,   |  November 8, 2012

How many questions to ask at the end of a job interview

Everyone will tell you that it’s important to ask questions while interviewing, but people often wonder  how many questions to ask at the end of a job interview.  Here’s my opinion – ask 1-3 questions and make sure they’re good ones!

number of questions to ask at end of interview

Why start at 1 question?  Well, first of all, you don’t want to ask zero.  Personally, when I recruited, I didn’t mind if someone didn’t have questions – especially if we covered a lot during the actual interview… but it is universally agreed upon that is good to ask at least one question. So plan on it.

Also, this is an opportunity for you to size up the organization (or your interviewer). Take the opportunity to learn something that you can’t easily learn online.  It is more valuable than people realize and you can ask questions that will actually help you in any future interviews with a company.  Think of it as insider information!

Why cap it off at 3 questions? Well, time.  The person interviewing you probably dedicated a very specific amount of time to do so and by the time you get to the “question portion” of the interview, it’s almost time for them to get out of there.  So don’t make them spend an extra 15 minutes answering 10 questions you have lined up.

Guidelines on the types of questions you will ask at the end of a job interview:

DO ask questions that prove you’ve done some research.  If you read something online, it’s good to build a question around something you researched. (i.e. “I read in the NYTimes that you are launching a new division next year. How do you think it will change the day to day within the company?”)

DO ask questions that show that you understand the business.

DO ask the interviewer’s opinions or views. Examples of this can be “what are your thoughts on x thing happening in the industry?” or “how did you land in your role today?” or “what made you choose to work at company x versus others?”

DO NOT ask “what’s in it for me” questions.  That means nothing about compensation, vacation, or benefits. You should ask those questions eventually, but not in a first interview

DO NOT get too personal.  It’s very possible your interviewer doesn’t want to share their whole life story with a stranger, so don’t ask them to.

DO NOT ask very generic or canned questions.  Interviewers can tell if you are asking an insightful question or if you just looked at a list of common things to ask.

DO NOT ask if you are going to get the job.  This puts interviewers on the spot and is so uncomfortable!

The best questions to ask at the end of a job interview are the ones where you take something you’ve learned or discovered and want more information on it.  It shows effort and research – both great things.  And keep it to 1-3!

Did you enjoy this post? Get tools, templates, and advice delivered straight to your inbox