Interviewing is a 2-Way Street

By Darren Kaltved | April 13, 2021

Interviewing can certainly provoke anxiety in any job applicant, but if you approach each interview as if it were a 2-way street – where you are not only the interviewee but also the interviewer – your anxiety will decrease and your confidence with certainly increase. Whether at the end of the interview or throughout the interview, interviewers often offer you the opportunity to ask questions about the job and/or organization. They expect you to ask questions about the company, department and the job role. Below are a few top reasons why asking questions during the interview is vital!

Get an Offer – The number one focus of every activity in the interview should be to make sure that you are extended an offer. In the first interview this means that your goal is to be invited back for a second interview. In the final interview, you want to get an actual offer either directly or afterwards. Asking questions during the job interview can in every stage help you get closer to that offer. Some employers will straight-up disregard candidates who have not prepared questions to ask.

Analyze Job Fit & Ability to Perform – Although the most important thing in an interview is to position yourself as the best candidate and get extended an offer, it is also very important to weigh in your own considerations; your own personality and needs. Questions are one of the best ways to better understand whether the job is a fit. If you ask questions and truly listen to the answers, you will be able to evaluate whether this opportunity makes sense for you.

Evaluate Career Opportunities – Asking interview questions to ask during the interview will help you evaluate the future career opportunities this role may lead to. You can for example ask about the career development of previous employees in this role and thus get an indication of how this position racks up in the organization.

Improve Interview Success Rate – Asking questions during an interview can provide you with essential information that other candidates may not have. You can then better steer your interview to ensure that you highlight your skills in light of the most important criteria. Getting answers to your questions can help you improve the potential success rate and thus should be a part of your preparation work.

For starters, here is a list of a few questions to consider asking in any interview:

  1. How can I quickly become a strong contributor within your organization?
  2. How will my performance be evaluated?
  3. What are the most challenging aspects of the job?
  4. How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
  5. If hired, and after having completed my internship experience or first-year on the job it was determined I was the best ever hired in this role, what would that look like?
  6. What will have happened a year from now that will tell you that I have met your expectations
  7. What are your expectations for someone in this role/job?
  8. What do you see as the critical success factors for this job in the next 60 days?
  9. What are some of your top initiatives you hope to accomplish in the next year or two, and how do you see this position contributing to those initiatives?
  10. What makes my potential co-workers enjoyable to work with?
  11. What opportunities would be available for additional training, experiential learning, or professional development?
  12. What is the typical career path for this position?
  13. How would you describe the company culture?
  14. What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
  15. Where are you in the hiring process? What are the next steps in the process? When can I expect to hear back?
  • How Many Questions Should I Ask?
    There is no general rule governing the amount of questions you can ask. You need to use your own common sense to evaluate the situation. Prepare 10-15 questions prior to the interview. Some will either be answered from the interviewer without you asking, or you will be provided the opportunity to ask some questions earlier in the process. One example would be when your question is a natural follow-up question to a question asked by the interviewer. At the end you probably do not have time for more than three questions that are meant to stimulate discussion. Questions that are more of a no or yes nature, can be helped to tick check boxes, but does not really transport your value. In general you should avoid yes/no questions. This will give you more data to analyze. Rank your questions as well, so that you know which ones you definitely need to ask if you are pressed for time.
© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement