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20 questions to ask in an interview

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It can be hard to know what questions to ask in an interview, as there is probably a lot that you want to know about the company, the job role, the team, and more. You should always ask questions at the end of the interview to show interest and engage with the interviewer, as this can help you stand out as a top candidate.

Ideally, you should have at least five questions ready to go. This is because some of the questions might get answered during the interview, but having five prepared should leave you with at least two that you can ask. However, it can be hard to know what to ask in an interview, especially as some questions are a no-go, such as asking about the salary during a first interview. Here is our guide to what you should and shouldn't ask when interviewing for a job.

Why it’s important to ask questions at the end of a job interview

Asking questions at the end of an interview can help you show how interested you are in getting the job. Wanting to know more shows that you are seriously considering this job and that you want to make sure it's a good match for you. It also shows that you have done a lot of research and are looking for answers to things that are not easily available. Plus, it can absolutely help you check whether the job is right for you, meaning that you aren't wasting your time or the interviewer's time. 

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What is a good interview question?

A good interview question will not only get you the information that you need but will also show that you are interested in the company and position that you have applied for. It should also make sure that you can help judge whether the position is right for you — remember that the interview is for you to gauge whether you want the job, as much as for the interviewer to see if you are right for them. Good questions should also make the interviewer think. You should avoid asking questions that can easily be answered by researching the company, such as company history. Read our 10 top tips for face-to-face interviews

20 Smart Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Wondering what are good questions to ask in an interview? Here's our list of 20 great questions that you can ask:

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Best interview questions to ask about the company

1. How is the company structured (departments, teams..)?

This question should help you get a good idea of what kind of working environment you'll be in. It also shows that you are interested in what kind of day-to-day organisation you'll be dealing with, and you can often relate based on experience at other companies.

2. What are the current goals of the company?

While a company will often list its overall aims and ethos on their website, asking about current goals shows that you care about what the company is facing at the moment and what kind of aims you will be working towards.

3. What are the company objectives for the next few years?

Again, this can help you gauge where the company is going and make sure it aligns with your goals. Plus you can see how you might be able to grow in the company.

4. How is success measured in the company?

This can help you know what the company cares about the most - do they care about just numbers, or do they want to see growth in the teams working for them? Plus, it can say a lot about the general interactions between managers and team members.

5. How has the company changed over the last few years?

While looking at the company's future is important, looking at its past will tell you a lot about how successful they've been at implementing change, as well as what they value. Plus, this gives you a good idea of whether the company is likely to grow.

6. What are the company values?

It's natural to want to work for a company where everyone shares a similar ethos and values to you.

7. Are training courses available at the company?

This helps you see the opportunity for growth and improvement in the role, and it also helps show the employer that you are keen and eager to stick with them and grow.

8. What is the working environment like in the company?

The day-to-day environment can make or break a job. It's important to find out if the work environment is one you will thrive in.

9. What will the onboarding process look like?

Starting a new job can be hard, so it's important to know what to expect in your first few days or weeks. This can also help you know how much support you will get.

10. What is the next step after this interview?

Every company has a different interview process, so finding out the details can help you know what to expect, and what to prepare for.

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Smart interview questions to ask about the position

Here are some more questions to ask specifically about the position you are interviewing for:

1. What is the starting date for this position?

This is a big practicality to bear in mind, and knowing a specific date means you can avoid making other plans on that day.

2. Will I be replacing someone or is this a new position?

This helps you know whether you are going to be jumping right into someone else's projects, or whether your duties might be less firmly decided so far. Plus, you might want to find out why someone else left this position.

3. What are the biggest challenges in this position?

While this might seem like a straightforward question, it's important to see what could be the hardest and most stressful parts of the job.

4. What does a typical day look like in this position?

It can be hard to picture exactly what you will be doing in a job role, so this question can help you get a better idea.

5. What are the most critical projects at the moment for this position?

Knowing what the team is currently doing not only shows you what the company is focusing on, but it also helps you know what to expect if you get the job — and what to read up on before your next interview.

6. What are performance expectations for this position during the next 12 months, and what are the metrics used to evaluate performance?

Plenty of people find the probation period very stressful. Knowing what to expect in your first few months can help make you more confident heading towards this job.

7. How often are employees evaluated?

This can tell you a lot about what kind of feedback to expect and how often you are likely to be communicating with your manager.

8. Who will I work with and who will I report to directly?

Knowing the structure around you in a position can help you understand more about your daily duties and how much autonomy you will have.

9. Are there skills missing in the team/department looking for a [position]?

This is a great way to see what the company needs, plus you can look at how you might manage to help them fill those needs.

10. Are there opportunities for progression within the company?

Companies like people who want to stay with them and improve their skills, so this shows keenness and helps you know whether this job could help your career in the long run.

Questions not to ask at a job interview

There are some questions that it's best not to ask at the interview, though this can vary. Some basic questions to avoid are:

"What is the salary?" Discussing money is generally not good, especially in a first interview. This is because it could make the company think that your main interest in the role is just the pay.

"What are the benefits?" Talking about the things you get out of the job position can make it look like you are only there for the best deal you can get, and that you might not put your whole effort into the job itself.

"Do I have the job?" Asking this can seem presumptuous, and if you are forcing people to make a fast decision, they will usually side against you.

To Sum Up

Whether you have a face-to-face interview or a phone interview, you should ask questions to show you are interested.

Good questions will help you see what the company is like and tell you more about what to expect.

Avoid asking anything that is very common knowledge or easy to research.

Don't ask about money, especially in the first interview.

Need more help preparing for interviews? Try our video interview practice article, or read about graduate interview questions and the strengths and weaknesses interview questions.