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Are You Asking the Right Questions in Your Interview?

The Betts Team
October 16, 2016


Interview prep can always be challenging. You’ve done your research and just need to come up with interview questions to ask during your interview. What should you focus on? Do you look over the website again, skim the news, or re-open their LinkedIn profile? If you’re not sure whether or not you’re asking the right questions in your interview, ask yourself these four when you’re preparing.

Are You Learning Anything?

People often say there is no such thing as a dumb question. This is true, but there certainly are some questions that are better than others. Every interview includes time for a candidate to ask the hiring manager any questions they may have. Prepare your questions ahead of time to avoid just trying to fill time. If you’ve already covered their role in the conversation, don’t follow this up with a question about what their position does. Doing prep work should generate questions naturally; this should answer many questions you may already have, and also generate some more intelligent questions. If you’ve hit on great interview questions that require inside knowledge, then you’re guaranteed to use your interview time for your advantage.

Do Your Questions Differentiate You?

Are you asking anything unusual? If you did your research your should be able to craft questions to demonstrate this. Asking about recent press releases, new products, or upcoming innovations can help demonstrate your passion for the company and industry. Extrapolating from recent events and asking about ramifications of a new hire or office move can also help differentiate you as a candidate able to think beyond what’s immediately presented to them. Find questions that not only teach you something, but also stick with a hiring manager. Keep up with the company in the news. If you see something interesting, ask a thoughtful question about it. Time sensitive or current observations are always questions that haven’t been asked before.

Will The Hiring Manager Have an Answer?

Don’t try to get too creative with your questions, though, when trying to stand out. The last thing you want to do is stump or confuse your hiring manager. Make sure what you’re asking isn’t too far past the scope of their position or too broadly sweeping to be addressed in an interview. Focus on questions that can reveal the hiring manager’s drivers, passions, and thoughts on the company culture. Look for opinions, advice, and processes of the individuals you are meeting with. Keep any questions about the company philosophy for conversations with the Founder or CEO.

How Many Times Have They Heard This?

Lastly, try to avoid the straightforward who, what, when, where, why questions that hiring managers are asked in every interview. Try to get the information from natural conversation and leave more interesting topics for the Q&A section. If you’re not sure what the company does, what the hiring manager’s background is, or what the position looks like on the day-to-day then you didn’t do enough interview prep. Make sure any interview questions you ask can’t be googled for an answer. Don’t waste a hiring manager’s time or force them to regurgitate the same-old response.