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What questions should I ask in an interview?

CareerBuilder | May 12, 2022

Questions to ask in a job interview

Discover some of the best questions to ask potential employers in an interview to show them your interest in the position, with example answers.

Getting ready for a job interview involves more than dressing the part and coming prepared with examples of your excellent work history — you should also know what questions to ask during your interview.

“It's important for candidates to come prepared with questions in an interview to show they have thoughtfully prepared and are interested in ensuring the opportunity is the right fit,” says Liz Cannata, VP, Human Resources at CareerBuilder. Answering questions from potential employers is important during the interview process, but it's just as important to ask some questions of your own. Asking question can help you understand what exactly you'll be doing at the job while also showing employers that you're excited about succeeding in the position. Here we explore eight great questions that you can ask during an interview.

8 questions to ask an interviewer

Here is a list of questions you can ask in an interview setting, with descriptions of why to ask them and examples of potential employer responses:

How would you describe the company culture?

According to Forbes, company culture is becoming increasingly important for many employers. Asking this question demonstrates that you're interested in understanding the company culture and how it will affect your experience within the company. It's also an opportunity for you to gain insight into whether the work environment will be a good fit based on your goals and interests.

This question can also provide insight into the company's attention to employee diversity. A high-quality employer may take this question as an opportunity to uplift the diverse team of individuals that make up the company's culture and allow the organization to succeed.

Example response from the interviewer: "Our office culture is incredible, and we have a lot of fun together on a daily basis while working towards the same goal. There are many great things that the company offers its employees, including free snacks, weekly events and amazing company discounts."

Is there a good work-life balance?

Asking this question can allow you to understand the work environment and structure of the position to which you're applying. Work-life balance can be important for maintaining productivity and achieving personal life goals. Many professionals value their time with their loved ones and are looking for positions that allow them to cater to their families' needs while earning a living. Especially now, after many professionals are starting to return to the office, many companies are proud to offer employees a healthy work-life balance.

Example response from the interviewer: "We try our best to provide a comfortable work-life balance as we know that it's important for everyone in our office. We're fortunate enough to have many great people who create a very welcoming environment that make's it easy to enjoy being at work. We also understand that everyone has lives outside of work and so we prioritize breaks and paid time off for all of our employees."

What does success in this position look like?

You can ask this question to the interviewer to gain an understanding of what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. It's important to ask this question because it may help you determine if you're qualified for the job. It also shows the interviewer that you care about achieving success within the position. Employers are often interested in hiring candidates who understand the importance of the tasks associated with their positions. If an employer cannot answer this question adequately, then it might be a red flag that they wouldn't be setting you up for success.

Example response from the interviewer: "I expect you to have a significant impact on our sales and increase productivity within the first six months of employment. I want you to be the best salesperson we've ever hired, and I want to see your ideas thrive within the company. If you can do these two things, you'll quickly see success in this role."

Why did you join the company?

This question is appropriate and important to ask as it can allow you to understand the benefits of working for the organization for which you're interviewing. Asking this question can prove insightful and help determine if the environment is a good fit for you. It can also help you understand the company's reputation. For example, if you're interviewing for a job as a marketing manager, it's important to listen for genuine enthusiasm for the company and its mission in the answer to this question. This helps you understand what makes the company marketable to potential customers.

Example response from the interviewer: "I was working with a smaller company and decided that I wanted to gain more experience in the marketing field. I was also tired of dealing with the stress of everyday life at a small company. I wanted to work at a place that could provide me with new opportunities and people to meet daily along with having a great company culture."

What does a typical day look like?

Asking this question of an interviewer may help you gain an understanding of what your role will entail on a day-to-day basis. This can help you think about how you can use your experience and skills to excel within the position. It can also be good to ask as it helps you decide if the structure of the position is a good fit for you. For example, if the interviewer says, "every day is different," you may consider if you're comfortable with that level of unpredictability in a position.

Example response from the interviewer: "You'll be responsible for handling all aspects of our marketing campaigns. You'll be in charge of preparing materials, scheduling meetings and events, taking care of all marketing leads that are generated through our website and social media channels, and managing internal relationships within the company."

What happens when someone makes a mistake?

This question is helpful to ask, as it can help you understand the company's expectations and culture. It can also demonstrate that you care about your performance and commitment to the organization. This question helps you understand how serious mistakes are handled within the organization, and if the company's views on handling mistakes match your own.

Example response from the interviewer: "We offer great rewards for error prevention, but if any mistake is made in the workplace, we're sure to try our best to help fix it as soon as possible. We understand that while employees are in training, there are many minor mistakes that are unavoidable and are completely acceptable."

What is onboarding like?

Asking this question can be important as it helps you understand the company's relationship with its new hires. It can demonstrate that you're interested in being a part of the culture and want to understand the overall mission. It's also an opportunity for you to make sure that you're comfortable with the requirements of the position when joining the company. These can include things such as training or skills that need to be perfected prior to beginning work with the organization.

Example response from the interviewer: "We like to welcome our new hires by having them shadow current employees who have been working at the company for at least six months so that they're familiar with every aspect of their job. The new hires then go through a three-month training period in which they begin completing tasks after learning how to do them effectively."

How is performance measured?

Asking this question can allow you to gain an understanding of how the company evaluates its employees and potentially how — and how often — you'll be evaluated if you're hired for the position. Many organizations use different methods of evaluation, such as the management by objective (MBO) method, critical incident method, or 360-degree performance appraisal method. Understanding how you may be evaluated can help you decide whether the organization is a good match for your working style, career goals, and aspirations.

Example response from the interviewer: "We often evaluate employee performance based on their role within our organization using a 360-degree performance appraisal. We evaluate our sales team partly by their ability to schedule meetings and complete sales. All team members are evaluated on their contributions to the team along with their work output."

Though there are many more questions you can ask during an interview, this list can get you started and help you understand the importance of asking some of these basic questions. As you complete the interview process, you may come up with questions that are specific to the positions in which you're applying, in which case it's always a good idea to ask them.

If you have questions after an interview, it's always a good idea to get the email address of your interviewer and follow up with a thank-you note along with any additional questions. The more information you learn about a position, the more you can gauge whether you're likely to be successful and enjoy the job.


More tips for acing interviews:

View this interview infographic about how to get to the next round.

Learn how to explain that you got fired from a previous position.

Wondering how to best display your skills and experience? Learn how to build a perfect resume.

Looking to stand out in an interview? Here's how to distinguish yourself from other candidates.