What Questions Should be Asked in an Interview?

Do you have questions about job searching or navigating the interview process you’d like answered? You’ve come to the right place. Our question this month comes from a job seeker who wants to know what questions should be asked during an interview and at what stage of the process.


image of brightly lit neon question mark sign in dark and narrow hallwayI’ve interviewed quite a bit over the years, but have always struggled with what questions should be asked in an interview and at what stage in the process. I don’t want to come off as pushy or miss asking something that I should. Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.

–Questioning the Process


Determining Questions to Ask in an Interview

Questioning the Process–

What questions you should be asking and when will depend on a number of factors: the level of the position, the employer’s timeline for filling, whether or not they’re working through a recruiting or search firm, and the size of the selection committee–meaning, the people who need to “okay” hiring you. These are just some of the things that impact the timeline and the “stages” of the interview process.

Often times, job descriptions and the company’s career page (on their website), or on their LinkedIn business listing will let you know what to expect with regard to a company’s interview process. If you’re approached directly by a recruiter regarding an opportunity, they should be able to fill you. Outside of this, Quora and GlassDoor are great places to research the interview process of many companies if you’re unable to get this information elsewhere. Once you know this, you’ll be able to better gauge what questions to ask and when.

To formulate your questions, start by asking yourself what you want to know about the employer and the opportunity being presented. Reviewing the job description in detail and doing research on the company will help you with this. It’s almost certain that as the interview progresses, other items will come up that you’ll want to know more about–that’s to be expected. Just be certain that you’re actively listening to understand what’s being said, and not just hearing in anticipation of your turn to speak during your interview(s). We cannot stress this enough!

Bringing a nice Moleskin, or padfolio (which can also give you a place to store extra copies of your resume), and a pen to the interview works well for quickly capturing any thoughts and notes to revisit later, as does a small laptop or tablet–but do so with caution. If you can’t easily write or type without interruption, or if you’re unable to provide your undivided attention while the interviewer is talking to you so you don’t miss anything, it’s best to forgo using those sorts of devices for capturing information.

A better alternative that some candidates opt for is to use their phone and/or an app to record the conversation which also transcribes it in real time. Prior to doing so, inform the person you’re interviewing with that you’d like to record the conversation and ask for their permission. There are a number of apps that provide this service. A new one to the market you may want to check out that’s powered by AI (artificial intelligence) is AISense.

Outlined below are the stages in the interview process, along with some background context for each, and some standard sample questions that we’ve asked or have been asked during the interviewing process. Be sure to check out our Interview Insider posts, including the post on the number of questions to ask in an interview–the advice given here ties directly to that as well. There’s a lot of great information over on our blog to help you with interviewing.

You’ve Got This!

Neteffects’ Ask a Recruiter Answer Team


Interview Stages & Questions to Ask in an Interview

  1. Phone/Initial Candidate Screening

Typically conducted by HR/Recruiter, but may be the done by Hiring Manager if a smaller company. Used to determine if candidate has the qualifications to do the job. Common for interview process to be explained at this stage. Salary question may be asked. Job description/careers page may provide great detail or may not–be prepared to ask questions

QUESTIONS to ASK (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • Can you tell me about the history of this position–why is it open?
  • Is this a stretch role now, or is there a possibility it will be in the future?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What is the biggest challenge I would face, if hired?
  • Who would I be reporting to directly and indirectly?
  • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
  • What are the next steps/when can I expect to hear from you?

Additional questions to consider: dress code, typical hours/work arrangement, anticipated travel (if any)


  1. Early (First) Interview Questions

Typically conducted by Hiring Manager, but may include others such as staff, management, executives–all stakeholders to the team’s success. Depending on level of position and format (such as panel interview), may be ONLY interview in process before decision is made and an offer extended. Used to assess candidate’s skills, work history, experience, and availability. Salary question may be asked if it’s a direct manager

QUESTIONS to ASK (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • What were the major strengths and weaknesses of the last person in this role?
    • (If a new role) How will my contributions help fulfill the company’s goals?
  • Can you describe what the first 30/60/90 days would look like?
  • Why do you like working here?
  • What are the 3 main factors you will be using to determine the right person for this job?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • Do you have any reservations about my ability to do the job?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?

