Top 10 Questions to Ask in an Interview

By Robin Ryan, Career Coach

At some point in every interview the employer will ask, "Do you have any questions?" A top manager at Cingular Wireless, who has hired numerous employees, shared this insight: "I judge candidates by the questions they ask. That's what's most revealing to me. I want someone focused on succeeding in the job and not just centered around how much money I will pay them."

An HR Director for Microsoft added: "Frequently the candidate, ill-prepared, searches his mind for just anything to ask. That person appears dumb, or uninterested, causing me to question what kind of employee they'd be."

This will not happen to you. Take time before the interview to draft good questions, but stick to asking job duty and organizational questions only. But do not ask questions about the salary, benefits or perks. The best time to cover those issues is after you've been offered the job.

Your questions can determine whether this job, company and boss are a good fit for you. Every organization has a workplace environment we call the corporate culture. It defines what it is actually like to work there. You may have had preconceived ideas. They are often proven to be inaccurate once you get into the interview and begin to ask your questions. Better to learn you don't want this job now than three weeks after you've started. Therefore, pay close attention to the answers and determine whether this is a boss you would like to work with every day.

Too often this happens: A few weeks ago a man approached me at a seminar and said he wished he had asked more questions. Instead he impulsively took a job and two weeks later he knew it was a huge mistake. Don't let that happen to you.

Create some questions and make a written list to refer to in the interview. Consider these top 10 questions:

1. "Could you describe to me your typical management style and the type of employee that works well with you?"

2. "Where are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?"

3. "What is your company's policy on providing seminars, workshops and training so employees can develop their skills?"

4. "Are there any restraints or cutbacks planned that would decrease the budget here?"

5. "What particular computer equipment and software do you use here? When was your last upgrade?"

6. "How will my performance be measured? By whom?"

7. "Are there any weaknesses in the department that you are working on improving?"

8. "What types of people seem to excel here?"

9. "Can you give me an idea of the typical workload and extra hours or special needs it demands?"

10. "Describe the atmosphere of the office."

Your list of questions will help you get the information you need to make the best job choice. It will also impress the employer.

Next: Answers to the Seven Toughest Interview Questions >>

Source: '60 Seconds and You're Hired,' by Robin Ryan

Robin Ryan has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: '60 Seconds & You're Hired!;' 'Winning Resumes;' 'Winning Cover Letters' and 'What to Do with the Rest of Your Life.' She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. To purchase her books and audio training programs go to To contact Robin, e-mail or call 425-226-0414.

Copyright 2005 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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Some great information but I would add:How does management view the role and importance of this position?What particular software do you use?Are there any perks I might not be expecting?How many people work in this department?How much overtime is typically expected?
I have found a great resource of questions to ask during the interview here.

May 21 2012 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you for the tips .. I'm actually waiting for an interview and decided to search the web for help .. I hope I get this job and if I don't , one of you will have to employ me .. :)

May 04 2011 at 4:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
plaxedes matimba

its good to know what is happeing around the world around you ,since technology is moving at an alarming rate you won't be left behind you would also know what kind employees are needed by employers.

September 20 2010 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie Werby

Robin, agree with your list of interview questions. Another important one to consider is "What are you looking for in the right candidate". The response to this question allows the candidate to formulate their answers to fit what the employer is looking for. If they can ask this question at the get-go, it may help put them ahead of their competitors.

Julie Werby, PEP HR Consulting

September 20 2010 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it is sad that every comment on here is yet another "get rich while sitting on your butt at home doing nothing" scheme. I am seriously tired of all of it. People have enough financial trouble in this economy right now - trying to trick them into a get rich scheme that they are only willing to try because they are already drowning in debt isnt going to help them do anything other than file bankruptcy more quickly. so for everyone out there:
1. if it seems like a dream come true - it is!
2. if you ever have to pay out any money up front - its a scam!
3. insurance jobs - are a scam! you starve while the company gets rich off your sales!

Please always get a full understanding of the "job" by every means possible before you try it... get rich quick "jobs" NEVER work so do not get sucked in to the lies!!!!!

September 20 2010 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I believe that getting a job is crucial, but at the same time you can concentrate on some other home based business.

Check it out. You will be pleased.

May 04 2009 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


There is a "Famous" Quote that goes something like this, "The Major
Key To Your Better "Financial" Future Is YOU!"

If you are Open-Minded, a BIG Thinker and ready to get your "own"
(MBA)Massive-Bank-Account, CHECK THIS OUT!!!

What Do You Have To LOSE?>

April 21 2009 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Make extra cash while you are out of work. Life sux but this makes it a bit easier.

March 20 2009 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No need to ask any questions of anybody when you work for yourself. Why not enjoy what you do! Meet great people doing the same thing. Travel cheap! Help others do the same and have a thriving business! Be determined that this year will be different than last year! Check it out!

February 19 2009 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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