What Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview?
Asking high-quality, well-thought-out questions at a job interview is crucial to your success because it shows you have researched the company, demonstrates the value you would bring to the company, and that you are interested in working for them. So you may be wondering what questions to ask at the end of an interview.
Imagine you have completed the perfect interview. It is the most confident you ever felt in an interview and all your answers were on target. However, suddenly the hammer comes down and smashes all the good vibes you had about the interview. You get to the end and the interviewing manager asks you, “Do you have any questions for us?”
The worst answer you could give is “no,” “I can’t think of any” or “you have answered all of my questions.” All the good work you did in the interview will be lost and the interviewing manager will lose complete confidence in you. You will have also blown your opportunity to find out whether the company is a good fit for you.
Therefore, it is important to come prepared with questions to ask at the end of an interview that show the prospective employer you are informed, interested, and engaged in the company. So, what are the best questions to ask at the end of an interview? I will guide you through the best questions to ask, based on my expertise in supporting thousands of people to succeed at the interview stage as a Career Coach.
Questions that Show You Have Researched the Company
What questions to ask at the end of an interview to show you have researched the company
Ask questions that show you have researched the company and that you value its key principles. As a guiding template, questions to ask at the end of the interview that show you have researched the company are:
1. I read on your website that passion for creativity is one of your key principles. Does the organization have a procedure for sharing creative ideas?
2. I read on your ‘About Us’ webpage that one of your values is ‘world-class customer focus.’ How does this company ensure that it is better than its competition in customer focus? How can I help the company excel even more in this area?
3. I read in the job description that one of your key principles is ‘always learning.’ What opportunities does this organization provide for continued learning and how do you support the continuing professional development of your staff? Are further training opportunities funded by the company?
These questions show that you have researched the company, that you value their key principles, and are already thinking about how you can implement their key principles into your working practice. The company you are interviewing with may have different values or principles, but you can use these questions as a template to guide your questions.
Make sure your question relates directly to their values and key principles, but the above questions should help you to get your creative juices flowing. The key thing is that your question shows that you have researched the company and that you are exploring how your skills can bring value to the company and achieve the principles they are seeking to achieve. This will leave your interviewer with a very positive impression of you.
Questions to Assess Whether the Job is the Right Fit For You
What questions to ask at the end of an interview to assess whether the job is the right fit for you
Ask questions that show you have researched the company and you are exploring how you might fit within the company’s aims, values, goals, and plans for the future. Some of the best questions to ask at the end of an interview to assess whether the job is the right fit for you are:
4. I read in the newspaper that you are growing and expanding in X. In what other areas of the organization do you expect growth in the next 5 years
5. How will my role/skillset be utilized to support these areas of growth?
6. What career progression opportunities will be available within these growth areas?
These questions show that
- You are using various sources (including newspapers) to research the company and that you value them enough to take the time to research them extensively.
- You are interested in the growth and development of the company and you want to play an active role in ensuring the company’s goals are achieved.
- You are highly motivated and want to progress within the company.
- Finally, it helps you to see whether the job is the right fit for you and whether your skills would be valued and best utilized by the company.
Similar questions to ask at the end of the interview which you could consider are:
7. I read in the news last week that you made changes to X within the organization. What are the long-range plans for this organization?
8. How will my role/skillset be utilized to support the organization’s plans?”
These questions are important because they show that you researched to company, you are interested in how they are developing, interested in their long-term plans, and want to know how you might fit within these plans. They show you are a driven person who wants to play a key role in supporting the company to achieve its goals.
The questions also show that you have the confidence to take on the tasks and responsibilities needed to help the company achieve its plans. On the other hand, it gives you the opportunity to find out whether any of the organization’s future plans do not fit within your values, goals or future career plans.
Questions About the History of the Role and Organization
What questions to ask at the end of an interview about the history of the role and organization
It is a good idea to ask a question that shows you researched the history of the organization, and which also enables you to find out more about the history of the role and anticipated changes in the future. A couple of examples of questions to ask at the end of an interview about the history of the role and organization is:
9. I have read on your website the history of the organization and the ways it has changed in areas X, Y, and Z. I find the journey your organization has taken very interesting and see that it has evolved in amazing ways over the years. Can you tell me how this role has evolved?
