The BEST Interview Questions

Since I’ve been actively searching for jobs and interviewing for about 6 months, I thought I’d share some of the best interview questions that I ask prospective employers almost every time. I often try to personalize the questions as much as possible based on my pre-interview research.

General Questions

  1. How long has this position been vacant?
  2. How would you describe the company’s structure?
  3. How would you describe the company’s culture?
  4. How does this role interact with other departments?
  5. How long have you worked for this company?

Hiring Manager Questions

  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge for this role?
  2. What are the most important responsibilities for this role?
  3. Is there a typical day in this job, and if so, what does it look like?
  4. What is your vision for the company / department?
  5. Could you provide an example of projects for the areas outlined in the job description?
  6. Describe your management style.
  7. What excites you about coming to work each day?
  8. How do you evaluate performance?
  9. What are your short term / long term goals for this position?
  10. What are specific skills that are important to be successful on this job?

Colleague Questions

  1. Tell me about your role here.
  2. How will this position affect you?  Your group / department?
  3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
  4. What do you least like about your job?
  5. What types of issues are considered critical by your manager?

What do you think of this list?  What’s your favorite interview question?

Stay tuned for future posts on my job search!

 

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12 thoughts on “The BEST Interview Questions

  1. I must say I oddly enjoy the process of interviewing. In the social media/marketing sphere there’s so much about “storytelling,” it’s nice to have a meaningful story prepared. Mine – about my homemade gazpacho fail. I didn’t pay attention to the quality of ingredients, the big batch was ruined. I was so excited but hadn’t prepared well, etc… I guess I enjoy the social interaction of interviewing. Kind of like a date for someone who’s been married for years and years?

    Good luck to you in your job hunt.

    • I love the analogy! I agree, it IS exciting to interview again, after being at the same job for close to 5 years! Actually getting to the interview can be tough, but once you’re there, it CAN be fun. I have had some very conversational interviews lately vs. the “firing squad” of asking questions.

      Thanks for commenting – and for the well wishes in my job hunt!

  2. Great questions. They show a potential employer that you do your research and are very prepared. I have a question for you that was the subject of a debate with some of my job-seeking friends: When is the best time to ask about the salary range?

    I’d love to get your input.

    • Thanks! As for your salary question, I TRY to delay that conversation until a face to face interview – ideally a second interview. I typically say, “I’d like the time to review my background and qualifications before discussing salary.” However, I did have a few jobs where I applied (and was beyond the years of experience), and the salary question came up in the phone interview. They shared what they were able to pay first, and it was well below my requirements.

      Long answer short, I prefer to delay the conversation if possible, but if it comes up sooner, or you can’t delay it, just know your worth and aim high!

      • I really like this discussion so I thought I’d share my two cents on salary and add another interview question.

        On the topic of salary – I’ve found in the past I’m asked about salary range on phone screens if the hiring company is looking to ask on the lower end of requirements, typically a nonprofit. Otherwise I try to stay clear of this and let the interview process move forward. If after a few interviews it seems like a great fit, then it’s a great time to negotiate salary as well as expectations for work/life balance. I feel like if they really like you, you’re more likely to get what you’re asking for. In the meantime I like to research salary on sites like Glassdoor.com.

        I just finished “Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg shared a great question someone asked her once that impressed her – “what problem do you have that I can solve for you?,” or something to that effect.

      • It’s funny you bring up non-profits, because I was asked about salary requirements from a non-profit via email. I deferred until we talked on the phone and was told their $ range. While we realized we were too far apart, I still appreciated being to make a professional contact with that organization, and suggested that I could be available for consulting. Typically though I would prefer to wait until the recruiting process progresses to bring up salary and job flexibility. Yes, I agree, if they like you, you have a stronger negotiation base! Plus, ask up front, vs. waiting to try to change the job situation after you’re hired.

        Nice, I have never checked out Glassdoor.com. I’m always up for another resource online!

        Good question from “Lean In” too! Essentially what you’re doing as a potential candidate IS solving their problems (need for a person to do work), but by being prepared and excited with potential solutions can really set you apart from all the rest!

        I enjoyed several blog posts from Breadwinning Mama on Sheryl Sandberg’s book (though I have yet to read it). You may want to check out this one – http://breadwinningmama.com/2013/03/13/have-i-leaned-back-in-my-career-yes-and-no/

        Thanks for adding to the discussion! I have enjoyed the feedback on this topic too!

  3. As someone who used to conduct a LOT of interviews, these are fantastic questions. In my opinion, the best interviews were conversational and involved questions from both sides of the interview table. When a potential employee asks questions, you gain important insight into the way he/she thinks and it shows that they are interested in the position and the company. Good luck in your search!

    • Thanks – yes, I HATE one-sided type interviews. Conversations are the best because you are BOTH learning about one another and the company. I actually talked with a hiring manager, and at the end of our time, she realized that we covered a lot just in talking, but asked if there were any questions I had that we didn’t discuss. It was great!

  4. Pingback: HIRED! 5 Keys to Getting my Job | go mama o

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