How To Ask Questions in a Job Interview

Careful preparation for the job interview is critical. An essential part of your preparation is to research employers and develop pertinent questions upon your research.

These questions can fall into many categories dealing with the position, the organization, the career paths, or the individuals with whom you may be working.

One of the purposes of the questions is obviously to gain information from the interviewer. Good questions, however, can make a very positive impression by showing that you are thorough, interested, intelligent and knowledgeable. An absence of questions, or routine questions that show no research on your part, leave a negative impression.

In an effort to help you prepare for interviews, the Center for Career Development has compiled a list of questions to serve as examples. They are designed to help you develop your own questions during your research and interview preparation. The idea is not that you simply use these questions but that you adapt them to your own interests and concerns.

Also, not all questions are pertinent for all positions, employers or candidates. Think carefully about the areas you want to pursue through your questions. Ask questions that are of genuine interest to you and will help you identify whether that company is a good fit for your interests, abilities and desires.

Questions Demonstrating Your Research Efforts

It is always good to demonstrate that you have researched the company. For example, the question “How do you rate your competition?” is much more effective prefaced by the statement, “I read in a recent issue of Fortune Magazine that yours is one of the most highly competitive industries the country.—?

From International Paper Annual Report for 1991 (Chairman and CEO Message)
“International Paper’s size and diversity give rise to broad responsibilities for improving environmental, health and safety performance. Meeting these responsibilities is something we owe to our shareholders, employees, customers and the communities where we operate.”

Possible Question: “I read of International Paper’s concern for environmental issues in the Chairman’s message in your 1991 Annual Report. Can you tell me how you see this concern being demonstrated?”

From “Reach Your Personal Best at Kentucky Fried Chicken”
“In only two years, you can manage up to 10 units, 250 employees and $4 million gross revenue.”

Possible Question: “In Your ‘Personal Best’ brochure you mention the KFC Fast Track Program where one can manage up to 10 units in two years. What percentage of new hires are in this program, and of those, how many achieve that level of responsibility in two years?”