interview questions

6 Questions to Ask During Your Interview That Will Make an Employer Want to Hire You

It’s common advice among job seekers: when you’re interviewing, you need to interview the employer right back. After all, you’re the one who is potentially going to fill this position, so you need to know if it’s going to be a good fit, right?

Except that while salary ranges, benefits and schedule flexibility are important details you deserve answers to, hiring managers don’t appreciate questions like these until at least your second interview (or maybe even after they’ve made you an offer).

During your first interview, the “impress me dance” is still in full swing. When a potential employer asks if you have any questions, they don’t want inquiries about parking validation; they want to see if you’re prepared, educated and inquisitive.  

Here are six questions to ask at the end of your interview that will help you master the twisted tango of getting hired:

1. If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?

The answer to this question will give you more insight into the current state of the position, while the question shows that you’re invested and interested in learning how you can start things off with a bang. The added bonus lies in the Jedi mind trick: now you’ve already got your interviewer picturing you as the position holder.

2. What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?

The answer to this will be very telling. “Creative” and “intuitive” can be translated to mean you will be on your own, while “patient” and “collaborative” could mean the opposite. Not only will this question allow you to feel out whether you’re going to be a good fit; it will also get your interviewer to look past the paper resume and see you as an individual.

3. What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?

This answer can shed light on what might have made the last person lose (or leave) the job, and it also tips you off on the path to success. Asking this shows an employer you are eager to be the best candidate to ever fill this position.

4. I know this company prides itself on X and Y, so what would you say is the most important aspect of your culture?

This type of question is sure to impress, as it shows that you’ve done your research on the company and gives you a chance to gain insight into what values are held to the highest ideal.

5. Do you like working here?

This question might take interviewers back a bit, but their answer will be telling. A good sign is a confident smile and an enthusiastic “yes” paired with an explanation as to why. If they shift in their seat, look away, cough and start with “Well…”, consider it a red flag.

Regardless of their answer, employers appreciate getting a chance to reflect on their own opinions, and this turns the interview process into more of a conversation.

6. Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?

Yes, asking this question can be scary, but it can also be beneficial. Not only does it give you a chance to redeem any hesitations the employer might have about you; it also demonstrates that you can take constructive criticism and are eager to improve—valuable qualities in any candidate.

What other questions would you ask to wow an interviewer?

Kelly Gregorio writes about workplace trends and motivation while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a small business loan provider. You can read her daily blog at


  1. All great questions, but I think the #1 question that an interviewee should ask is the direct one (that rarely gets asked flat-out): “Can I have the job?” All too often the company and the candidate are caught up in tip toeing around each other in some kind of delicate and ambiguous dance of job descriptions, titles, salaries, culture, profit sharing, stock options and free snacks. If all the right questions have been asked and answered, and the buy signs are present on both sides, have the cajones and directly ask for the job. It shows you have drive, motivation, sense of direction, guts, spirit and a genuine desire to do the work.

    • It’s “When can I start?” I think is appropriate after the meeting is concluded, the client (company) is on a positive vibe, candidate is feeling this is the position for him/her.

  2. This is why I like this site, they provide new answers/insights to common questions. 4 out of 5 career sites usually just rehash the same advice, fortunately this is the 1 out of 5 site that gives me something new.

  3. While this is an excellent list of questions to ask, I hate that everyone seems to promote not asking about compensation details. So many companies don’t even list a salary range (and yes I know about Glassdoor but those stats are wildly undependable), and expect you to jump through massive hoops to get a job you may not even want if the salary is too low. It is also unfair to job seekers to expect them to cough up figures on their salary history but not provide the expected range for the position. This methodology does nothing but waste everyone’s time and effort.

    • Guest

      The tried and true advice remains: Never ask about compensation and benefits during the first big interview, even if you’re worried you might be wasting your and your interviewer’s time. There’s plenty of opportunity to work that out after you’ve wooed them. Do, however, use any type of initial screening call from human resources before the interview to find out what the salary range may be so you know whether you’re in the same ballpark.

  4. GeeZee

    I once asked similar questions during an interview and the CEO’s response was, “So who’s interviewing who here? I’m the only one who gets to ask the questions.” Needless to say, that response gave me a huge insight into how it would be like to work for that person had I taken the job.

  5. Amanda @

    Great article! I always like to ask about a company’s top performer and how they earned that spot. I think it offers them a glimpse of my direct personality and shows that I have interest in doing the best work possible.

