How many questions can you ask
Questions: The 80 best in the interview
➠ Content: This is what awaits you
Why are your own questions important?
Whenever a recruiter asks you in the interview whether there is anything else you want to know or have questions, you should never be silent or even shake your head: Please ALWAYS have your own questions! For two reasons:
- This is a unique opportunity to find out more about the company and perhaps your future workplace, the boss, his requirements and colleagues.
- This is a test that tests your true interest in the job, but also whether and how intensively you have prepared yourself for the interview and the employer.
The depth and cleverness of your queries Even an inexperienced HR manager can tell whether you have only studied the job advertisement or also the company's websites (plural!) and relevant specialist articles. Of course there are other reasons ...
Why you should always ask your own questions
- They show real interest.
- They prove that you are prepared.
- Smart questions underline your intelligence.
- You will learn more about the job and the company.
- Who asks leads - the conversation.
Otherwise, you always leave a good impression with your own counter-questions. We will show you below which these could be.
Questions as a symbol of personal initiative
As unbelievable as it sounds: Inadequate preparation does not only occur with beginners. Time and again seasoned managers sit in job interviews and falter when asked why they are interested in this company or what excites them about this job. Anyone who appears so badly prepared has no chance.
Your own questions are the symbol of initiative, Confidence, and they signal a professional attitude. It is therefore your duty to ask good counter-questions. For example, one of the best questions you can ask a recruiter in an interview is this:
If you remember employees you have already hired, what made the difference between the good and the best?
Why is the question so wise? Because it reveals a lot about the company's values and thus learns a lot about performance expectations. And without asking clumsily: “What do I have to do to have a career here?” This is exactly what these questions are about: think a bit around the corner, ask cleverly and thus hear more between the lines than the HR manager or the person The future boss might want to reveal it.
A really good employer who has nothing to hide and a HR manager who actually wants to hire top performers and talents and not just submissive yes-sayers will value such questions and recognize them as a smart head with potential. So please don't be shy!
TIP: Get your own questions by listening to them
You can think about your own good questions in advance. In order to score, it is even more important that you actively listen during the interview. Why?
- In this way you avoid asking questions that were answered at the beginning of the conversation.
- In the getting to know each other phase, the introduction of the company and the advertised position provide you with many points of contact for your own questions.
Who steers the conversation in this way and shows a lot of attention, always goes down well. By the way, HERE you will find tips on how to improve your listening skills.
The best questions in the job interview
You can ask the following questions at any time. Not all of them at once, of course. After all, it is an interview, not an INTERESTING. From experience from several 100 job interviews and HR interviews, we know that these 10 own questions from applicants are not only particularly well received (because they are smart), but also reveal a lot about the future employer and job. At least in the subtext of the answer. We recommend putting at least a few of them:
- "How do you define success for this position?"
- "What do you expect from the ideal candidate?"
- "What distinguishes your best employees?"
- "What could frustrate me most about this job?"
- "How would you describe my boss's leadership style?"
- "How would you describe your corporate culture?"
- "How do you measure and evaluate your performance?"
- "How are talents and strengths promoted in your company?"
- "Why do you enjoy working for this company?"
- "When can I expect your decision?"
We particularly recommend the first question. A variant of this is also: “What does a candidate have to bring with them (from your point of view) in order to be successful in this position?” The advantage of this question is that you learn a lot about the challenges of the job during the interview. More than what is stated in the job advertisement. In addition, you will find out - indirectly - how your application chances of getting the job are. The more your own profile fits the description and response of the recruiter, the better. Also with a view to whether you really fit in and succeed there.
TIP: Formulate open questions
By asking systemic questions, you de facto take over the leadership of the conversation. This is expected from executives anyway - it is a kind of work test of their skills. But also from employees and future high performers.
The trick isthat you mainly use open-ended questions to obtain as much information as possible. In contrast to "closed" questions ("Was my predecessor popular?"), "Open" questions ("What can you tell me about my predecessor?") Are a wolf in sheep's clothing and tempt some interviewers to literally "chat about the sewing box" . To push this even further, you can garnish the open questions with I-messages and short anecdotes. For example: "So far I have mainly had the experience that employees ... What about you?"
