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How to Ask Questions on a Job Interview

Updated on February 12, 2019
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah is a published writer, mother, and grandmother who writes on diverse topics, including financial info, homemaking, gifts, and more.

With a Few Smart Moves - You are More Likely to Have Success on Your Job Interviews

If you want to make a good impression, and have a successful interview, you need to be prepared to ask a couple of questions.
If you want to make a good impression, and have a successful interview, you need to be prepared to ask a couple of questions. | Source

Try to Ask the Interviewer Questions

If you want to make a great impression at your next job interview, you need to do more than simply answer the questions that they ask you. Although it is important to be ready to say a little about yourself, you also need to be prepared to ask the interviewer some questions about the company and the job for which you are applying. Once the interviewer has had a chance to ask you some questions, and chat with you a few minutes about your family and hobbies, at some point they will probably ask if YOU have any questions. Far too many prospective employees simply say, “No.” You will seem much more interested in the job if you take this opportunity to ask the right questions.

Below you will find the types of questions you should, and should not, ask!

Ask the Interviewer to Describe the Job

One of the best ways to make a good impression is to ask the interviewer to tell you more about what your duties would be, if you are hired. You can start by asking, “Could you tell me a bit more about the position?” If they just answer with a phrase or two, ask them more detailed questions. For example, if they tell you that they will train you, be enthusiastic and ask them to describe the training. If they say that the position involves sales, ask them to tell you a little about the products you’ll be selling.

In fact, if you have prepared well for the interview, you should already know what the product is and be prepared to talk a little about it. Ask them if you can see the product or how it has been improved recently. Demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in what you will be selling.

You will make an especially good impression if you make it obvious that you have done a little research on the company, particularly if you emphasize the positive. You could say, "I noticed that the company's stock has been doing well lately, does this mean that an employee could have a lot of future opportunities?" Other related questions could be:

"Do you anticipate the company expanding into new areas ... either locations or products?

Depending on the situation, you might even ask if they would be able to show you around after the interview. This is a wonderful opportunity to extend the interview and build more rapport with the interviewer. Continue asking an occasional question about what you are seeing ... although you don't want to pepper them with so many questions that you become annoying. Asking between two to five questions during your first interview should be adequate to show your interest.

The bottom line is that you need to show you are very interested in this business, this particular company and, if it applies, specifically in working for this specific division or office.

Never Worry Again About Those Tough Questions

Rockstar Your Job Interview: Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions Ever
Rockstar Your Job Interview: Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions Ever
This book is so helpful, that we gave it to our daughters when they were applying for their first jobs after college. It helped them prepare to answer questions they never thought about before. It can also be useful for people who are changing careers and are having trouble explaining their reasons to prospective employers.

Ask the Interviewer About Your Duties

Some of the questions you may want to ask the interviewer are “What is a typical workday like?” or “Are there opportunities for advancement?” If they have not already described your duties, this is your chance to ask about them.

You might also want to ask about the technology or computer programs they use. Show that you know a little bit about using these programs, if that is true, and that you are interested in learning more about it. Just mentioning that you are familiar with Excel, you know how to maintain a website, or that you are proficient with other types of software that are common in that business could be very helpful in landing the job.

Even if you have already mentioned some of these skills in your resume, it will benefit you to talk specifically about some of your strengths.

Be a Good Listener at the Job Interview

When you ask questions, you should be polite and listen carefully to the answer. Don’t jump in too quickly. Very few people are good listeners, and people who are good listeners tend to make a good impression.

In fact, I cannot stress too much that you need to listen completely to what the interviewer has to say. If you jump in and interrupt them, you will definitely do yourself much more harm than good.

Be Polite and Honest

Do not work negatives into your interview, unless you are asked. Then, be honest and forthright.

For example, if there will be times when you absolutely will not be able to work, such as for religious reasons or to attend night classes, it is perfectly acceptable to let the employer know in advance. At the same time, you need to give them something in return. Let them know that you are willing to work other holidays, or some evenings, in order to make up for the time you will miss. Be direct and honest, but also show your willingness to be a team player.

Avoid Asking the Interviewer about Vacations and Leave

There are, of course, certain questions that you should probably avoid asking at your interview. For example, this is not the time to ask what holidays you’ll have, how much vacation time you’ll get, or other questions that may lead them to believe that you’re just looking for an easy paycheck. In addition, if you are going to be working for a restaurant or store that is open on weekends, do not immediately ask if you can take off on Saturday night, or some other busy time. Do not ask about the consequences of tardiness, or what happens if you take off because your children are sick. You will make it sound as though you could be unreliable. Although situations will inevitably come up from time to time, it is better to wait until you have actually been hired and started working before you mention these issues. This will give you a chance to first prove that you are reliable and a hard worker.

If you are concerned about sensitive issues, such as vacation time, sick leave or raises, you can ask the interviewer if they have an employee handbook you can look over. This will show your interest, and the handbook will probably answer most of your questions.

Here's Is a Highly Rated Book to Help You Ace that Interview!

When Can You Start? 2014: ACE the Job Interview and GET HIRED
When Can You Start? 2014: ACE the Job Interview and GET HIRED
This is another book which our daughters found helpful when looking for jobs. They found that preparing well for the interview process made them much more comfortable.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Deborah-Diane


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