The Best Questions to Ask After an Interview

The Best Questions to Ask After an Interview

9 min read
The Best Questions to Ask After an Interview The d

The days before an important interview are nerve-wracking. How do you prepare for one? You need to be ready to give a great first impression —  the first seven seconds of the interview are crucial — and require some distinct answers for several typically asked questions to set yourself apart.

What is the best way to leave a lasting impression on a potential employer? Having a list of insightful questions to strike back to their stereotypical “do you have any questions?” closer. The answer is always “Yes — I do.”

In this blog post, we’ll discuss which questions will turn this awkward moment into a helpful one and how to interpret the answers you will be given after asking them. Read on to handle this moment to your profit, figuratively and literally.

Why are you asking your interviewer a question?

When you ask questions during an interview, it’s your small window to change seats and become the interviewer. You’ve tried to impress them, but it’s still fundamental to know if the position will benefit you. Take advantage of this moment to ask questions that align with your personal career, strategy, and goals.

byu/PM_MeTittiesOrKitty from discussion

This moment is also another chance to demonstrate you’re the right person for the position you’re applying for. Finally, it's a good chance to show appreciation without being too polite. If you say “Hey, yes, actually I do — thank you for asking,” you’re being unfeigned grateful, and your appreciation could make the recruiter’s day. You’ll never know.

After asking, always reply using the star method. A user via r/LifeProTips once wrote that when explaining anything, you should follow these steps to make a great impression:

  1. Situation: describe a situation that you’ve been in IRL.
  2. Task: explain your task.
  3. Action: how you would perform this task.
  4. Resolution: how did the above fix the challenge you were trying to meet?

Example: The employer said they needed someone with experience in Python.

  1. Situation — You tell them you’ve been programming in Python for three years, assisting in the creation of Google Bard.
  2. Task — “My previous employer, Alphabet, had a shortage of Python-capable staff, and I was tasked with troubleshooting errors within the existing team as I was the most experienced.”
  3. Action — I took it upon myself to train 2 teammates by showing how I corrected running errors.
  4. Resolution — With them, we shipped Bard under budget.

Let’s say you sent your resume because you were on an application binge. Then the interview is a great place to align yourself with the opportunity. Online users seem to agree that this can be the moment to determine what your strategy and goals might be. Do you see yourself in a position where you work directly with the public? As a leader? As a position of influence? The answers you have for these questions and others will help you to determine which questions you want to ask.

Another user recalls they look for the things they enjoy about their current position and team and ask questions to see if the job they're applying to offers a similar atmosphere. Most of us hope to know more about their culture. This is a perfect moment to see how an employer would answer differently from company reviews by other employees.

Questions to ask after the interview

“After the interview” means once the interviewer has finished with their questions and allows you to ask them anything. So, you’re face to face with them — these are not questions you should email. These are questions that will play to your advantage.

“What challenges will you face in the upcoming year, and what skills are needed to solve these challenges?”

When the interviewer answers back with skills you don’t have, use that to your advantage. Instead of avoiding talking about it, reframe this weakness in a way that demonstrates that you have what it takes.

“What are the most immediate projects this position would need to address?”

This question will give the interviewer the chance to be honest about the company’s problems. Watch out for their reaction and answer, as it will provide you with information about the company’s environment and the working lifestyle. Make use of the STAR method mentioned before to answer this one if the moment seems appropriate.

byu/PM_MeTittiesOrKitty from discussion

“Is there anything I can clarify regarding my qualifications or my background?”

This question is the key to leaving a good impression, and it will allow you to answer questions you may have not mentioned in some of your previous answers. You may also clarify something that had been misunderstood and taken the wrong way. Additionally, if they have no reservations about hiring you, this question is very efficient in highlighting that!

You’ll need to answer confidently after asking this question, as you would rather not seem insecure. If you’re convinced something about you is “embarrassing” but they don’t bring it up, is it as “bad” as you think? Probably not. This is a chance to show determination, but can also go wrong if you struggle with nervousness, so keep that in mind.

“In the scenario where I’m offered this position, what would you say is the most important function that I’d be performing?”

This question is great as it details the expectations of the job, it’s open-ended and allows the interviewer to talk. It also proves that you want to do things to get better at what you do.

“What kind of metrics would let me know I've done a good job?”

This one covers similar aspects as number 4. Both questions are great to ask for more information about the induction of new employees in a particular position. It also allows you to sell yourself as someone who’s in it for the long haul and not just going to spend a few weeks there before you take off for another job.

“What’s your favorite and least favorite aspect of working here?”

This question will surely throw the interviewer off a little … and their answer can throw you off as well. It’s a great question to see if the employer likes their job! Remember to take the answer with a grain of salt… you never know if the interviewer's dream was to be a basketball player and end up working at HR — their expectations may differ from yours.

Another variant to this question could be: “If I could snap my finger right now and change anything about your job or the company, what would it be and why?” For your interviewer’s sake, it better not be a group meeting with their superior lurking.

