Need good questions to ask in an interview? Try these!

Job interviews are a two-way street. They are both the HR Manager's chance to see if you're the right fit for their company and your chance to see if the company is a good fit for you.

With any interview, the easiest way to show a recruiter or hiring manager that you have what it takes to succeed is to arrive prepared. Part of this means coming armed with a few intelligent questions up your sleeve that you can ask at the end of the interview. By taking the time to ask a few questions, you'll show the recruiter that you've done your research, have a sincere interest in the role, and are an employee who takes initiative.  

What you ask in an interview can tell an HR Manager a lot about your character, so the trick is not just to ask questions for the sake of asking, but to ask the right questions. For example, you don't want to jump the gun and start asking about salary or employee benefits right off the bat, as this will come later in the process. As a general rule, you want to avoid focusing on yourself and instead show the HR Manager you want to know more about them, the company, and the role. 

If you're keen to impress an HR Manager and are interested in good questions to ask in a job interview, read on and be ready when you hear the words “Do you have any questions for me?”

1. What is the typical career path for someone in this role?

This is a fantastic question to ask at the end of a job interview, as it shows you have a long-term outlook, are interested in career progression, and are taking the job and the interview seriously. It's also a smart question to ask if you want the inside scoop on the role. 

The interviewer will be able to give you a clear insight into what you can expect going forward. The truth is, you do need to know where this job will take you. Listen carefully to the answer and use it to determine whether this is the right move for you. 

2. What do you think are the most important qualities someone needs to succeed in this role?

This is a great way to gain a better understanding of the new position and the skills you'll need to be successful. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss any qualities or skills of yours that you may not have mentioned thus far in the interview.

3. Why do you like working for the company?

Hiring managers are great at pitching the company to potential employees, but it's always compelling to hear what they say when you turn the tables and ask them what they personally like about it. Plus, it shows that you're interested in the experience of being part of the company, not just having a job.

4. How would you describe the company culture?

Before you start working anywhere, you need to know about the company culture. Companies vary dramatically in workplace culture from one to the next. If you're spending nine hours a day with your colleagues, you definitely want to find a workplace that suits your personality and your working style. 

Asking directly about the company culture will give you an understanding of the team and the social aspects of the role, which in turn will give you a good idea of whether or not this is somewhere you want to be. Directing this question to the hiring manager will help you to figure out whether it's the right fit for you. 

5. What are your expectations for the role over the next six months to a year?

This is an excellent question to ask in an interview, because it demonstrates your proactiveness. It also helps you because meeting your manager's expectations early on in a new job is crucial to your success. Therefore, gaining a clear understanding of what's expected of you before you've even started is a sure-fire way to get a head start. 

Pay close attention to what the hiring manager says here. If they stumble over the question, that may be a red flag. Try to take note of what plans they have in the pipeline. This will give you a chance to get to grips with where the business is going and, of course, how you fit in.

6. What are the next steps in the interview process?

If you're aware of the company's hiring process and usual timeframes, you'll know when to follow-up and when to hold back. Asking this question will ensure you maintain proper etiquette that's appropriate for the specific company you're interviewing with.

Should you be a worrier, you can use this question to your advantage. Listen to what the interviewer says and remember it. If they suggest that they will be getting back to people within a couple of weeks, that gives you a break in which to relax. In short, the interviewer's answer will help you to understand what to expect here.

7. What are some of the challenges that come with the role?

It's good for candidates to be aware of the challenges that previous employees in this role have faced. By asking this question at the end of an interview, you'll be better prepared when you start. It also shows the hiring manager that you're the type of person to see a challenge and overcome it.

8. How does the role fit within the overall structure of the company?

This question will tell you more about direct reporting lines and where your department or office fits in the greater scheme of things. It will also give you insight as to whether career progression is possible. 

