Classic Hacks: What To Ask At Job Interviews

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Almost every job interview ends with a variation of the same question: "Do you have any questions for us?" It goes without saying that you don't want to draw a blank here. However, you also don't want to ask the wrong question and invalidate the rest of the interview. This hack from the archives explains the best way to respond.

We originally published this tip back in 2013 and the advice still holds up. The key is to ask questions that provide information you want to know while simultaneously demonstrating that you're a critical thinker and problem solver. (In other words, questions that suggest selfish priorities - such as pay rates and working from home - are best avoided. These things can be discussed after you are offered the position.)

As we explained in the original post:

The secret is to pose your questions in a way that will get those conducting the interview to talk for a few minutes, and then allow for you to respond to what they say. You should ideally have two or three questions prepared that all fit this pattern.

Here are some example questions from the article:

  • What is the immediate need on your team that you are hoping to fill with this position?

    This will allow the interviewer to talk about a project about to get started, or a required skill-set that they need but are lacking. You can then explain why your experience and expertise make you the perfect person to fill that gap.

  • Can you tell me how your organisation defines success?

    This sounds a bit wanky, but it effectively communicates that you're willing to adapt your style to fit the culture of their workplace. In short, it lets management know that you will do whatever it takes to succeed.

  • How would you describe a typical day on this team?

    At the end of the day, people want to work with people they get along with. This question is an icebreaker designed to encourage some banter between you and the interviewer. Whether they discuss the work or social side of the business, be sure to reinforce that you think it sounds like a great fit and you are excited for the opportunity to contribute.

If you don't feel comfortable asking the above questions for whatever reason, you can find a bunch of additional suggestions here. The important thing is to ask something - preferably an intelligent question that casts you in a good light. Good luck!


Lifehacker's Classic Hacks is a regular segment where we dig up the most popular, useful and offbeat advice from our archives and update it for your modern lifestyle.

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