Getting an interview is an exciting step in the application process for any opportunity, whether it’s a summer internship or full-time job. Interviews allow a company to get a better understanding of you as a candidate beyond your resume. They also give you the chance to show some of your personality, helping the company determine if you would be a good fit for their corporate culture.
Often, there can be a lot of pressure to do well and make sure you have all the right answers. It’s important to remember that interviews are a two-way street and though it might feel intimidating, they are also a great opportunity for you to interview the company at the same time to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Whether your interview is virtual, in-person, behavioral, or technical, the opportunity to ask questions at the end of your interview will help you better understand the company, its culture, and what your experience might be if you end up working at the company. It’s important to ask the right questions that will demonstrate your interest to your interviewer(s) and help you learn something you might not otherwise have known. Asking smart questions can also help you make a positive impression on your interviewer and help you stand out in the field of interviewees.
Questions can be about a variety of topics, including the interviewer, the company culture, the industry they work in, and the role you are applying for specifically. Below, we’ll go through a list of questions you can ask and what they are most helpful for.
What brought you to [this company] and what has made you stay here when other opportunities presented themselves?
This question pushes your interviewer to really think about what makes their company unique and better than other opportunities they may have been interested in. This answer is likely to be more genuine than asking “What is your favorite part of the company?” and will give you insight into what the interviewer thinks makes their current employer different from other companies.
What would a “day in the life” look like for me in this role?
This question can give you a lot of insight into what your daily tasks will look like beyond the position’s description and help you determine if that is something you are interested in doing. If you are interviewing with someone who has knowledge of the role, this is also a great question to ask so they can begin to visualize you in the position. By personalizing the question, they are more likely to see you as a good fit for the role.
What is something that surprised you when you started working at [this company] or that was unexpected when you first joined?
This question can help you learn something that you might not have been able to find out by looking through the company’s website or even talking to a recruiter. By asking your interviewer about something unexpected or surprising, you can avoid being surprised by it if you have the opportunity to work at the company too. Their response can give you an idea of how the onboarding process prepared them for the work they were doing in their first few weeks.
How would my performance be evaluated while working at [this company]?
This question helps identify what the company’s priorities are when it comes to its employees and the work they do. You’ll learn how they assess their employee’s performance and how often do managers and employees interact, as well as whether you would feel the opportunity to be successful in the position.
What are some current company goals and how does your work fit into achieving those goals?
This question is a great two-part question to learn about what the company is focused on doing in the short-term and how involved employees feel in achieving them. The company’s goals can give you a good idea of what is important and how the company wants to grow. The interviewer’s response about their work may indicate how connected they feel to the company-wide culture and direction.
Based on my performance during this interview, do you have any questions or doubts about my qualifications for this role?
Ending your interview with this question pushes your interviewer to reflect on the entirety of the interview and can give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns they may have if needed. By reinforcing your qualifications, the interviewer will leave feeling good about the interview and you as a candidate best suited for the opportunity you have applied to.
In my experience, using these questions at the end of the interview helped me connect with the interviewer(s) and get a better understanding of the company and the opportunity itself. I also felt more confident in my performance while interviewing and didn’t feel overly stressed about how I did during the interview.
The key to asking the right questions is to make sure they are addressing things you really care about and want to understand about the company. Asking these questions in a creative way can help you get a better insight into the company, the culture, and the role you are applying for.