Questions to ask in the job interview

I recently read an interesting article titled “The Most Impressive Interview Questions.” This article provided a look at the types of questions that interviewees have asked employers (and some that employers wish interviewees would ask) and highlighted ones that employers found to be impressive, memorable, and reflective of a serious commitment to the job at hand.

While I won’t go into detail about those questions (you can read the employers’ rationales in the article), I will list them here, along with the author’s idea of the best question, and then add a few of my own suggestions. With this list in hand, those of you going on job interviews this spring should be well prepared when you get to that part of the interview where it’s your turn to ask questions.

1. What news skills can I hope to learn here?
2. How do you see this position evolving in the next three years?
3. What can I help to clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?
4. How can “X” scenario move “Y” idea forward?
5. If you could improve one thing about the company, what would it be?
6. What’s the most frustrating part of working here?
7. Who’s your ideal candidate and how can I make myself more like them? (The English teacher in me asks you to ignore the grammatical and punctuation errors in this one.)
8. How did you get your start?
9. What is holding the company back?
10. What keeps you up at night?
11. What concerns/reservations do you have about me for this position?
12. How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission? (Note the subliminal assumption that the interviewee has already gotten the job!)

I agree that these can make good questions, depending on the organization and the position for which you are interviewing. Other good possibilities that I would suggest include:

• What would a typical day/week be like for someone in this position?
• What would you see as a logical next career step for someone in this position?
• What professional organizations are relevant to someone in this field?
• What would be the makeup of project teams? That is, what other roles within the organization would I be interacting with on a regular basis?
• What is the chain of command for this position?

Always keep in mind that an interview is a two-way street: They want to see how you can contribute, and you need to find out if it’s the type of organization where you’d enjoy working. You may want to add other questions that can contribute to your understanding of the organization’s mission and culture if those were not made clear during your pre-interview research or the interview process itself.