Clever questions examples
"Why is the position vacant?"
The position could be newly created - or just difficult to fill because the job is an ejected seat. The expectations of the owner are either too high or the challenges cannot be met with the budget and team. You better find out all of this beforehand. Sometimes your predecessor has also been promoted. Class! That in turn could speak in favor of a so-called instantaneous water heater with good promotion prospects. So feel free to follow up here ...
"How long did my predecessor work in the position?"
With the help of this question, you add the temporal dimension to the field. You can also indirectly find out how fast the carousel of items in this company is turning.
"What happened to employees who worked in this department?"
The question has two aspects: Firstly, you will find out whether and how employees are being specifically developed and promoted here. In that case, the interviewer should be able to report a few exciting résumés. But it may also help you find out what happens to those who fall from grace.
"What is the difference between good and excellent employees?"
The question belongs to the "tricky" category. On the face of it, you want to know how the company defines talent and performance. At the same time, you will also find out what is expected of you in the future. On top of that, the answer reveals a lot about the corporate culture and how open it really is to and appreciates new ideas. Which brings you to the next question ...
"How are talents and strengths promoted in your company?"
Successful companies develop their employees further and work against the Peter principle. In other words: You promote your best sides and at the same time look for the best position in the company for it - which, by the way, is an ongoing process. The question afterwards reminds the HR manager in the interview that you don't just want to do your job for money, but also want to grow - and think long-term.
"What does success look like in the first 90 days?"
As a newcomer, you will initially enjoy something like puppy protection. You are allowed to ask many questions, make mistakes and learn. But at some point you will be expected to make progress and success. The aim of this question is to find out what the expectations of you are and how realistic they are. In particular, what the job looks like after 90 days ...
"What challenges await me in the first 90 days?"
This own question sounds similar to the previous question, but it is a bit different. The subtext is of particular interest here: Pay attention to the nuances and drill down a bit - what are the exact challenges? Which conflicts are lurking where? How is the team composed? How openly does the company deal with difficulties? By the way, that's completely legitimate, after all, you want to get the job done and survive the probationary period.
"What challenges does your company currently have to face?"
Same question, just one dimension bigger. Sure, you will hardly be told that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy. But maybe you will learn something about the company's (self-) awareness - where it is currently in the market and where it wants to be in the future. The most important question - even if asked in a veiled manner - is of course: "Is the company on a growth path or is it on a downward path?"
"Why do you work for this company?"
Here it depends a little on how you emphasize the question. It shouldn't sound disrespectful or surprised, motto: “What? Still here ??? ”But when asked with genuine interest and a smile, you get some very personal insight into the company and why it is fun to work there from the HR manager. And let's be honest: If the hiring personnel decision maker doesn't even rave about the question, the alarm bells shouldn't sound, but thunder.
50 own questions in the interview
- Has this position been newly created?
- Was there a predecessor for this position?
- Is he or she still working in the company?
- In your opinion, what did my predecessor do really well?
- In your opinion, what should I do differently than my predecessor?
- How many predecessors were there?
- Why did the position become available again?
- What are your goals with this occupation?
- How do you tell that I'm doing my job really well?
- From your point of view: What are the ideal successes to be achieved in the first few weeks?
- Which colleagues can optimally support me in my tasks?
- What obstacles should I expect?
- Would it be possible to visit my future workplace?
- Can I talk to other employees?
- How big is the department?
- Do you work in cross-departmental teams?
- In your opinion, which tasks have the highest priority?
- Are there any requirements that were not mentioned in the job advertisement?
- What role does this position play in the company's goals?
- In your opinion, what is the most frustrating part of the job?
- How would you start in this position?
- What is the most important contribution to the success of the company in my position?
- How do you explain the success of your company to date?
- How would you describe my typical working day?
- Do you have to travel a lot in this position?
- How long and where - also abroad?
- Do you have flexitime or real trust-based working hours?
- How many hours of overtime do employees currently work on average per week?
- Is this overtime paid or celebrated?
