Make it a two-way interview: 40 questions to ask during your next interview

The modern day interview has evolved tremendously from what it used to be. Gone are the days of sitting on the other side of an imposing interviewer sitting behind a huge desk with a significantly-raised chair. Nowadays, candidates are interviewing the companies just as much as they themselves are being interviewed. And why not?

The hiring process is a two way street. Both sides need to be engaged in the process and be equally excited to work with the other. Next time you find yourself interviewing for a new position, be sure you make it a two-way interview.

Here are forty questions to help you figure out if the company will be right for you.


Questions about the position

You want to understand exactly what will be expected of you and whether or not this aligns with your skills and ambitions. Be sure to have a full understanding of the position and your role in it before leaving your interview.

1) Why is this position open?

2) Is this an existing or newly created position?

3) If someone was in this position before me, why did he or she leave?

4) Beyond what I see in the job description, what will make someone successful in this role?

5) When coming into this position, what are the top 3 things the new employee must do?

6) How will you measure the success of someone in this role?

7) What keeps you awake at night? How can this role help you to sleep better?

8) What kind of ongoing training does this position require?

9) Please describe the key expectations of this role.

10) Does the position lead to future growth within the company?


Questions about the manager/coworkers

There are so many different types of leaders. Who you work with and for makes a big difference in whether or not you’ll be happy. Be sure to get a glimpse of what it might be like working for your manager or with your teammates. Ask questions that will get a reaction and open up people to reveal their true feelings towards their coworkers.

11) What makes someone successful with their manager?

12) How many levels of managers are within our department?

13) How many people will be on our team or in my immediate workspace?

14) Tell me about some of the people I’ll be working with; what are they like?

15) (Find a co-worker and ask) What is it like working for the manager?

16) What are the manager’s expectations of weekly hours worked? Weekends/evenings?

17) Tell me about a time when a co-worker did not perform to expectations and what was the outcome?


Questions about the company

Considering we spend at least one third of our waking hours working, it’s important to know as much about the company as possible.

18) What are your company’s core values?

19) Tell me about a time that someone did business according to the core values?

20) How well do employees here understand the core values?

21) Is your company growing or an established industry leader?

22) What are the company’s immediate goals toward growth?

23) Is the company publicly traded?

24) If so, how has the stock performed over the past 1-3 years?

25) Does the company offer flex-time or remote working opportunities?

26) What kind of training does the company offer?

27) Does the company offer extracurricular learning opportunities?

28) What do your competitors say about your company?

29) What do you want your competitors to say about your company?

30) What advantages do you have over your competitors in the market?

31) What advantages does your competitors have over you in the market?

32) Tell about something new and different your company tried that was successful?


Questions about the culture

Culture is important in today’s work world. Is your company more traditional or is it more relaxed? Does your company operate with a strict time clock and dress code or is there a game room, basketball court or stocked beer fridge to help relieve stress? Do the workers wear suits and ties or t-shirts and flip-flops? The company wants a fit for their culture but that culture better work with your values, as well.

33) Tell me about your company’s culture.

34) What do your workers wear to work?

35) Does your company plan events or activities to encourage employee morale?

36) Does your company offer opportunities for personal growth?


Questions about work/life balance

Being dedicated to one’s work is never a bad thing, but it can become overwhelming if we let it. Striving for a work/life balance helps keep us stable and usually a lot happier. Be sure to find out in advance if you’ll be expected to be perpetually on the clock or if you’ll be able to find your balance.

37) How is the work/life balance at your company?

38) How would you describe the stress level at your company?

39) Describe a time of year when the stress elevates at your company.

40) What is your vacation or personal time policy?



Chances are you will not ask all 40 questions. But these questions give you ideas to think about before your next interview. Pick the ones that resonate with you and put them on a list so you remember to ask them. The company will be impressed that you put as much time and effort into the interview and that you are showing you want to create a true, long-term connection with the company.

Most importantly, as you learn about the company and its culture, make sure it aligns with what is important to you. If it doesn’t align, then there’s a good chance that this opportunity may not be the right one for you.