20 Interview Questions to Ask Employers

by Krantcents · 64 comments

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Here are 20 interview questions to ask employers Interviews are scary!  What kind of impression are you making?  Having questions prepared tells the employer you are interested!  Why not, your goal is to be invited back.  Interviews are to find out about you and for you to find out about the company.  Your questions tell the interviewer a lot about you.

Where do you start?  Some of your questions may be answered in the course of the interview.  Don’t ask questions that were answered on the company website, magazine or newspaper articles.  You can ask for further clarification or more information.  Last, do not ask about salary and benefits.  Generally the employer will talk about that, it provides the employer an opportunity to ask you your requirements.  This is a question you should avoid!

What kind of questions should you ask?  Just like the questions the employer would ask you, they should be open-ended.  Open-ended questions cannot be answered yes or no.  How many questions should you ask?  There is no set number, but find out what you want to know.

20 Questions:

What are the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in this position?

Training and professional development is important to me.  What is the company policy on seminars, workshops, and training for employees to maintain and improve their skills?

What is your organization’s policy on openings or promotions?

Since this a career position, what can I expect from you to prepare me for my next position?

What criteria will I be evaluated on for my performance review?

May I have a copy of the job description for this position?

How does this organization fit into the long range plan?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the organization or company?

What do you like best about working at this company?

Is this a new position or am I replacing someone?

May I talk to with the last person who held this position?

What are the department goals for next year?

How would you describe your management style?

Why are you looking at external candidates for this position, instead of promoting from within?

Do you have plans for expansion?

Why did you choose this company?

What is the company’s culture?

How do you measure success?

What does it take to be successful in this company?

Can I talk to one of my peers?

Bonus: When will a decision be made on the successful candidate?

Wrap Up

Remember this is not a complete list.  There is no way that I can come up with every possible question you may have for a perspective employer.  These questions are a good start to help you think of other questions.  What do you want to know?  What would make you say yes to an offer?  Don’t say a good offer because you may hate your job!  Part of your research after the interview is to find out their reputation in your industry.  Some companies will work you to death others will reward your hard work.

I worked for a hi-tech company in the 70s where I learned skills that have helped me throughout my career and personal life.  The environment and culture was competitive, you had to bring your “A” game.  It would be similar to making presentations to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs every day.  If you were unprepared, you would be out.  Would you flourish in this environment or fail?  What kind of company do you want to work for?  Thinking about your career choice is important, you may want to check out an article I wrote called “How do you choose the Right Career?” Good questions leave a good impression!  Here are 20 interview questions to ask employers.

Photo by:  Dplanet

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{ 60 comments }

Tim-Faith & Finance September 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

You’ve probably heard the quote ‘If you fail to plan, you’ve planned to fail.’  Being prepared with questions shows that you’re interested in knowing more about the company.  Not preparing for follow up questions may end up in a failed attempt at a job!

krantcents September 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Interviews are opportunities to show your level of interest and if you will fit in. How you respond to their questions and what questions you ask provide material for the employer to judge your interest as well as your abilities.

MoneyCone September 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I love this question: May I have a copy of the job description for this position?

It is amazing how many companies only have a vague idea on what’s expected from a candidate!  This question makes employers think as well!

krantcents September 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I have been interviewed by many inept people. It was an opportunity for me to take over and direct the interview. Candidates should evaluate companies and management as much as you are evaluated.

Kellen September 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

Just be careful that this isn’t something you should already have from the job posting! I see a lot of jobs with very detailed descriptions on job sites, but if you submit your resume to 100 and then get called back to a couple, I could see it being easy to forget which companies had a description already posted.

Money Beagle September 12, 2011 at 8:03 am

Love it!  As a former manager that did quite a bit of hiring, a couple of these are questions you want to hear.  It’s important to note, too, that when you’re interviewing, you should make sure to ask a couple of questions (from this list or any other intelligent, engaging questions that fit the bill) because to ask no questions might show a lack of interest.  On the other hand, don’t go overboard.  If a candidate asks too many questions, it could be a turnoff.  So find the right balance!

Squirrelers September 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

You must be prepared with questions. It shows that you want the position, and can dig deep to do what it takes to compete for the job. These days, with so much competition for many types of jobs, you have to bring your “A” game to the interview. If you don’t go the extra mile, someone else will. Besides, it’s pretty much a sure thing in many interviews that you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyers September 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

It’s nice to have it the other way around. Employees has the right to ask their employer whether for their personal growth or career wise. For employees to understand what their company expect from them, it is always important to ask.

krantcents September 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

In theory, every employer should be automatically answering some of these questions as a narrative. Every candidate should have 3-6 questions at the end of an interview. I usually always ask when they plan to make a decision.

krantcents September 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm

The one question I always ask at the end is when they expect to make their decision. 2 or 3 more questions seems appropriate. Interviews are opportunities for candidates and employers to demonstrate their interest and skills. Candidates should evaluate how the employer answer their questions as much the employer will evaluate the candidate.