- Do you have a home office arrangement?
- Can I see my potential job in person?
- What does the usual induction phase look like for you?
- How long does your trial period last?
- How are employees promoted and developed in your company?
- Is there a budget for further training?
- What additional benefits, in addition to salary, do you offer employees?
- Who will be my direct line manager?
- What is his or her background?
- How would you describe my manager's leadership style?
- How would you describe your corporate culture?
- How high is the percentage of women in management positions?
- Does your company plan to expand in the near future?
- Have you ever outsourced services - which ones?
- What knowledge should I acquire before starting?
- Who will decide everything about this application?
- What would I have to do to make it easier for you to decide for me?
- Still have any doubts about my suitability for this position that we should talk about?
- What personality do you want from your future employee at your side?
Download the list of queries here for free
As usual, you can download the list of all queries as a PDF free of charge, print it out and pack it up as a memo or cheat sheet for the appointment.
Download questions (PDF)
20 questions for managers
Those who apply for a managerial position are usually expected to do more than those who are just starting their careers. They are supposed to build up, reorganize or re-motivate a team and at the same time make a significant contribution to ensuring that the company achieves its goals. It is not uncommon for this to be reflected in the target agreements in the employment contract. It is all the more important for future managers to ask exactly what the framework conditions look like, what exactly is expected of them and by when - especially if you are brought in to lead change processes and break up structural incrustations.
20 questions managers can ask
- How big is the team?
- How is it made up (age, length of service, ...)?
- How high is the sick leave or are the days absent per employee?
- How homogeneous is the salary structure of the employees?
- How high is the performance-related share of salaries?
- Is there a budget for rewards, bonuses, salary increases?
- Or do you expect major savings in the future?
- How did the employees feel about their predecessor?
- How would you describe the management style of your predecessor?
- Should it be retained or changed, if so: how?
- Are there conflicts or resistance in the team?
- Have changes been made in the past twelve months?
- How were these accepted and implemented?
- How open are the employees to change?
- What is the budget for employee development and training?
- Is there a budget for layoffs?
- Are you planning to hire or lay off the department?
- Has the department been merged from other teams in the past?
- Have colleagues been laid off or outsourced?
- How would you describe the mood in the team and in the company?
Download: Questionnaire for executives
You can also download this questionnaire as a PDF free of charge. In addition, as a manager, you can also ask some of the above questions - for example those about the special challenges of the job, about the short-term goals within the first 90 days or beyond.
Download manager questions (PDF)
Of course, it takes a little sovereignty to ask such questions. But no matter how high your stress level is: Please never ask for information that you could easily have researched beforehand on the Internet or in other media. For example questions like ...
- How many employees does your company have?
- How old is the company anyway?
- Do you also have branches abroad?
They say there are no stupid questions. But not true. Some queries can make applicants look stupid - and terribly unprepared. This includes your own questions, which the interviewer can only answer in one way anyway:
- Is the working atmosphere good?
- Will my future boss be nice?
- Do I have good chances of promotion?
No, they do not have! Those who ask such questions are obviously naive or have no idea what to ask. Questions about working hours or vacation times (as some advisors seriously recommend) or your own questions about an imminent salary increase are also unwise. Questions like this put your motivation into question: You haven't even received your job approval and are already thinking about vacation and more money ?!
Neither should you answer your questions Let uncertainty see through: So please don't ask if you made a good first impression or if you get the job. Much too flat.
Please never ask the following questions:
"What exactly does your company do?"
Variants of this: “Which products do you manufacture?” Or: “How big is your company?” Those who ask these questions have not done their homework. In the meantime there is hardly a company that does not present itself on its own website on the Internet, what it does, which brands and products belong to it, which company philosophy is pursued. Anyone who is seriously interested in a career there should therefore know what the company is doing. As a rule of thumb, everything that can be googled, you must NOT ask. But if you still want to ask in this direction, please always specifically: “When I was preparing for our interview, I saw that your company is doing THAT and THAT. I would now be interested in how THAT is exactly ... "
"How fast do you get promoted and when is there a raise?"
