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The Complete List of Essential Questions to Ask an Interviewer

You’ve got questions, your interviewer has answers. Take advantage!

You're on your way to landing your next job, or your first job, and all's going well. You've applied for positions, and fortunately, you've been contacted to schedule an interview. Woo-hoo! You can begin doing your happy dance.

That is until you think twice and realize you're only part way down the path to landing your dream job. Now you have to knock their socks off to stand out amongst the other job candidates during your interview.

In a 2015 Candidate Behavior Study by CareerBuilder, 67 percent of employers surveyed said that "less than half of all candidates make it through the phone interview or initial screening but are eliminated after a poor in-person interview." But don't sweat it. This won't be you. You've got this. You're researching all the questions you might be asked, and you're ready to answer any questions that come your way. You also know—unlike many other job applicants—to prepare some questions for the interviewer(s) too.

By asking the right questions, you'll stand apart from the competition.

Below I've shared some questions to ask the interview that are sure to make them smile. Why? From experience, many applicants don't think to ask questions that require thought and show sincere curiosity and care. By asking the right questions, you’ll stand apart from the competition. It can be difficult to know what will work and what won’t, so we’re sharing a list of the best questions to ask an interviewer.

The reason for asking the questions below should be self-explanatory, and you'll notice that most require some thought and more than a yes or no answer.

Questions about your future manager or the interviewer:

What's your favorite part about working here?

Why did you choose this career and industry?

What's your leadership style? What's my future manager's leadership style?

What are some of your biggest worries or challenges these days? What keeps you up at night?

How did you get your start with your career? How long have you been with the company?

What has your career path looked like? Is there anything you'd do differently?

What have been some of your biggest challenges during your career? How did you, or do you, deal with them?

What do you feel has made you successful working here?

What is your preferred way of communication? Email, phone, in-person?

Questions about the position and team:

What are the three biggest challenges your team faces when working with other groups within the organization? What do you do to minimize the challenges?

If hired, what would be the two to three priorities to focus on for this position in the coming year?

What traits does the perfect candidate for this position possess?

What prompted you to hire for this position?

Are you looking to hire someone with the skills and experiences to do the job out of the gate, or are you open to hiring and training the right candidate for this position?

What are the key positions and groups that I would be working with? What are the leadership or personality types of those people and groups?

I've worked with larger corporations in the past (or smaller companies, non-profits, etc.). That being the case, do you think I'll be successful with an organization such as yours?

What is the single largest problem facing your team today?

What was the individual like who previously held this position?

How long has the position been open?

Why has the position been open for so long?

What is the work schedule like? Is it flexible, set-in-stone, or are there options?

What is the approval process for projects and tasks for this position and within the group?

Can you tell me a bit about the team I will be working with?

Do you have any reservations about my qualifications? (This is a gutsy one!)

What is a typical day, week, or month like for someone within this position?

How are goals and objectives set for this position?

What is the toughest time of the month or year for someone in this position?

How can I grow in this position?

What can you tell me about the position that isn't listed in the job post?

What's the main reason someone could fail in this position?

In an ideal world, what's the anticipated start date for this position?

What's the timeline for making a decision on this position? When would be a good time for me to follow-up with you?

Questions about the organization:

What types of individuals are successful here?

What's your company culture like?

What type of performance review process does the organization have? How can I maximize the benefits of the process as an employee?

How and when is feedback provided to employees?

What is your reward and merit system like? Do you have a reward system based on performance? What types of rewards do you offer employees? What types of achievements or traits are rewarded?

What types of advancement opportunities are there within the group and company?

What type of information is shared with employees? Is revenue, profits, expenses, salary ranges, etc. shared?

How much exposure do we get to the top executives within the organization? Is there an open door policy within the organization?

What type of training or educational advancement does your organization offer or encourage?

What is the single largest problem facing the organization today?

What has been the top accomplishments of the organization over the past year?

How does your company handle the generational gap that's evident in today's workplace? How do you handle or work with generational differences, such as communication gaps?

What can you tell me about your organization's plans for new services, products, or plans for growth?

What types of volunteer work and community service does the organization encourage?

How many employees have you hired in the past year? How many experienced vs. new hires have you hired?

What is your attrition rate for the organization?

Be yourself and be authentic when asking and answering interview questions, and you'll do great.

Preparing interview questions to ask the interviewer is just as important as preparing to answer the questions you're asked. Take your time, and be thoughtful with your answers and questions. Use good judgment as to how many questions to ask, as well. If time feels like it's flying by and the interviewer is engaged in your discussion, then keep asking questions until you feel it's time to stop. It's best to go in with at least three to five questions to ask in an interview, and take it from there.

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Landing your dream job starts with the right plan.

Download your free action plan now to get the job you deserve.

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Land your dream job.

Landing your dream job starts with the right plan. Download your free action plan now to get the job you deserve.