My University Money September 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

I love the idea.  How many lists have we seen of how to answer someone else’s questions.  When I was preparing for job interviews last year I asked several administrative family friends for what separates candidates.  They said two main areas.  The first was the small talk at the beginning and end of an interview, and the second was asking intelligent questions just like the ones you outlined.

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 1:09 am

You are evaluated on your answers and your questions. I think it is an opportunity to evaluate the employer too.

Jana @ Daily Money Shot September 13, 2011 at 12:46 am

I think these are great questions and when I was interviewing for my current position, I asked some of them. I wonder, though, if some people are hesitant to ask questions of employers out of fear it may make them seem demanding and undesirable.

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 1:11 am

Everything depends on the rapport you develop with the interviewer and how you ask the questions. Your success depends it!

Robin September 13, 2011 at 3:48 am

Couldn’t agree more. The most important thing is to just be yourself, and be able to build a good rapport with the interviewer. Rapport is the most important aspect of sales. An job interview is just a sales job with you selling the employer why they should hire you.

Asking intelligent questions is important, but being yourself, building rapport, and demonstrating competency is what gets you the job.

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 3:52 am

Ver true. Employers hire people they like and think will fit in . There is a presumption that you have the skills which why rapport is important. The quality of your questions will add to the positive impression you are making.

Hunter @ Financially Consumed September 13, 2011 at 1:13 am

Hopefully a lot of these questions would be answered in the preamble by the interviewer. This is all important information and unfortunately I think these questions are not explored enough by those of us that are keen to jump into something new.

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 1:19 am

Very true! Interviews are supposed to be a mutual time of investigation. In this economy, everyone is eager to just find a job and forget about evaluating the company.

Miss T September 13, 2011 at 3:23 am

Great post. In the past when I have interviewed I have had a chance to maybe ask a few of these, but never the whole list. I think you have to use your judgement based on how the interview goes as to which questions to ask. You don’t want to rock the boat if you are keen to get the job by asking too many questions. However you also want to know enough before you accept. It’s a fine balance in communication skills I guess. I will reference this list next time I have an interview though- it will be very helpful. 

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 3:33 am

Good! In this bad economy, we are caught up in just getting the job, but it is an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate the company too.

Kris @ Everyday Tips September 13, 2011 at 4:03 am

Interesting set of questions.   I have not interviewed in about 100 years.  However, I always hated two questions:  1.  Name one of your shortcomings (how about I am not independently wealthy and I have to apply for this job?)  2.  What questions do you have?  I generally got all my questions and info in during the interview process and forgot to have a question left over at the end.  I needed this list of 20 way back when!

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Interviews are opportunities for employers to evaluate candidates and candidates evaluate companies. Candidates asking questions indicate how interested they are in the job. There is always something to ask the employer. I always ask when they will make their decision.

Buck Inspire September 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Awesome questions KC!  I usually throw curveballs, does the team get along?  Why did the previous person leave?  Do you work well with upper management?

Mango Money September 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I really like your “how do you measure success” question, as it seems like this is a big problem for new hires. I read an article recently that said many new hires are not lasting these days, because they aren’t sure how companies “measure success.” The new employees are too afraid to ask questions, so they just end up getting overwhelmed, and aren’t sure what exactly they are working toward. A downward spiral. There are some other key things to do during an interview, like make good eye contact, dress the part, etc; but there are also things you should do *after* the interview to better your chances of landing the job. Check out this interview post in our series on switching jobs– you might find it helpful! http://www.mangomoney.com/blog/how-to/switching-jobs-out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new-part-5

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Employers evaluate your questions as much as their questions during an interview. Candidates should find out as much as they can.

Evan@MyJourneytoMillions September 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Fantastic list! I haven’t interviewed in a few years, but I remember the awkwardness that ensues if you don’t ask the interviewer a couple questions about the position!

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I used to notes during interview so I could ask questions. It was a great way to make my points with the employer.I always saved a list of questions for the end.

Net Worth Protect September 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

Great list.  I would add one that I have found terribly important, however, you may not be able to ask it directly.  Try and spend some time asking employees (future co-workers) and not your possible new boss about the strength and status of your new boss within the organization and the importance of the team you are joining to the organization.  I have found that in certain companies, especially big firms, who you work for and their status with senior management will play a major role in your future at the firm.  If he/she is viewed as a vital and knowledgable person at the firm you will be put in situations that will give you a chance to shine.  If not, you will probably be a bit stuck until you can get around your boss’s underperformance.

Jen @ Master the Art of Saving September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

That’s a great list! I’ve always been super-freaked out at interviews but if I had some good questions ready to go, I imagine that would make it much easier. 

krantcents September 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm

As a former employer, I like to hear questions because it indicates a level of interest. It is an opportunity to evaluate the company too.

Onecentatatime September 14, 2011 at 2:43 am

Although these are good suggestion, but honestly, you must agree that when your interview really go bad you generally don’t ask questions much. When you know interview went well, you can gather courage or interest to ask questions back, I tend to stick with the questions on work environment. 

Seriously I won’t feel comfortable in asking about promotion scene in my job interview.

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 3:42 am

Although I do not receive an offer every time I interview, I never had a bad interview. If I think nothing will develop out of the interview I probably would not ask too many questions.

