Let’s get one thing clear: an interview is a two-way street (=a process with two active participants). It’s not just about the questions you answer but the questions you ASK. Having questions prepared for the interviewer shows that you are serious about being part of the team and are not afraid to take the initiative (=show leadership).
Which questions should you ask though? And how can you go about asking them? We give in-depth answers to these and many more questions in our Interactive Workbook. But if you need a quick recap of the key points, buckle up (=get ready), and let’s dive into the topic.
If you've already received your baptism by fire (= when you learn something the hard way) as an interviewee, you probably know that the interview process usually consists of two main stages: an HR interview and a technical interview.
Pro tip: During your very first interview, try to find out as much information as you can about the company and the people who work there.
Many candidates feel too nervous and awkward and forget to ask any questions whatsoever. However, there are many reasons why you should prepare a list of questions for your first interview.
First, you will save time (both yours and the recruiter’s) if you can identify how well your values and vision match those of the company. Why move on to a technical interview if there’s something about the company and its culture that just doesn’t agree with you?
Second, failure to ask questions might be seen as a sign of indifference and “not taking it seriously”. After all, companies like to hire people who are engaged and contribute from the get-go (=from the very beginning).
And so you finally get asked: “Do you have any questions for us”?
“Sure, I do”! Here are 25 question ideas you are encouraged to consider.
Obviously, you don’t have to ask precisely these questions. Feel free to modify them slightly (=a little bit) based on your specific situation. The purpose (=goal) of this list is simply to inspire you and prepare you to navigate (= deal with) anything that can come up (=happen) in your next job interview.
Questions about the project
1. What kind of projects would I be working on? / Can you show me examples of projects I’d be working on?
2. What key tasks will the team be working on in the near future?
3. Who will give me tasks? Who will I report to?
4. Will I need to write reports? In what form?
5. What technologies and tools do you use for this project?
6. If there is overtime work, what is it usually due to? How do you negotiate and compensate for overtime work?
Questions about the position
7. Why is this position open?
8. What are the KPIs for this role?
9. Is this a new job that got created? Has anyone done this work before me?
10. Is there room for growth in this position?
Questions about the team
11. How many people are there on the team?
12. Which other roles do you have on the team?
13. Does the team work in the office or remotely?
14. Would I need to cooperate with other departments and teams? How does this interaction take place?
Questions about working conditions
15. What type of employment contract will I need to sign?
16. Is there a strict work schedule or preferred hours in the office?
17. Do you have a salary review procedure? Can you give me more details about it?
18. What tools and equipment will I be provided with?
Questions about the company
19. How would you describe your company’s corporate culture?
20. What are the company’s overall plans?
21. Does the company have a career development system for employees? What does it look like?
22. Is it possible to transfer to a different position within the company?
Questions about next steps
23. When should I expect to hear back from you?
24. Is there anything else you would be interested to know about me?
25. Can I answer any final questions for you?
In closing, here are a few more details to take into account (=take into consideration) if you want to increase your chances of getting a second interview.
Be aware of the business communication culture in the English-speaking world. It is all about politeness and friendliness. Non-native speakers often disregard how important it is and end up sounding too harsh (= aggressive / rude).
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Use indirect questions
Indirect questions help us make our questions less direct and more polite. For example:
- Do you know…(when this will happen)?
- Can/could you tell me…(how I should prepare for this task)?
- I was wondering if …(you could clarify something for me)?
- Would it be possible to…(reschedule our meeting)?
- Would you mind…(sharing your screen with me)?
- Is there any chance…(I could learn more about the project)?
- Do you have any idea…(how this could be better achieved)?
- I was hoping…(you could give me an overview of your company culture)
- I wanted to ask…(how you evaluate the test tasks)
2. Remember about active listening
Eye contact and body language are very important in an interview and native English speakers pay special attention to non-verbal communication signs.
Make sure you look the interviewer in the eye, smile, and use the following active listening phrases:
- Sure / sure thing
- That’s a very good point. You know, I’d say…
You can find more advice on active listening in this video.
3. Exit the conversation politely
You have to end the interview on a high note (= successfully). Make sure to thank the interviewer for their time, clarify next steps, and wish them a good day. Feel free to use the following phrases:
- Thank you for your time
- I don’t think I have any other questions at the moment
- I think that’s all I wanted to ask
- I look forward to hearing from you again soon
- Could you inform me about our next steps?
- Enjoy the rest of your day!
- It was a pleasure talking to you
4. Follow up with a killer interview thank you note
Yay, you nailed it! The interview is over, now the only thing left to do is to follow up with the interviewer. Don’t be afraid to do that! Following up after an interview really shows your diligence (=strong work ethic) and proactiveness. Your interview follow-up email can look something like this:
Thank you so much for meeting with me today.
It was great to learn more about the team and the position, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to join PineApple and help you bring in new clients.
Looking forward to hearing from you again and please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.
Now you’re all set to go out there and put all this knowledge to the test.
If you need any additional advice on job interviews, please send us a direct message. And if you need to brush up on (=improve) your English fluency and practice answering questions, sign up for our one-on-one classes or get our Interactive Workbook.
Have fun at your next job interview!