“Do you have any questions for me?” is one simple question that often throws interviewees for a loop. Instead of feeling overwhelmed when this inevitable question comes your way, take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the company and its role. We’ve outlined 12 job interview questions you should ask for each stage of the interview process so that you’re never left speechless.
Phase 1: Screening/Phone Interview
The first phase of the interview process is typically a screening or phone interview that includes a brief conversation, followed by a few quick questions to determine eligibility for the role. To prepare for this call, read up on the company and decide what job interview questions you should ask ahead of time. Consider asking questions similar to these:
- Is this a new role, or will I be taking over for someone who is leaving? Knowing the nature of the position you’re interviewing for might change your perspective or influence some of the questions you ask later on. It’s good to ask this early so you can determine the type of hat you’ll be wearing if you get the job.
- What are the common attributes of your top performers? Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Asking this question can give you insight into the candidate the company is looking to hire.
Phase 2: Skills Test
Depending on the company, the next phase of the interview process could include a skills test to verify your knowledge and performance abilities. This phase may be entirely virtual, so plan to email your point of contact to notify them once you’ve completed your test with the following questions:
- What does the performance review process look like here? Asking this question after completing a skills test shows that you care about your performance and are receptive to feedback. You should also follow up on this question by asking how often management will formally evaluate your efforts.
- Will there be opportunities to learn new skills? A smart candidate lets the company know early on that growth and development are at the forefront of their mind. Be sure to mention your competence when it comes to learning new skills.
Phase 3: In-person Interview
The in-person interview phase includes a 1:1 in-office or virtual meeting with the hiring manager. This is your opportunity to dive a little deeper into the role and get your position-specific questions answered. Here are a few of the specific job interview questions you should ask:
- What are a few things that drive the company? Make it known that you want to know what truly makes a difference in the company. This will let the hiring manager know that you are dedicated to the company’s success as much as your own.
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days? Prove that you’re a candidate who’s ready to hit the ground running. Take detailed notes and emphasize your desire to get started right away.
- How do you plan to deal with ___? Every business faces significant challenges. If there’s a particular setback taking place in the industry, like supply chain bottlenecks or data breaches, ask about those challenges specifically.
Phase 4: Group Interview
Oftentimes, companies want potential candidates to meet additional team members to further evaluate the job and culture fit. Prepare questions that will allow you to get to know the organization better and the people you’ll be working closely with:
- How would you describe the work environment here? This question will give you an idea of the company culture directly from the employees who contribute to it. Take note of the body language and expressions of each employee who is answering to gauge authenticity.
- What resources are in place to encourage employee development? The answer to this question may differ depending on the person answering. Hopefully, the employees will be able to provide honest feedback on training, conferences, and other opportunities that encourage growth.
- What direction do you see the company heading in? Get a gauge on whether or not the company has clear goals outlined. And on whether or not the employees are involved and actively working to reach those goals.
Phase 5: Group Presentation
There’s a chance that the final round of your interview process will require a presentation on a topic of the hiring manager’s choice. At this point, the hiring team will have a good idea of who you are and the skills you’ll bring to the table. Leave the hiring manager with these remaining questions:
- Is there any other information I can provide you that would help make a decision? Let the interviewer know that you are open to answering any other questions you may not have covered previously.
- What are the next steps? To hold the hiring manager accountable and give yourself a sense of structure, be sure to outline the next steps of the process together. This should include the timeline for when the company plans to make a decision and how soon they will let you know of that decision.
Interviewing is, without a doubt, one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in life. It pays to be prepared every step of the way. If you’d like a little extra information to help you feel at ease, we recommend reading about Why Recruiters Are Your Key To Successful Interview Preparation.