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A candidate on a job interview.

Is there anything as nerve-racking as a job interview? The process should be straightforward, but when you're up for the job of your dreams, it can feel like your whole future depends on that half-hour conversation. The reason for those nerves is rational: everything you say and how you say it can be used against you. You want to make the best possible impression on the recruiter. So, how can you achieve that? For starters, you need to have good answers prepared. However, you also need to prepare questions for the recruiter to leave a good impression at the end of the interview. In this article, we'll dive into some of the best questions to ask a potential employer.

Why Should You Ask Questions in an Interview?

At the end of every interview, all recruiters ask: "Do you have any questions for me?" Most candidates respond by saying "no." While that's not necessarily bad, asking a question at the end of your interview can make you stand out from other candidates. Of course, you don't want to stand out only to be remembered as someone who asked a stupid question. You must carefully consider which questions to ask a potential employer.

Furthermore, you should determine how many questions you can ask based on the answers. Our best advice is to ask between one and four questions so the recruiter doesn't feel like they're being interrogated. 

#6: Can You Tell Me More About Company Culture?

That might seem like a basic question, but it can give you much insight into the company. For example, depending on the answer, you can spot some red flags of a toxic workplace.

Listen carefully to the answer, and look for some of those expressions that can be potentially problematic. For example, if the recruiter insists everyone in the company is "like a family," that can indicate poor work-life balance and zero boundaries. Similarly, if the recruiter focuses too much on the "fun" benefits like a ping pong table in the office or free snacks, this could be a sign they don't care about providing employees with benefits like healthcare, childcare, etc.

#5: What Are The Next Steps?

Once again, this is a pretty common question, but sometimes it's crucial. If the recruiter didn't already tell you the plan for the next steps, asking about it can show the recruiter that you're invested. Knowing their timeline can also be vital if you're planning on relocating abroad for work and new career opportunities.

#4: What Are Your Expectations For This Position?

If the recruiter didn't already cover this, asking about the employer's expectations is essential. After all, you want to know if you'd fit. The answer is significant if you're making a career change or entering a field you haven't worked in before.

When you ask this question, listen for the cliches like "hit the ground running" or "wear multiple hats" since they can be huge red flags. The first one will likely mean you won't get proper onboarding, while the other means you'll fill multiple positions simultaneously.

#3: Why Did You Choose To Work Here?

Some say this is a risky one. Carefully listen to the interviewer and study their responses to other questions to gauge their reaction to this one. Of course, most people would answer this question without problem, but some recruiters will become uncomfortable if you ask something they consider personal. In any case, you'll get your answer. You don't want to work in a company where an interviewer gets so offended the moment the spotlight shifts over from you.

#2: Can You Elaborate on Day-to-Day Responsibilities?

Once again, an interviewer should cover this, but don't be alarmed if they forget. In a case like that, it's best you ask this question. You'll leave them with an impression of someone dedicated and invested in this role enough to learn more about it.

However, remember that some recruiters aren't fully briefed before the interview. That is especially true if you're dealing with a junior recruiter in the first round of interviews. Don't hold this against them; wait for the next round to discover these details.

#1: How Does This Company Support Employee Growth And Development?

That is one of the best possible questions to ask a potential employer. If you only get to ask one question, make it this one. It shows you're not only interested in this role but that you're ambitious and willing to learn.

If the interviewer doesn't have a straightforward answer, that can be a huge red flag. Most companies that are committed to the development of their employees have multiple programs that focus on learning and development. For example, many big companies use the OKRs method and some talent programs for their best performers. If they don't have any program, this may signal that the company doesn't care about their employees moving up and instead only uses employees to perform the same tasks repeatedly.

Other Things To Consider

Don't wait until the end of the interview to ask all your questions. A job interview should be a conversation. If the interviewer ever mentions something you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask them to elaborate.

Furthermore, don't worry about sticking to the script. If you write down these questions before your interview, don't be afraid to deviate entirely from the list. Sometimes, a recruiter will answer these questions without you even asking them. If that happens, ask them whatever peeks your attention during the conversation.

Final Thoughts

Leaving a positive lasting impression on the interviewer should be your goal. However, the best way to make it happen is not to force it. Take this list of questions to ask a potential employer, but only use them if you don't have your questions. During the conversation, try to be upbeat, positive, and, most importantly, yourself. A good recruiter will see the real you, which should be enough to land you your dream role.