9. How is performance tracked and reviewed?

Knowing what's expected of you and how it's measured is important. This question also shows the HR Manager that you care about how you perform in the role. It lets the hiring manager know that you're serious about not only reaching but exceeding their goals. 

10. What are the most rewarding aspects of working for this company?

Want to know whether you will actually like working for this business? This is a good interview question to ask, as it will give you insight into the company culture, the team, and the benefits of the role. It gives the interviewer the chance to sell the position to you.

11. Can you tell me about the history of the role?

This question is geared towards finding out how long previous employees have stayed in the role and whether they progressed internally or left to work for another company. It will give you a good understanding of your own potential progression.

In addition, if the interviewer admits that the role has a high turnover, that's something you want to be wary of. When you ask this interview question, it puts them in the hot seat. Either they can give you a shining review of how others have progressed, or they have to admit that this is simply not the case. 

12. How does this position support the management team?

Asking about the management structure and how your role reports to it shows your understanding of good employee / management communication and your awareness of the internal “food chain.” It also shows that you're interested in how the company works as a whole, rather than focusing solely on your position. 

13. What would you say is the steepest learning curve in this role?

This is a good question to ask the hiring manager in an interview because it's something that will serve you well if you're successful. Knowing what you're up against going into the job will only mean you're better prepared to tackle it once there.

Should you be lucky enough to land the job, you'll know what to expect. That means that you'll have the chance to spruce up your skills ahead of your first day in the office. 

14. How is feedback delivered and managed in the company?

Feedback is important no matter what job you do. It serves as your own personal guide to let you know how you're performing and how your managers view your performance. By asking about internal feedback processes, you're letting the HR Manager know that you're open to receiving feedback and want to improve your performance over time.

15. How does this role contribute to the company's short and long-term goals?

This question shows that you're a team player and that you care about how you can contribute to the success of the company.

Bonus: What you should never ask during an interview

Now that we've covered the questions to ask a hiring manager, let's talk about what not to ask. As the interview draws to a close, you may find yourself in a mild state of panic, grappling for something - anything - to say. However, there are some questions that can do more harm than good. Here's a handful that you need to avoid.

  • Personal questions. You might feel as though you and the interviewer have a good rapport. You're getting along like a house on fire. However, that doesn't give you the right to ask them anything personal. This is a job interview, not a first date. The questions that you ask should pertain directly to either the job or the company. 
  • Questions about raises. Hold your horses - you haven't even got the job yet! If you go straight in there asking about the potential of a raise, you're going to make yourself look bad. While you may have spoken about the salary already, this question delves further than most interviewers would expect. Leave it out entirely. 
  • Irrelevant or “funny” questions. Now is not the time to break out your standup show. Unless you're interviewing to be a comedian, you don't need to ask a so-called funny question. This approach could backfire faster than you imagine. While some interviewers may enjoy the gag, others will question why you're wasting their time.
  • Questions about background checks. Are you trying to hide something? Many companies run background checks before they offer candidates new roles. You should presume that this is the case, anyhow. Asking whether the company carries out these checks will make you look suspicious at best. 
  • Office gossip questions. Did you hear a tasty piece of gossip in the waiting room? If so, keep it to yourself. The interviewer is unlikely to thank you for asking prying questions about company employees. You need to come across as professional. 

Final thoughts

This may seem like a lot to remember, but taking the time to prepare intelligent questions to ask at the end of an interview is your best path to success. By asking the right questions, you'll show the interviewer that you're professional and have a sincere interest in the role. You'll also find out everything you need to know about the job, so you can leave the interview with clarity on whether or not you're suited to the company.

Now it's over to you! Go ahead and choose a few questions from this list and take them with you to your next interview for your best chance at success.

Ready to level-up your career? Before you tackle your next interview, you need a strong CV that will get you there. Submit your CV for a free review and let the TopCV team tell you where you stand. Getting expert-backed insights on your application will make all the difference to your chances. This article was originally written by Rikki Wimmer and has been updated by Charlotte Grainger. 

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