You should be prepared to ask
thoughtful, relevant questions in an interview. What you ask
will demonstrate how much research you've done and how well you
understand the company or role. Anticipating the best time
and forum for different types of questions will add to your
credibility and the impression you make on the employer. It
is prudent to prepare four general kinds of questions so that they
can be adapted to the particular conversation:
- Broad Questions: these are "macro" level
questions regarding the organization's strategy and outlook. These questions should demonstrate that you have taken time to
research the industry, sector and firm and are thinking critically
about the future of the business. These are best asked of the
hiring manager or your most senior interviewer. Research
should be conducted not only on the firm's website, but also using
recent public relations statements, mass media mentions (e.g. Wall
Street Journal) and analyst reports (for public companies).
Privately held and smaller firms require more primary research
which may include talking with former employees or digging into
local or trade news sources.
Over the last couple of years,
Acme both divested two units and acquired a number of strategic
businesses – how has post-merger integration gone for the company? How has the strategy team been involved?
It seems that Dunder Mifflin has
been very successful at garnering higher margins even though this
is a commodity business. How are you forging such unique
- Role Specific Questions: these questions
pertain to your role, the team, division, clients or suppliers, and
can assist in determining where you could add value, what success
might look like and how/if you could influence the firm's
What are the key outcomes you'd
like to see in this role in the near term?
Who would I be
working most closely with and what are the most important
relationships I will need to build in this role?
- Personal/Fit/Culture Questions: these questions
range from managerial style to working environment to how things
really get done. Asking questions of would-be peers or
superiors about schedules, norms, business cycles and social
expectations can help you determine if you fit within the
I understand that travel is an
essential part of the work here at Stark Consulting, but can you
help me understand how engagements are staffed and what role you
play in determining consultant-to-client expertise?
How are things communicated and
- Process Questions: these questions are
necessary to understand the hiring process including how and when a
hiring decision will be made.
I am very interested in this
position. Is there anything you think might hinder my
I am exploring
several opportunities, but this role at Wonka Industries is my top
choice. What is your process and when should I expect to hear
from you regarding next steps?
Some questions are better dealt with
outside the interview, either in doing research about the firm, or
after you've gotten an offer.
The Ladders provides a number of
good, brief articles on the topic of interview questions here.