The Right (and Wrong) Questions to Ask During an Interview



The RIGHT Questions to Ask

1. Is there anything from my resume or our conversation that concerns you?

This is THE BEST question to ask at the end of your interview. However, you have to be open to receiving criticism and seeing the interviewer’s point-of-view.

This question gives you the opportunity to address something that might prevent you from getting the job.

I personally ask this question any time I’m being interviewed, and I’ve received amazing feedback. One interviewer told me on the spot that I didn’t have the experience they were looking for, which prevented me from waiting days for a call back thinking I might have gotten the job.

During another interview, the manager said he was concerned that I seem to leave each job within 1-2 years, and said that he is looking for a long term employee. That gave me a change to explain my work history (most of the companies I worked for were small businesses that had closed). If I hadn’t asked this question, he might have just hired someone else for the position.

(I did end up getting that job by the way.)

Remember, the interviewer is going to answer with something they don’t like about you, your experience, or your resume. But don’t take it personally. Take the opportunity to defend yourself, and if something needs fixed (like a resume typo), thank them for the advice and let them know you’ll correct it.

2. How long have you been with the company?

The best way to build a relationship with someone to ask them about themselves. Why would you want to build a relationship with your interviewer? So they remember you even after completing 10 more interviewers with other applicants!

This also shows that you are caring and thoughtful, and even though you are there trying to make yourself look best for the job, you are showing that you also care about the interviewer’s job.

3. Do you like it here?

There are two reasons to ask this question:

First, this gives you insight about the company. If the interviewer hesitates or isn’t sure how to answer, that should be a red flag telling you that they probably don’t like the company. There’s a chance you might not either.

Second, you are showing that you care about other people and their thoughts/feelings.

4. What would a typical day look like in the position?

By asking this question, it tells the interviewer that you enjoyed the interview and still want to work there.

This also shows that you actually care about the company and what the position entails, instead of just wanting anything that pays.

5. Would you be able to give me a tour?

Managers who are proud of the companies they work for are happy to show them off. By asking for a tour, you are giving this person to delve into more detail about the facilities and the people, and if you are the only one who seems interested in a tour, it will make you stand out when the manager is deciding who to hire.

6. If you heard or read something negative about the company, ask about it.

Before I go to an interview, I always look up employee satisfaction reviews online. This tells me whether the company’s employees are happy, and why they are or aren’t.

Once I’m in the interview, when we get to the part where they ask if I have any questions, I bring it up.

For example, I might say, “I took some time to read employee satisfaction reviews on the company, and I noticed some complaints about the scheduling procedures. Can you tell me a little about those?”

This gives the interviewer an opportunity to address your concern and explain whether it is true and/or has already been addressed.

The WRONG Questions

1. What is the pay?

Asking this question makes it sound like you care more about a paycheck than actually working for the company. You might feel that way, but remember an interview is all about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

You should only ask about pay if they bring it up first. Yes, this can be frustrating when the job posting didn’t specify the pay rate and they don’t mention it in the interview either, but just remember that they will tell you what it is when they offer you the job.

If they mention the pay during the interview and it’s not what you’re looking for, tell them. If you’re looking for $12 per hour, and they say the position pays $11, let them know that you would need more.

One way to word this is, “Based on my skills and experience, I would be looking for a pay rate of at least $12 per hour.” If they tell you it’s not going to happen, you can let them know that the position isn’t for you.

This shows that you respect their time and don’t want to waste it by continuing the interview when you know you’re no longer interested in the position.

I’ve had interviewers who brought up the pay immediately, because they knew that they didn’t want to spend an hour interviewing me if I wasn’t going to accept their non-negotiable pay rate.

2. What if I need to call off?

Why would you be planning to call off before you even get the job? This is what the interviewer would be thinking.

I can tell you from hiring experience, this question is always seen as a red flag to interviewers. I never hired anyone who asked me during the interview how to call off or what the call off policy was.

If you have a situation that might prevent you from making it to work, that’s something you need to mention up front. Knowing ahead of time, the employer might be willing to work with you on your schedule.

3. How do I request time off?

You don’t, because you haven’t been hired. This is not a question for an interview, this is a question for your orientation if you do get the job.

Asking this question during the interview will make the manager wonder why you’re asking. Do you take a lot of time off? Is there a day or time in the set schedule that you won’t be able to work?

This may just be an innocent question, and even though you don’t take a ton of time off you’re curious. That’s why it’s best to ask after you’ve gotten the job, and after you’ve started working.

You might also want to ask questions about the company’s history, locations, the size of the customer base, the products they sell, or the details/pricing of their services. These types of questions will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the company.

Wondering what else you should do in an interview? Check out this post too: Do You Know How to ROCK a Job Interview? 

I hope this post has helped you figure out what to say when your interviewer asks if you have any questions, and REMEMBER: one question is better than none!


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