Interview Questions To Ask And Avoid

If you want job interview success it’s best to prepare a well thought out list of intelligent interview questions, regardless of the level of seniority you have achieved during your career. You will impress your prospective new employer during the interview process if you ask appropriate questions that reflect an understanding of their business.


Multiple interviews

If you know that there will be consecutive interviews in their hiring process, I suggest asking only a few questions during round one and leave the more complex and in-depth questions for the second session, typically held for ‘short-listed’ candidates.

Use your own discretion in this situation and deliver your questions accordingly.  However it is imperative that you have a list of valid and applicable questions to put forward.

If you present yourself well with a calm, quiet professional confidence it is likely you will be asked to attend a second interview. If you feel you need work in this area, practice with a mentor or other interested party, and/or videotape yourself until you feel comfortable and confident.

In a corporate setting, this second interview is a ‘panel’ interview. Following this session usually the final hiring decisions are determined, followed by the preparation of an Offer Letter to be sent out to the selected candidate.

Interview Questions to Ask & Avoid

Appropriate Interview Questions
  • Is this a new position or are you replacing an employee?
  • What are your key priorities for the candidate chosen for this role?
  • What competencies and requirements are crucial to achieving success in this role?
  • Are there any additional skills that are now expected for this role?
  • In what ways was my predecessor successful in this role? (if applicable)
  • What would you like to see handled differently by the next person in this role? (if applicable)
  • What would be your expectations of me within the first 6-12 months with your firm?
  • Are there particular challenges or possible obstacles that you expect I may have to overcome?
  • What are some of your long-term objectives for the XXX division, and the company overall?
  • Do you have specific objectives for me to meet within the XXX division?
  • Who are the key people I will interface with, and how can I assist them?
  • How would you describe the culture of the company?
  • Does the XXX department have a training plan in place for new employees?
Inappropriate Interview Questions
  • What is the salary for this role?
  • How often are raises given? Bonus Structure?
  • What does your firm offer in the way of a benefits package, what is included?
  • Is overtime a requirement for this role, and if so, how often and how much?
  • What can I do to be promoted within the XXX division or company?
  • Are there any expansion plans for the XXX division?
  • Do you offer free educational training?
  • Will I have to share my office or work station?
  • What is the personality of the boss in the XXX division?
  • How long have you been with the company?
  • What do you like about this company? Dislike?
  • What is the company turnover ratio?
  • What are the company plans for improving your financial position?

Don’t forget the basics

Take extra copies of your resume and portfolio (if appropriate for the work you do) in case you are asked for them. 

Take a notepad and pen and ask if you may take notes. If you are declined, be sure to jot down some notes as soon as you are out of the interview, when everything is still fresh in your mind.

Read our blog post Job Interview Success Tips and Strategies.

[Updated July 13, 2020]



Jenni Proctor