Thoughts of fleeing even before hiring? The question might just as well be: “How quickly can I leave the job?” The company actually wants to fill this position first - with someone who really wants to have the job and fill it.
"How quickly can you change or advance your career?"
Pretty impatient! Of course, every HR manager is happy when employees are committed, have goals and want to achieve something professionally. Better than the other way around. But when asked so directly, it seems less committed, you say in the subtext: “The current job I'm applying for is actually not of interest to me, it is at best a stopover and a means to an end.” And that in turn could tell the recruiter that if things don't go the way you want, you'll either get frustrated after a while or leave just as quickly. And that means you are no longer the perfect candidate for the position. If you are interested in advancement opportunities, ask more: "How does your employee development look like and does your company offer something like a mentoring program or further training?" This also signals to the HR manager that you want to develop yourself and your skills (i.e. are thoroughly committed) and at the same time interested in the company and its workforce programs.
"What do you pay employees in this position?"
Of course, there is nothing wrong with knowing about your future salary. But the question has the wrong perspective. You should know beforehand what you are worth and what you should typically pay in this industry and position. Accordingly, you do not ask for handouts or what the employer graciously pays you, but you negotiate the value of your (potential) performance and state your price yourself. It is more elegant, however, to let the HR manager direct the conversation to the topic of salary, and when he asks what salary you have in mind, state your specific number - as crooked as possible. So not 48,000 euros a year, but rather 47,850 euros.
"Can I come a little earlier and go home earlier?"
There is no question that an interest in a good work-life balance is absolutely legitimate, especially if you have a family or children. But that's not what the HR manager thinks about when he comes to this question. What he hears is rather the question of a not-yet-employee who does a job to earn a living, but not someone who really puts their heart and soul into the job. A classic own goal. If you want to ask in this direction, then it would be more like: “Can you describe what a typical working day looks like in your company?” In this question, you show interest without emphasizing your leisure time or your private schedule. But the information you get can be just as useful.
"Do you monitor who is surfing on Facebook & Co. with the service computer?"
Seriously? If this is your concern, you might as well say right away that this is exactly what you are up to. And what does that look like? You don't even have the job in your pocket and are already wondering what else you can do during working hours. That doesn't exactly reveal a future high achiever, does it? The basic attitude has to be: The company has an excellent chance to hire the best candidate. Even if you never say that, please. It's just an attitude.
TIP: Take notes during the conversation
Those who take notes during the interview and then ask detailed questions about their future area of work appear very professional:
- Where will I be deployed?
- Who do I have to report to?
- Who reports to me?
- Is there still time to take a look at the workplace?
Do not have any qualms about probingif the HR manager has remained imprecise in some places. Chutzpah is never wrong, but don't overdo it either. Means: Don't just turn the tables and ask the HR manager the same questions with reversed roles (“Why should I choose your company?”). That might look disrespectful.
By the way, you can also use your own queries to summarize key statements (about yourself) again: “Did I understand you correctly that you want me to…?” Or: “So the ideal employee has…?” Or you emphasize at the end that the conversation increased your motivation to work for this company: “So my future tasks will include ...? I would love to do that! "
As the saying goes: He who asks (correctly) leads.
Even more interview tips
➠ Interview: All the tips
Job interview process
➠ Interview preparation
➠ Application questions + answers
➠ Job interview clothes
➠ Introduction to yourself
➠ End the interview
➠ Second interview
➠ Assessment Center
➠ Stress interview
➠ Job interview English
➠ Video interview
➠ Telephone interview
➠ These 100 questions can come
➠ 25 trick questions + answers
➠ Stress issues
➠ What are your weaknesses?
➠ What are your strengths?
➠ Why should we hire you?
➠ What was your last salary?
➠ Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
➠ Why did you quit?
➠ Inadmissible questions
➠ Inquiries to HR managers
Tips & Tricks
➠ Practice interview
➠ Interview mistakes
➠ White lies in the job interview
➠ body language tips
➠ Overcome nervousness
➠ Where to put your hands?
➠ Confirm the interview
➠ Postpone the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
➠ Cancel the interview
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