“How would you describe your management style?”

This is specifically for field managers; it might not help that much with recruiters. The question gives you an idea of how controlling–micromanaging–intense–freewheeling they may be. They should talk about how they would handle performance reviews with you, and how they expect the task and project updates to be handled.

“What are the common traits of the people who are successful in this company?”

This question will show your interviewer that you’re already taking notes on how to follow in the footsteps of their favorite employees because you need to add value, not just fill an opening.

Pick one thing the interviewer mentioned in the position and ask about a detail of it.

This will show you’ve been paying attention to the whole interview and that you’re interested in the role.

“If I asked your direct reports about your management style, what do you think they’d tell me?”

A user shared that she once asked this question and the hiring manager personally emailed her to say no one ever asked him that question; she got the job, naturally. It will give you insight into how the company treats its employees.

“What’s your average ticket like, or, what’s your expected revenue in the next fiscal year?”

You can make this one if you’re speaking to a startup founder. The average ticket is the Business Development way of saying how much an average deal amounts to. So if it’s a SaaS company you’re about to join, the founder, Sales Officer, or CFO will all be impressed by your willingness to help them achieve what the VCs are requesting from them: Revenue.

That’s the second side to the question. If you would rather not enter sales territory, you can ask how much they intend to grow. The people running the startup dream about these figures and discussing them will get you on the top of mind compared to other more introverted programmers, to give an example.

The questions to avoid asking after an interview

byu/19chevycowboy74 from discussion

Is the stereotypical HR worker a bodybuilder? I think not. Would they laugh at this? Probably, but you wouldn’t get far from that interview. (You can always check what company culture looks like to understand if you can throw this one in).

Try avoiding questions that focus on what the company can do for you — for example, salary and holiday allowance. If you’re worried about these, try some breathing exercises and save these questions for the moment you get a job offer.

Stay away from questions that require a yes or no answer, as you'll surely find these on the company’s website. Be careful when talking about things that have already been discussed during the interview, as you don’t want them to think you weren't paying attention.

Here are some example questions that you shouldn’t be asking:

Turning a question about your experience into why you want to work for them and what they have to offer you.

This massive shift can make you look arrogant in a matter of seconds. HR professionals are pretty straightforward about these attitudes:

byu/SaintBenny138 from discussion

Here’s how you can shape the question differently: “What are the advantages of working at your company, relative to working for the competition?” It’s still a bit bold to claim that, but if you’re confident it will play to your advantage, you’re welcome.

“When will you be making a decision?”

Everyone asks this question. The interviewer will get tired of answering this. Trust me, you'll know if you’re the one they’re hiring. Moreover, the C-levels are also burrowing the HR professional in with questions of these kinds. With so many stakeholders, better to try to side with the recruiter, not go against them.

“Are any other jobs open?”

Never lose focus on the position you’re applying for. Did you care to check their Careers page at least?

“Can I work from home?”

Some employers may offer hybrid workspaces, but these details are often clear in the job descriptions. These types of questions will make you look uninterested in engaging with the team. If you’re asking this in an interview, it’s either because they put together a lousy job description or because you didn’t check the listing.

“How quickly can I be promoted once I get the job?”

Again, you lose focus on the position you’re applying for and demand information that only employed workers can be granted.

Taking information from everywhere

You should not only focus on asking great questions that impress the interviewer. Take this opportunity to weigh the interviewer’s answers. These can make a great impact on your decision and help you see if the job you’re applying to and the company, in general, reach your expectations. After all, what's better than to get insight from a person who is already working there?  

Watch out for details. Is the interviewer eager to answer your questions? Does it seem like they want to get something off their chest when you ask them about the company’s environment? Does their answer seem rehearsed and lifted from a tape recorder?

If you question what are some things that they would like to change about their job, watch out for answers that aren't related to the actual job function, for example: “I wish I had more WFH days” or “I would have more company outings”. Imperfections are a good sign because anything that’s allegedly perfect will wound up being more hellish than heavenly. There’s always room to improve.

Keep an eye out for the interviewer’s demeanor and body language during the process. If they seem down, stressed, or concerned, this is a great indicator of what kind of environment you’ll be working in. Ask depending on what you see. Always try to ask them to give a couple of examples of positions a roles people got after working in that position, if they can't answer that — red flag 🚩.

The questions you ask here will surely help you in the future, especially if you get more than one job offer, and it’s your turn to let one down.

Any questions? — Yes!

The post-interview questions are one of the most decisive moments of the interview. You can showcase your greatest strengths while getting some extra information about the job that you’re applying for.

So, if the interviewer asks you: “Do you have any questions” avoid the involuntary eye roll at all costs and use this moment to your advantage. The answer should always be: “Yes, I do — thanks for asking.” We’re always collecting company reviews, so you can understand how colleagues have fared on interviews, asking questions or not. Check them out before you jump into your next Zoom interview. And remember to practice the “Yes” follow-up. Good luck!

[10:27 AM]