10. What changes are anticipated for this role?”
These are useful questions to ask because they help you to find out from the beginning, before you make a commitment what changes are anticipated for the role, whilst demonstrating your interest in the role and your research. It is a sneaky way of finding out whether there are any changes that will be made to your role, which will either be of great benefit to you or which you will not like. It may also be a way of finding out whether there are any red flags in the history of the role.
Questions to Find Out Whether Previous Staff Were Happy in the Role
What questions to ask at the end of an interview to find out whether previous staff were happy in the role
To gain a flavor of whether previous staff was happy in the role or whether there are any risks or concerns you should be aware of, it is a good idea to ask a question that can provide clues in this regard. What you don’t want to do is move into a job you will be very unhappy in, especially if you are currently in a job that you are happy in. Questions to ask at the end of an interview to find out whether previous staff was happy in the role include:
11. Why is this position available? Is this a new role? If not, what did the previous staff member go on to do?
12. How long was the previous employee in this position?
13. Was the previous staff member happy and successful in this role?
14. Was the person who was previously in this role promoted into a new role?
15. Did the previous employee move on to a new company? If so, why did they leave?”
These questions provide a good way of finding out if there were any issues in the past, or to the contrary if someone was happily working in that role. This will help you to decide whether the job is the right fit for you.
Questions About Prospects for Promotion
What questions to ask at the end of an interview about prospects for promotion
It is important to know before you start working for a company whether there are good prospects for promotion and advancement in the company or whether you will likely be stagnant for many years due to a lack of promotion opportunities. It is also important to show your interviewer that you are motivated and want to know what it takes to get promoted. To address these areas, questions to ask at the end of an interview to find out whether there are good prospects for promotion include:
16. What are the prospects for promotion in the future?
17. What are some of the achievements and personal qualities you would consider important for promotion?”
18. What are the types of roles I could progress into?
19. What opportunities do you provide to help staff develop the skills and experiences they need for promotion?
20. What was your journey into the role you are in today?
21. What advice would you give to someone in this role regarding what it takes to progress within this organization and into a role like you have now?
These questions will show the interviewing manager that you are ambitious, motivated to achieve, want to learn, and want to keep progressing.
Questions to Demonstrate Your Desire to be a High Achiever
What questions to ask at the end of an interview to demonstrate your desire to be a high achiever
Use the opportunity to ask questions to show the recruiting manager that you desire to be a high achiever, that you want to meet the needs of the organization, that you value the manager’s direction and want to meet their expectations. It is important at the interview stage to already understand the manager’s expectations, so you can hit the road running when you start if you are selected following the interview, but also so you can know whether the manager’s expectations are realistic before accepting any job offers. Good questions to ask at the end of an interview to demonstrate your desire to be a high achiever include:
22. How could I impress you in the first three months, six months, and year?
23. What would you like me to focus on in the first three months, six months, and year?
24. What objectives or targets will my performance be evaluated against?
25. When carrying out my one-year performance review, what achievements would demonstrate that I met or exceeded expectations?
26. Could you tell me about the company’s methodology for performance reviews and how they are done?
27. How do you measure and evaluate success? How often is performance evaluated?
28. What distinguishes those who are good in this role from those who are exceptional at it?
These questions will demonstrate to the interviewer that you desire to aim high, are proactive about seeking the information and tools needed to be successful from day one and you desire to understand the performance review process. These questions show that you are taking personal responsibility for your work and your success.
