you require to understand if you got the job.

  • So, how often can an employee expect a raise?

Remember, you aren't even hired as yet, so don't go ahead asking candidate interview questions about a raise. You can ask questions regarding your responsibilities, work culture, and even colleagues you will be working with but never a raise. Instead, you can ask about how employees who were working in this position previously have grown as individuals.

  • What kind of perks does this job come with?

You are applying for employment, not buying property, so before you consider your perks, begin by considering whether you will be successful in landing this job in the first place. Try being a little more confident and a little less rude.

  • So, when can I expect to hear from you again?

While you can ask them candidate interview questions regarding "What can I expect from the next round of interviews?" don't be rude by enquiring about when you can hear from them again. Like you have the freedom of speech, they also have the liberty to reject.

  • So, what does your company do?

Concern yourself about work culture, the team you will be assigned with, the goals you will be preparing yourself to achieve, and avoid asking direct questions about the company. If you have some questions regarding certain information about the company, you can ask for a brief but not like this.

  • How soon can I ask for vacation leaves after joining?

Concentrate on getting accepted into the company first before you can consider leaves or paid holidays. You must show a certain degree of dedication towards your responsibilities in this position. So, avoid asking such a question if you don't wish to jeopardize your career completely.

As we reach the end of potential candidate interview questions that your interviewer is required to answer, it is necessary to understand one thing.

Maintaining interview decorum is fine; going completely mute isn't.

You need to be proactive and reciprocate. Make your interview an enjoyable discussion, not a one-sided interrogation.

If you speak like a true professional and are equipped with all the right candidate interview questions, you will elevate your impression before the hiring managers. After all, an interview isn't about fitting in; it is about standing out.

Also, interview preparation courses and free mock interviews can help you immensely to practice these questions and build your confidence like never before!


Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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