  6. Jenn Mack, SPHR

    Love these questions. I get so disappointed when I ask my candidates if they have any questions, and they reply, “nope, I’ve checked out your website”.

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  9. Nancy

    Somethings along the lines of – how will I be evaluated within my first 30, 60, 90 days? What goals must I achieve in order to be successful here?

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  11. JamesB

    Along the lines of question five I’ve always asked “what’s the best thing about working here?”. I then follow that up with “what’s the worst thing about working here?”. As you can imagine I’ve got far greater insight from the answers to the second question.

  12. Evelyn,Tian

    I guess it depends who you interview with, if the person who from Asian culture background, I don’t think they like for example question 5, it seems not really respectful for Asian senior. but I do like question 3. question 1 seems a little anxious. regarding with other questions, I guess it also depends you are interviewing with company HR or the potential department.

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  19. Erika

    So, today I used #6: “Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?” I told my friend I did this and she said it may have been a bad idea because it gives the employer an opportunity to think about all the bad things that may have happened, rather than focusing on the positive things. Just throwing that out there. Anyways, he said that I put him on the spot and that he’s never been asked that before. But, I think the response I got was pretty good.

    • Rob Fagiano-Gleason

      I think thats wrong, because its like selling, you are selling yourself, and you want to know what the negative is, “Why arent you ready to by this/me” They answer with such and such, and it gives you an opportunity to say, “with all due respect, please let me remind you that, throughout my career, I have been involved with….” or “Im glad you mention that, because in my….”

  20. jkoseattle

    All questions are good, except that they need to be made more specific to the job and the interviewers, otherwise they will sound like you pulled them off a web article! Also, Scratch #6 entirely. As another commenter said, it’s a bad idea to give your interviewer a chance to think about anything they don’t like about you. You have to make them believe you are perfect. And anyway, what can you say to what they respond with that isn’t going to sound defensive!?

  21. spaypet

    “Sigh.” Yes, ask questions after the interview, but I hate these advice articles because there is no “one size fits all” thing. I would NEVER say, When can I start? How incredibly rude. They have to look over your stuff and look over every one else’s stuff and confer with each other. Instead of asking that, perhaps ask, “What is your time line on this?” IOW, when will you be making your hiring decision.

    Also, you can ask all these questions, but don’t be surprised if someone thinks you are aggressive and abrupt. I was actually accused of being that after I was interviewed.
    And these might be good questions for general business jobs, only five and six may be appropriate for teaching jobs.
    I hesititate about number 5, especially if you’re being interviewed by more than one person. What is the interviewer going to say, no?

  22. HerMelness

    Absolutely! The advice I give young people all the time. Don’t wait until you get the job to realise these people were not right for YOU.

    Two others I would add to the list are:

    1. What aspect(s) of my Resumé secured me this interview?


    2. When am I likely to hear whether I have been successful in securing the position?

    Too many people walk out of an interview with it open ended and then spend days wondering should they / shouldn’t they call to see what happened.

    I enjoyed your post.

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  24. Mr x.

    good stuff man! I tried some of these questions, in particular q1 & q6. They always responded with “that’s a very good question”. Until now, it has always rocketed me to the second interview :) Thank you!

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  26. Ashley

    The way I ask the question is “Do you have any reservations about hiring me that I could address?” Definitely helped me get the last job I interviewed for.
    Also, asking “What can I do to exceed your expectations?” lets them think of you in the position, and also shows that you are eager to do exactly what they need from you and then some.

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  28. Those are all great questions. I do know of a question NOT to ask though. Back many years ago when I had my first interview, I made the mistake of asking, ‘Do I get a company car?’ Open mouth, insert foot! Needless to say, I did not get a second interview nor did I get the job. Stay away from asking those types of questions that make you appear to be not so interested in the job and too interested in all the perks.

    • hey

      I did ask same some years ago but negotiated a bit too much abt money, while they declined about the care afair, had lots of interviews with them after so they still were about to hire me. So no taboos, I think

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  32. valiamo

    Question # 6 – Used this one today, and was surprized by the answer that I received from the interviewer. She said I may be overqualified for the job, and and I may be bored. Luckly, I asked this question and was able to re-affirm with the her that this was exactly the position I seeking, the right responsibility level and that I wanted to join her company. lets see if I get to the next stage of a job offer….

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