Questions About the Culture of the Organization
What questions to ask at the end of an interview about the culture of the organization
It is critical to ask questions about the culture of the organization or company at the interview so that you can find out whether the employer and the role will be a good fit for you. As a career coach, I have encountered many people who regretted their new job, because they did not have enough information about the company, culture, and role before starting. They failed to ask the right questions at the interview and before accepting the role. Some good questions to ask at the end of an interview about the culture of the organization include:
29. What do you enjoy the most about working in this company?
30. How long have you worked here?
31. What attracted you to this organization?
32. Why did you decide to work here?
33. What kind of people really thrive here, and what type do not flourish?”
34. If you could change one thing about this company, what would it be?
35. What has been the biggest surprise about working for this company?
36. What do you wish you knew before joining this organization?
37. Can you describe the culture of the company?
38. How would you describe the management philosophy of this organization?
39. How would you describe the work atmosphere of this company?
40. What word or phrase would best describe this organization?
41. Is there a lot of diversity in the company? Is diversity celebrated?
The above questions will help you dig deeper into the culture of the employer, what makes them tick, to see if there are any warning signs or risk factors, and ultimately help you assess whether the company will be a good fit for you. You don’t want to have regrets later and then feel stuck in a role you do not like.
Questions About the Team
What questions to ask at the end of an interview about the team
Like the questions on the culture of the company, it is also imperative to ask questions about the team at the interview for similar reasons. You need to discern whether the team will be a good fit for you and whether you want to work in this team. We spend about a third of our day at work. If we do not get along with our team, then our work may be miserable. If our work is miserable, it can affect our whole life and interactions with family and friends outside of work. So, it is best to get it right from the beginning. Some good questions to ask at the end of an interview about the team include:
42. Can you tell me more about the team I would be working in?
43. What is the structure of the team?
44. Can you describe the strengths and weaknesses of the people who would be reporting to me?
45. Is there a lot of diversity in the team? How has diversity been championed to make the team better? Are diverse perspectives and ideas valued and sought out?
46. Can you describe the culture of the team I would be working in?
47. Can you describe the work atmosphere of the team?
48. Are people in the team competitive, supportive, and independent?
49. What word or phrase would best describe the team I would be working in?
The above questions provide different ways of gaining a flavor of what the team might be like. They explore what the team is like and what it would be like to work with them from different angles. It will help you to see whether the culture and style of the team fit with your personality, values, preferred working style, and philosophy of teamwork.
Questions About the Role
What questions to ask at the end of an interview about the role
One of the most essential questions to ask at the end of an interview are questions about the role itself. After all, this is the job you will doing day in and day out. You do not want to take a job just because it is higher pay, a promotion, it will give you status or you are desperate for work. You must also consider whether it is a good fit. Otherwise, you may not be successful in your new job, you may hate the role, you may push yourself back in your career rather than forwards, and you may have great regrets.
Sometimes people take a job they don’t like because they need work to survive or to support their family. This is understandable. However, if it is possible, you should try to discern whether the role is a good match for you. Asking questions about the role at the interview can assist you with this. Some good questions to ask at the end of an interview about the role include:
50. How would you describe a typical work week in this role?
51. Can you tell me more about the tasks or projects I would be working on? Do you have any examples to show me?
52. What are the most pressing tasks or projects that need to be tackled from day one?
53. What percentage of time will be devoted to each of my responsibilities?
54. What knowledge, skills, experiences and personal qualities are you looking for in the person who fills this role?
55. Are there gaps in knowledge, skills, and experience in the team that you are looking to fill with the person you offer the role to?
56. What have been the biggest challenges in this role in the past?
57. What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenges in this role in the future?
58. Will I be able to access admin support for my role?
59. Who will be managing me in this role?
60. What is the management style of the person I will be reporting to?
61. What kind of orientation is available to new employees?
62. What form of communication channels are available for communicating with management and with other staff?
63. Can you tell me more about the budget I will be working with?
Try to find out as much about the role as you can before accepting a job offer. The next time you are wondering what questions to ask at the end of an interview, the above questions can help guide you in asking the right questions about the role. Pick the questions which are relevant to the role, and which are most important to you.
Asking good questions at the interview, which are well thought out, will show the prospective employer that you are informed, interested, and engaged in the company, whilst also finding out whether the job is the right fit for you. Before your next interview, research your prospective employer extensively and use the above questions to guide you as you prepare questions for your interviewer.
Remember that interviews are a dialogue, so it is not necessary to save all your questions until the end of the interview. Also, be prepared that sometimes the interviewer may ask if you have questions in the middle of the interview.
To learn more about how to do well in an interview, you can read my interview tips.
If you would like to learn more about careers of the future, read my top picks for the best future careers.