The Top 25 Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

Top Job Interview QuestionsOne of the most frequent inquiries we get here at YouTern:

“What are the best questions to ask during a job interview?”

Although I hate answers to good questions that start with “It depends…” that is often where my brain goes when forming an answer. The reason is simple:  the answer really does depend on many variables, including your goals, sense of urgency and what matters most to you at that moment.

With that in mind, and broken down by the most common priorities for job seekers (including just getting the job!), here are my favorite questions to ask during a job interview:

Priority: Culture Fit

  • If you had to describe what it’s like to work here in 3 words, which would you choose?
  • From the top down, how would you describe the leadership style of the company?
  • What changes or improvements do you expect from the person who fills this position?
  • What challenges are most commonly associated with working here… and how can I best rise above those challenges?
  • Who are the super heroes working here now, and what do they do to earn that ‘S’ on their chest?

Priority: Longevity

  • Please walk me through the history of those who have filled this position… how long were they here, what did they do well, and what did they not do well?
  • Over the next five years, how will the work required of me contribute to the company’s mission?
  • Which competitor causes this company the most heartburn? How do we stack up against them?
  • What do you consider the biggest threat to this industry? Which company/competitor do you see tackling that threat best?
  • How will my success be evaluated and communicated? How is mutually-beneficial feedback informally communicated?

Priority: Testing the Recruiter’s Passion

  • When you first started working here, why did you choose this company?
  • Now that you’ve been here several years, how do you view the company differently… have your expectations been met?
  • As you look ahead to the next five years, what excites you most about the company?

Priority: Teamwork

  • What qualities and traits do your very best contributors share?
  • How could I immediately help the current team succeed?

Priority: Learning

  • Are there opportunities for training such as continuing education, company sponsored self-learning and MOOCs, understanding new technologies, etc.?
  • I’m a big believer in finding mentors, and mentoring others, myself; how does this company view mentorship (traditional, reverse, and mutually beneficial)?
  • What educational and experiential background did the person who held this position before me have? What steps would I need to take to best emulate his/her qualifications and success?

Priority: Getting the Job

  • In my first 90 days, what do I need to do to thoroughly exceed your expectations?
  • If I started tomorrow, what are my Top 3 priorities?
  • What changes or improvements do you expect from the person who fills this position?

Priority: Closing Well

  • What other questions can I answer for you today?
  • What are your timelines for deciding which candidate will be offered this position?
  • If I haven’t heard back from you by then, what is the best way to communicate with you without becoming a pest?
  • After our conversation today, what reservations do you have about my ability to do this job – and what might stop me from fitting in right away with the existing team?

As you decide which of these questions to ask, take into consideration not only your goals… but also what might most impress the recruiter, how you can best show you’re a great fit for the existing culture and how you can solve the problem the recruiter is trying to fix with this hire.

Your job, remember, is to ask such good questions that the recruiter – once you leave the room – says to herself: “Wow, she really did her homework… by far the best prepared, and most confident, candidate.”

Once you achieve that goal, you better be prepared to answer the most important question:

“Would you like to come work for us?”






About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” , HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and CareerBliss’ “Top 10 Gen Y Career Experts”. Mark is currently working on two new books: “A World Gone Social: How Business Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM, June 2014) with Ted Coine and “The Ultimate Guide to Internships (And Making Your College Years Matter Again)” (Allworth, September 2014). Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!



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