Additional questions to consider: How long have they been with the company, What do they like to do outside of work–all questions aimed at getting to know them better personally.


  1. Subsequent Interview Questions

Typically conducted by Management, Staff, and Executives but may include others such as Board Members or Key Advisors. Depending on level of position and format (such as one-on-ones), there may be several additional interviews in process before a decision is made. Used to go more in-depth on a particular aspect or subject of the job being offered and to learn more about the candidate (i.e. cultural fit). Salary question will likely be asked at some point

QUESTIONS to ASK STAFF (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • Looking at the next 12 months realistically, what are the 4 top priorities for the team and how would I, if hired, help you all reach these goals?
  • Are there areas where the team struggles and what do you see is needed to address that?
  • Does the company provide references for former employees beyond just confirming their titles and employment dates?
  • Can you describe for me the qualities of the right person for the job as you see it?
  • What is the communication style for the team and management?
  • Is there anything else we haven’t discussed you’d like to know?
  • What did your interviewing and onboarding process look like?

Additional questions to consider: How did they come to work for the company–were they promoted, transferred, etc., What do they like doing outside of work. Aim to ask one or two questions focused on getting to know them better as a person.

QUESTIONS to ASK MANAGEMENT (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • What are your goals and how would I, if hired, help you achieve those?
  • Can you describe a typical day or week in this position?
    • (If new role) What do you envision the typical day or week looking like for me if I were to be hired?
  • How does the company develop its employees?
  • Since this role is vital to the success of the team as a whole, what do you feel are the most important qualities and skills the ideal candidate should have?
  • How would I be evaluated and when does that occur?
  • What if any, reservations do you have about my ability to do the job?
    • (If yes) Is there anything else I can answer for you, or provide you with?
  • If I’m selected, how soon would I be able to start?

Additional questions to consider: How long have they been in the industry? What interests them outside of work? Ask one or two questions aimed at getting to know them better as a person.

QUESTIONS to ASK EXECS (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • How are goals set for the company?
  • If there were any skills or qualities you could have included for this role that’s not currently listed that the ideal person hired would bring to the table, what would they be?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement within the company?
  • What key metrics are used to measure employee performance and how are those established?
  • Within the last few years, was there a time when the company failed to reach certain goals, why did this occur, and how was it course corrected?
  • Is there anything else I might be able to answer for you that we haven’t discussed or you’ve already been informed of?
  • When will I learn something more regarding my candidacy status?

Additional questions to consider: How did they come to work in the industry? Have they read any books or listened to any podcasts they’d recommend? A brief question or two aimed at getting to know them better as a person.


  1. Final Interview Questions

Typically conducted by Executive (i.e. Hiring Manager’s Boss/Bosses. Last interview before a decision is made–only extended to a small pool of candidates. Used to go more in-depth on a particular aspect or subject of the job being offered and to learn more about the candidate–covering off on anything that may have been missed, or the key decision maker needs to be certain of/feel good about. Salary question will be asked if it has not been already

QUESTIONS to ASK (if info is not volunteered/outlined prior, during, or immediately after)

  • In your opinion, what do you see is the biggest challenge facing the business today, and the industry as whole?
    • (Follow up questions) How is the company handling them? What is working well and could use some improvement?
  • How would I be evaluated and when does that occur?
  • Do you have any reservations about my ability to do the job?
  • How soon will a decision be made and when could I expect to hear from you?

Additional questions to consider: How did they get their start in the industry? What publications do they follow to keep up with industry trends and news? A brief question or two aimed at getting to know them better as a person.


Like this article? You can check out more just like it over on our blog under Talent Tips & Interview Insider