iStock_000020173836XSmallA job interview isn’t just about an employer vetting the applicant; it’s also about the applicant vetting the employer. There is no better time to ask some questions, do some digging, and ensure that the position in question is truly a good fit for you.

In fact, failure to ask some good, thoughtful questions can reflect badly on you as a candidate. Interviewers invariably provide a chance for you to make some inquiries at the end of your meeting—and if you don’t take them up on it, you’ll come across as an unengaged or uncurious candidate.

Preparing in Advance

Before you head off to an interview, then, it is smart to do some brainstorming. Think of at least two or three strong questions you can ask the interviewer. You may think up others on the spot, but then again, you may not—so ensure you’ve got a couple of good ones in the can.

Knowing what not to ask is as important as knowing what to ask. While you will surely have questions about salary and benefits, these are not necessarily the kinds of questions we’re talking about. Besides, it’s better to let the interviewer introduce these subjects if at all possible.

Spending some time on the company website, or reviewing the job listing itself, may provide you with some good questions. The better prepared and more thoroughly researched you seem, the better you’ll come across to the interviewer—and the more confident you’ll feel in your own interview performance.

Questions Seeking Answers

To get the ball rolling, though, consider some of the following questions you might broach:

  1. How has the position evolved or developed over time? Asking this will help you see if this is a role in which employees flourish, or if it’s one where careers tend to languish.
  2. How have past employees succeeded in this position? What have been their avenues to success?
  3. How collaborative is the position? How does it intersect with other positions in the office?
  4. How would you characterize the company culture?
  5. What have you, personally, enjoyed about working here?
  6. How well does this position lend itself to further organizational advancement and growth?

Anything that shows an interest in the inner workings of the place—in its cultures and its values—is going to be worth asking.