In an effective interview, both sides ask questions.
While you may have hundreds of questions, many questions may be answered during the interview. As it wraps up, you may wonder: “What else do I need to know?”
It's also common to have an opportunity to ask questions after the hiring manager finishes.
We'll explore approaching end-of-interview questions:
- Why the end of an interview is so important
- Why you should ask questions
- What types of questions to ask
- 20 top questions to ask
Your questions mirror your mindset. Listen actively to gaps in knowledge. Show perceptiveness - only ask genuine questions.
Open questions are best as they make interviewers think. Closed yes or no questions get shut down fast. It’s best to ask open questions that make them reflect: you never know what they might share since you've answered their questions well. They'll want to reciprocate.
Why the end matters
When you're one of many candidates over weeks of interviews, staying memorable is key.
The end of an interview sticks in the listener's mind as they immediately debrief once you leave. What will they remember from those final minutes?
You can bet your final interaction will be fresh in their mind. Be sure to leave a great first impression!
If they don't invite questions, it's fine to mention having some. Any good interviewer wants feedback on your thoughts and concerns, but if it's ending without you shaping the conversation, say you have a few questions for the end!
Why you should ask questions
An interview is a two-way fit discussion. While you'll have many questions, hopefully the hiring manager will answer most during the chat.
Most of the time, loose ends inevitably remain by the end. This doesn't reflect poor interviewing - with so many possible questions, some get glossed over.
Feel free to ask what truly matters - as long as it's in line with this article's advice.
Is the end the best time? The conversation should flow naturally with questions anytime. But it's best to leave them until the end when you have the full picture. Don't wait until the last second - mention during the interview you have questions for the end.
What types of questions to ask
While any question bringing you closer to deciding is fine, employers expect questions around the following:
Ask anything not covered in the job description or interview that gives you a better idea of expectations and your suitability. Note confidentiality may limit some questions - don't probe too deeply.
Ask the hiring manager about culture, processes, strategy, people and commercial considerations. Remember, it’s impossible that employers may sugar coat, so it’s important to listen for what's said and unsaid.
If it's gone well, asking about next steps shows interest. Try to prepare before your interview by doing your research about the company in advance!
Expect 3-4 questions at an initial interview. Carefully choose your questions: don't ask what you could've researched.
20 questions to ask
While you may have a few set questions, it’s important to review what's been discussed and what remains unknown near the end. Ideally, it’s best to have 8-10 relevant and appropriate questions in mind. Here are some ideas:
1. Why do you enjoy working here? What would you change?
Allows employers to say something positive about the company, but listen for omissions hinting at issues.
2. What are the key objectives for the first 3 months/year?
Shows interest by digging into expectations. Be mindful that employers may ask questions about your previous experience, however, so be prepared!
3. What might my career path look like over the coming years?
Learn how quickly they develop people from their responses and pauses. Stagnant companies offer little room for growth.
4. How would you describe the company culture?
Asking specific situations like this can help you gain insight on how the company really functions!
5. How will my job performance be measured?
Allows candidates to gain a good understanding of what’s expected of them. Evasive or vague answers can be red flags.
6. What challenges is the company facing now?
"Everything's fine" means stagnation and little room for growth. Listen for the scale of challenges and what can be improved upon at the company.
7. What qualities will the successful candidate have?
See if their desired qualities align with the described role. Disconnects need exploring.
8. May I tell you more about.....?
If you have a sales pitch point they've missed, you can bring it up to help end the interview with a bang. Only go for it if you feel confident, it can be a great way to leave a positive impression upon employers!
9. Do you have any doubts about my suitability?
Address doubts head on, but don't get defensive. Turn negatives into potential positives if you can.
10. Why did the last person leave this role?
Unless they explain, you can't know why it's available. Listen carefully to their reasons - a "difficult employee" response is a potential red flag.
11. How do you support top performers to improve?
Shows you appreciate unlimited high performance potential. Does their response impress you?
12. What obstacles might I face?
Probably keep it positive, but if it seems tough, this could reveal challenges ahead. Be sure to respond positively.
13. Could you share the medium-term strategy?
Shows you're interested in the long run. A hazy or unclear strategy could be a warning sign.
14. What was your biggest team win last year?
Enjoying their people's achievements may rub off positively on you. The scale can also indicate the quality and strength of their team.
15. Can you tell me more about the team?
What they choose to say about the team reveals a lot. Do they seem engaged or distant?
16. I read about X - could you tell me more?
Shows you're keen by following up on pre-interview research questions. A great answer can signal competency and preparedness.
17. How do you set yourselves apart from competitors?
Struggling companies may not answer well. This question can help indicate how organised and efficient the company is at handling competition!
18. How are team conflicts handled?
Relevant in nearly all industries. Poor conflict managers will have fractured teams, whereas great managers are able to handle conflict professionally.
19. Could I clarify anything else about my application?
Gives you a final chance to ask anything missed. After all, no one wants lingering interview regrets!
20. What are the next steps and timeline for an offer?
Most will outline next steps, but ask if you need urgency due to other offers.
- Act like your questions don't matter
- Fail to adapt questions based on what you've learned
- Ask anything controversial
- Disregard timings or deadlines
- Ask what you could research later
- Leave your final question until you've left the room
- Ask obvious questions
- Ask about salary or benefits prematurely
- Be presumptuous about starting
- Say you have no questions
- Your end-of-interview questions reflect your understanding and what's important to you.
- Choose topics carefully and analyse answers critically.
- Avoid questions you could research yourself
- Final questions provide critical insights: be sure to ask!