Top 10 Questions Candidates Can Ask During an Interview

Asking questions to your prospective employer is a critical part of the interview process for any candidate. Not only can job seekers affirm their interest in the role, but they can also discover some interesting nuggets of information about the organization, its people, and its culture.

8 Steps to Crushing Your Next Job Interview

To impress your interviewer, keep these 10 questions in mind when taking part in your next job interview:

Who would my manager be? Would I have any direct reports to oversee?

Managers can make—or break—an employee’s workplace experience. That’s why it’s important to understand who your boss will be. If possible, try to have a conversation with this individual to get a feel for their personality and see whether you could envision yourself meshing with their leadership style. For senior-level interviewees, ask about the number of team members you’d be overseeing and how much experience these employees have. Gathering a basic understanding of your new team will be crucial to hitting the ground running with this group if you choose to accept the position.

What are some immediate needs or urgent projects that I could be working on?

Looking for an idea of what types of tasks you might be working on if you choose to join this prospective company? Ask your interviewer about the types of projects and assignments that you’ll be pitching in on during your first few weeks on the job. Some ventures may pique your interest, while others might seem bland and uninteresting. Based on the response that you receive, this could sway you toward—or away from—the organization.

What types of learning and development opportunities are available at the company?

Learning and development opportunities are important for optimizing performance and enhancing long-term professional advancement. It’s imperative to understand whether your prospective organization has a dedicated L&D department to support these ongoing growth initiatives. Is there any sort of mentorship program that is offered to employees? Can you take classes to enhance your skills? Will you have the chance to attend industry-leading conferences and seminars? These L&D opportunities can provide tremendous value to your professional maturation.

What is the performance review process like?

Formal assessments are critical ways to improve your on-the-job performance. Not only can these reviews recognize you for your contributions to your company, but they can also provide valuable feedback while helping you set goals for the future. Employees always crave feedback, so determine how often performance reviews are conducted. It may be a cause for concern if these assessments aren’t held on a regular cadence. The more frequent evaluations, the better!

What do typical long-term growth plans look like at the company?

For curiosity’s sake, it may be interesting to get an idea of how long it normally takes employees to be promoted within the organization. Some organizations prefer to promote employees within several months, while others prefer to wait a few years. While advancement is largely dependent on production and quality of work, some high performers will be eager to develop a long-term goal on how quickly they can begin to move up the ranks.

What is your favorite part about working for the company?

Asking specific questions about the interviewer’s personal work experience can tell you a lot about the company as a whole. Does the individual love his/her coworkers? Are they pleased with compensation and benefits? Is there an exceptional corporate culture that makes them proud to work for the organization? Posing these more casual questions can also allow you to build a better rapport with the interviewer. 

If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be?

While this question may put your interviewer on the spot, it’s a great one to ask nonetheless. It may be hard to get a truthful answer, but the individual might leave some subtle clues as to what they are displeased about. Be mindful of the fact that every company has its qualms, so try not to read too much into what your interviewer is saying. 

Can you describe the company’s culture in three words?

This is a thought-provoking question that can help better understand the company’s corporate ethos. While it might take a few moments for the interviewer to respond to this query, their answer can disclose a lot about the organization. Keep an eye out for prevailing themes among the interviewer’s responses. Some great adjectives that they could use include transparent, accountable, empathetic, supportive, collaborative, and diverse.

Historically, what has turnover been like for this role?

Interested in seeing how long employees usually last in your prospective new position? This can give candidates a great idea of what to expect in terms of workload and responsibilities. Employees in high turnover roles often suffer from burnout and mental or physical exhaustion. By understanding what attrition numbers look like, you can potentially save yourself from these perils while preserving your health and well-being.

What will make me most successful if I am hired for this position?

Arguably the most valuable question that any candidate could ask is this one: what can I do that will best attribute to my success on the job? Your interviewer might be able to provide some hints that will help you to become an instant contributor if you’re offered—and ultimately accept—the position. Some organizations value employees that arrive early and stay late, while others place a greater priority on team members that check their egos at the door and do whatever is necessary to help the team. See if you can pick up a few ideas during your interview that’ll help to step up your game.

Looking to browse open employment opportunities with local startups? Dive into Viaduct’s job board to find a role that’s right for you!

Are you a job seeker looking for more application and interview tips? Check out our Viaduct blog.

Explore More Blogs

Explore all Blogs

Hiring Will Soon Be a Top Priority for 43North’s Newest Cohort

Hiring Will Soon Be a Top Priority for 43North’s Newest Cohort

Five companies won $1 million investments on October 20th at the 43North—a Buffalo-based startup accelerator—eighth annual startup competition....

Learn More

Five Essential Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Chief People Officer

Five Essential Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Chief People Officer

The Chief People Officer (CPO) may be a lesser-known C-suite position in many companies. Nevertheless, that does not...

Learn More

After Talking to a Recruiter Take These Four Steps

After Talking to a Recruiter Take These Four Steps

Whether you’re reentering the workforce after the pandemic or looking to leave your current position in search of...

Learn More

How to Simplify HR With an Employer of Record at Your Startup

How to Simplify HR With an Employer of Record at Your Startup

As a startup business leader, you already know how important HR functions are to the success of your...

Learn More

Join Us For One of Our Upcoming Events