Best Interviewer & Interviewee Questions

Asking good questions is the key to interviewing for both the interviewer and interviewee. Interviewers want to gain as much insight as possible during the interview process to determine if a candidate is the best fit. Interviewers want someone who will have insightful and comprehensive answers that showcase conversational skills and problem solving. Similarly, it’s important for interviewees to ask well-prepared questions so that potential employers can see how interested they are in the organization and how they might contribute to its success.

First, you can always count on the initial “Tell me something about yourself.” However, be prepared not to talk about every detail of your resume. A good question that avoids someone just reiterating what is already on that piece of paper would be, “Tell me something about you that is not on your resume.” This often brings out stories and unique experiences. If you are asked this question, itis a great way to express who you are, your values, pride in your work, and passion for your career.

Second, the prospective employer wants to hear from you about their organization and why you belong there. Count on them asking, “Why do you want to work here and what made you apply for the role?” A solid answer to this question shows you have researched and express interest in contributing to the success of the company, and you have ideas to share. For the interviewer, this question reveals what you are looking for in an employer as well as how familiar you are with the role.

Third, be prepared for the “What are your weaknesses” question and do not say you don’t have any! This question can be tricky because you do not want to go on about all the shortcomings you feel you have. Don’t forget, this is your time to shine and be humble when appropriate. This question really helps interviewers learn quite a bit about the candidate. Self-awareness is critical so do not think for too long about the perfect answer. Be prepared to share something that shows how you work to overcome and improve upon limitations without giving the impression that a weak point will hinder your ability to perform in the role.

It is equally as important for the interviewee to be prepared to ask questions. Typically, at the very end of the interview, the interviewee will be asked if they have any questions. Avoid asking yes or no questions and at this stage. It is not the right time to ask anything about salary or benefits; keep these questions completely out of your interview Therefore, do not ask anything about perks, compensation, or promotions. Equally as important, do not ask how well you did or if they want to hire you after the interview. The worst thing you can do is answer their question with a no because it shows a complete lack of preparation and interest, whether true or not. Always ask at least two questions at the end of your interview.

Some of the best questions to ask during this part of the interview relate to the next steps in the interview and hiring process. For instance, “What is the next step in the hiring process?” and “Do you have a timeline?” This will show your sincere interest in the position and is a great first question to ask before you get to anything more significant.

In addition, asking about some challenges or issues with competition will invoke a conversation on how you can add value to the organization with creative ways to problem solve and generate future success. For example, you could ask something like “What are the biggest struggles you feel will be faced in this role or for the organization as a whole that you have faced recently?” When you ask this be prepared with a game plan to help and share your ideas in such a way where they will see value in you because you are already thinking like a key player and problem solver in the organization. This may make it easier for them to envision you in this role as a person who has impressive ideas they will benefit from.


Tammy Spenziero is the director of career services at Excelsior College.