Top Questions to Ask An Employer In An Interview

Though the common conception of interviewing is that your interviewer will fire off 100 sweat-inducing questions during an interview with no room for comment, experts point to the fact that interviewing is actually a two-way street. Three career placement services advisors at Rasmussen College have teamed up to identify the best questions to ask employers in an interview—all questions that will position yourself for interviewing success.

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1.       “Can you describe the work environment/culture?”

Whether you are interviewing for a nursing position, or business management career, it is important to understand the environment and culture of the organization. This question can help you gauge whether or not the organization would be a good work environment for you.  For example, is it a fast paced environment?  Does the organization participate in charity work?  Is the environment ever-changing, or do you always know what to expect?

2.        “What professional development opportunities are available?”

Asking this question shows employers that you are interested in professionally developing yourself and networking within the community.  It demonstrates your commitment to continuing your education and ability to add value to the organization. 

3.       “What about the organization do you appreciate the most?”

The point of asking this question is really two fold.  First, it gives the interviewee a better understanding of the organization from a personal standpoint.  There is not a “scripted” answer for the hiring manager about work culture. This question forces the hiring manager to give a more detailed response—and advice that you can take with you if you do indeed get hired at the organization.

Secondly, it is an opportunity to ask the interviewer a more “personal” question, yet still with a professional vibe.  If you happen to interview multiple people within an organization, this is a great question to ask because of the different viewpoints you will receive.

4.       “Why is this position available?”

Asking this question is important because it provides insight into the company.  Is the position open because there is high turnover in this role?  If so, why?  Is this opportunity a new position due to growth?  If the previous holder was promoted, what made them successful in the role?

5.       “What growth opportunities are available?”

You want to find out if you’ll be working this position for the entire time you’re with the company or if there will be the chance to advance your career.  This question allows you to figure out where the past position holder ranks within the company and if there is a defined “career path” paved for the position.

In addition, you want to think about personal growth.  Will you be able to acquire new skills?  Will you be challenged in this position?  Depending on what you’re looking for in your next career, these answers will help you make an informed decision.

6.       “How can I make your job easier?”

Managers are always busy with a lot on their plates.  This is the opportunity to prove that you’re a team player and want to serve the greater good of the organization.  If the hiring manager does not have much for a response that’s ok, you’ve been able to demonstrate your willingness to help others by simply asking the question.

7.       “What are outlying expectations for a person in this role?

Before you embark on your new career, you need to find out if the hiring manager is expecting of you to when it comes to hours and travel. Think about your personal obligations and make sure that your professional life aligns.  You don’t want to show up on day one and be surprised by the job’s requirement.  This is your chance to clarify your working schedule along with daily production expectations.  Are there quotas to be met?  Is there a number of calls expected each day?  These questions will be reliant on the role.  If you have any concerns, this is the time to address those.

8.       Any reason to believe I am not a good candidate?

Bold as this may seem, asking this question will help identify any missing information the company may need to make an informed decision.  If the company responds with a reason about why they don’t feel you may be a good candidate, this is your last chance to try and sway their opinion.  Be sure to focus on your strengths and tie in the information you’ve learned during the interview process on what they’re looking for and how you meet those expectations.

9.       What is your supervisory style?

One of the top reasons workers leave a job is because of their manager.  It’s important for you to find out what your manager’s management style is.  It’s really important that you have the ability to work with the type of style the manager states.  If the manager says they are very “hands off”, then you need to know there may be minimal direction and you could be making decisions without guidance. The opposite holds true for a hands-on manager. With this style, you can expect an extremely involved supervisory process. 

10.   What is the next step?

This is a great question to ask at the end of an interview.  It demonstrates that you are interested in the position and can give you a better understanding of what is left to come in the interview process.  Preface this question by saying, “I certainly appreciate your time today and am very excited about this opportunity.  What are the next steps in the interview process?” Asking this will render a definite answer of your future with your prospective employer.