Here Are the Job Interview Questions to Ask (and Avoid)

By Robert Half on February 18, 2014 at 8:00am

The interview is wrapping up and the manager asks you that common question: “Do you have any questions for me?” If you’re unprepared, you’re then racking your brain trying to quickly figure out some good interview questions to ask employers.

Job interview questions not to ask

Most job seekers know this isn’t the time to ask about salary – unless you’ve miraculously landed an offer right there at the interview. Human resources managers surveyed by OfficeTeam also shared these what-were-they-thinking examples of real-life questions that made a bad impression:

  • “Do you have a job for my partner?”
  • “Could I get a pay advance?”
  • “Do I have to be at work every day?”
  • “How soon can I take my first vacation?”
  • “Can you help me search for an apartment?”

Interview questions that move you forward

The kind of questions you do want to use are ones that show a sincere interest in the job and a commitment to making a real impact as an administrative professional. Here are some good interview questions to ask employers:

When I researched your firm, I noticed ____. What impact, if any, will this have on the administrative team?

You’re letting hiring managers know you care enough about the opportunity to find out more about the business.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

You may learn information you wouldn’t hear otherwise, like you’d be working with a fun, collaborative group of employees or that administrative staff are never bored because there are always new types of projects.

What skills and attributes are most important for success in this role?

This is one of the best types of interview questions to ask because it gives you useful insights about what they’re looking for in candidates while impressing employers. You’re basically saying, “Tell me what it takes to shine in this job because I’m ready to do it.”

What kinds of contributions could I make immediately that would have a measurable impact on the department?

You’re letting hiring managers know that you’re a go-getter who wants to know the specifics that will make a notable difference. Companies look for administrative personnel who take initiative, fit in well with their teams, and strive to go above and beyond with their work.

What has been the career path for others who’ve been in this job?

This should be on your list of interview questions to ask because it clues you in on advancement opportunities. Does it sound like people there get promoted often? The question also shows you’re thinking of staying at the company for the long haul. The employer may be screening you as a potential receptionist but will appreciate that you’re ambitious and want to make greater contributions to the firm over time.

You mentioned earlier that ____. Can you explain a little bit more about that?

I know I’ve returned home from interviews before thinking, “Wait, what did the interviewer mean by that point?” and wishing I’d asked for clarification while I was there. This is your big opportunity to get more information if anything said was vague or confusing, so take it.

What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Knowing that they plan on interviewing for another week will save you from anxiously awaiting a phone call tomorrow.

What other questions do you think job seekers should ask during interviews?

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