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues September 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

In this tough job environment, the winning interviewee will have acquainted themselves with the business of the company and if possible, the exact area within the company.  A question I would have loved to hear as a hiring manager is “What are the significant challenges or opportunities in your area of the company?” – but I would want the interviewee to have some idea of the answer and be prepared to match their skill set to the challenges.

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 3:44 am

The followup question may be the most impressive. Being able to think fast is a real asset. Believe me the employer will appreciate it too.

Darwin's Money September 14, 2011 at 3:51 am

My Dad used to tell me about the goofy questions candidates would ask him when he was a hiring manager.  Once someone asked him, and I shit you not… “So, how much do YOU make?”.  The candidate actually asked him how much he makes.  He told that story for years, got a kick out of it.  No, the guy didn’t get the job.

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 3:53 am

I teach my students that you never ask personal questions like that! Apparently, this person never had my class. Questions can enhance your position or in this case put you into the trash. Who would want to hire the fool?

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 3:53 am

I teach my students that you never ask personal questions like that! Apparently, this person never had my class. Questions can enhance your position or in this case put you into the trash. Who would want to hire the fool?

Darwin's Money September 14, 2011 at 3:51 am

My Dad used to tell me about the goofy questions candidates would ask him when he was a hiring manager.  Once someone asked him, and I shit you not… “So, how much do YOU make?”.  The candidate actually asked him how much he makes.  He told that story for years, got a kick out of it.  No, the guy didn’t get the job.

Dana September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

I landed my very first job out of college because I was the only candidate who asked the interviewer some questions – It really does make a good impression!

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I see it as an additional opportunity to impress the employer.

Investorz' Blog September 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Nice list! Predicting questions ahead of time and answering them before they’re asked is a surefire way to get hired. Opportunity goes to the prepared.

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

The more you are prepared, the more natural and relaxed you will be. Some of my best interviews were when I was prepared and relaxed because of it.

Car Negotiation Coach September 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Great questions Krants.  In the past whenever I’ve been the applicant, I always made it a point to have several questions geared to the employer and it always made an impact.  It’s good to show you are interested in the company and it’s also just as important to see if an employer is a fit for you as your are for them.

Now, as an employer, if an applicant doesn’t have questions for me, I feel like they are not interested or haven’t shown enough initiative and I don’t give them as much credit as a person who did have questions.

krantcents September 14, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I like to evaluate the employer as much as they evaluate me. I like to take it further though. I try to ask follow up question(s). I think it is one of the best ways to nail the interview.

World of Finance September 15, 2011 at 2:52 am

Great list.  I will definitely be referring back to this in the future. :)  Thanks KC. :)  BTW, I love that you have the Guest Option to leave comments… Personally, I think all blogs that have DISQUS comment section should have this option…

krantcents September 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

Thanks, asking good question helps you learn about the company and will impress the employer. It came with DISQUS as far as I know.

Maggie@SquarePennies September 15, 2011 at 3:26 am

Fantastic list.  I’m passing this on to my youngest son who has the least experience in interviewing.  Thanks so much!

krantcents September 15, 2011 at 3:34 am

You’re welcome. Having been on both sides, everything a candidate does can either impress or self delete them from the race. Good questions can make a difference!

Roshawn Watson September 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I found it initially surprising that employers thought of interviewing as a two-way process. Good questions can make the difference in an interview. 

krantcents September 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

In this economy, an unemployed person is just grateful for a job. Normally, you want to evaluate the employer as much as they evaluate you.

Harri Pierce September 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Great post! I always close an interview with, ‘How have you found working here?’ Surprisingly it catches a lot of interviewers off guard and you often get a glimpse into how they truly feel about working for said company. 

krantcents September 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I like open ended questions, you learn so much about the company and the people who work there. It is also a good chance to ask follow up questions.

krantcents September 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Interviews are the best opportunities to find out information, yet we don’t for various reasons. Either we are too nervous or we just miss out on the opportunities.

krantcents September 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I think asking questions of your peers at the new company is a great way of finding out about a company. Some companies make it part of the interviewing process.

krantcents September 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Everyone should do their homework and prepare for the interview! The more you can find out before you go the better. You can always ask a clarification kind of question. It is a good way to show you researched them and want to know more.

krantcents September 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

For me, preparing for the interview helps me relax. Having questions and researching the company is part of that preparation.

Graduate Career Tips September 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Excellent post and often an angle that is completely missed by potential candidates who are overly focussed on the answers they are going to give the interviewer. A probing question is equally as impressive as a knowledgebale answer. I have recently written a series of posts on interviews and picking up on the importance of asking questions in the interview if you want to take a look http://graduatecareertips.co.uk/category/interviews-and-assessment-centres/ Thanks

krantcents September 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

 Interviews are supposed to be an opportunity to learn about the company as well as the candidate.  The kind of questions you ask will be as important as the answers you give too. . 

Way Rich January 6, 2012 at 3:50 am

Bookmarking for later on down the road :)

krantcents January 6, 2012 at 4:46 am

Thanks, a good set of questions for the emlpoyer seals the deal!

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