SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
ALWAYS PREPARE QUESTIONS TO ASK THE EMPLOYER
BELOW ARE 30 SAMPLE QUESTIONS
Three to five is a good number of prepared questions. It really depends on what you need to know, the time allowed and how much interaction there was with your questions during the employer's interview.
Having no questions prepared sends the message that you are have no independent thought process, or are ill-prepared, or are not leadership material, or some combination.
- Employers make judgments about you based on the questions you ask. They are asking themselves...
- Have you done your research on the organization? (If yes, good)
- Are you asking rather dull questions that you could find in a web search and about which you have no interest? (If yes, bad)
- Are you asking about salary and benefits? (If yes, bad)
- Are your questions intelligent, thoughtful and cordial? (If yes, great)
- Are you asking questions that only center around yourself? (If yes, bad)
Prioritize your questions based on the interview situation.
- Is this the first interview? Ask for the information that matters most. Is this the second interview?
- By now you should know the basics, so ask more probing questions. Is this an all-day interview during which you are meeting with different groups and individuals? Ask questions that fit the roles of those individuals and groups.
- Ask one same question of all people, in order to compare responses!.
Show you've done your homework. Example:
- "I have done some research on your competition in the area. What can you tell me about your competition? Who is your biggest threat? Why?
- Know the nature of the organization and appropriate terminology. Not all employing organizations are "Tribes." For example some may be Pueblos, Rancherias, Nations or Corporations. Some governmental agencies, and not-for-profit organizations, and are not accurately referred to as companies. Most educational institutions are not-for-profit (although some are), and may call themselves schools, colleges, universities, institutions, etc. Some for-profit organizations may call themselves firms or businesses or agencies. You will appear more prepared if you use appropriate terminology as used by the specific organization.
- Some of your questions may be answered during the course of the interview, before you are offered the opportunity to ask. If so, you can simply state something to the effect that you were interested in knowing about ..., but that was addressed during the interview (and express appreciation for the thorough information you were given). You could ask for additional clarification, if applicable.
- Do not ask questions that are clearly answered on the employer's web site and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer's time by asking these questions.
- There is a time and a place to ask about salary and benefits... ususually it would be the second phase of the employer's interview process, or the on-site interview, if the information is not already published or shared.
EXAMPLES OF WAYS TO ASK QUESTIONS
Just as with questions asked by the interviewer to the candidate:
- Good questions are open-ended, and thus cannot be answered with a "yes" or "no."
- Better questions are behavioral: they ask how things are done or have happened in the past, because current and past behavior and experience is the best predictor of future behavior.
- The least useful questions are hypothetical, such as "what would you do if...name the event or issue...?" The better way to get a useful answer is to ask "what have you done when... name the event or issue....?"
- However, hypothetical questions can make sense if asking about something a person or organization has never experienced; the answer would at least exhibit their thought process.
Not good: Does your organization value its employees? (Aside from being answerable with a "yes" or "no," it almost sounds antagonistic, because a "no" answer is clearly a negative.)
Good: How does your organization show it values its employees?
Better: What are things your organization has done recently to show how it values its employees?
Fair: Are you planning an expansion?
Good: What are the plans for your expansion?
Better: I read a news story about the possibility of an expansion of your casino and hotel. Knowing that a news article does not always capture the full story,
I wondered what factors are under consideration for this decision.
(Notice this isn't technically a question, but a series of statements that shows your interest and that invites a conversation.)
30 SAMPLE QUESTIONS
Ask questions you are truly interested in. Don't ask a question if you are not truly interested in the answer; it will be obvious to the employer.
Your questions must show your own thought process and be based on the position you are applying for.
- What are you looking for from your next person in this position?
- What results did you like from your last person in this position?
- What results could have improved?
- What software systems are predominately used for this position?
- How many direct reports would I be supervising? How many indirect reports would I be supervising?
- What is the first word that comes to mind when you describe this company to your family and friends?
- How would you define the culture of this organization?
- How would you define the code of conduct of employees?
- What is your dress code?
- What is the company's vision for short term and long term goals?
- What are the expected hours and work schedule for the person in this position? What other hours might be expected?
- What is the biggest threat to the success of this organization?
- What are the organization's/company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
- How does upper management view the role and importance of this department and this position?
- What is the organization's plan for the next one to five years, and how does this department fit in?
- Could you explain your top leadership organizational structure? Where does the Tribe fit in? Is there a development board?
- What do you most enjoy about your work with this organization / company / agency?
- What are the various ways employees communicate with one another to carry out their work?
- How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
- What is your company's management style and the type of employee who fits well with it?
- What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
- What is the company's policy on providing mentorship and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
- What is the company's policy on Tribal Member development? How may I help?
- What is the first project I would be working on and what time frame that you would like to see the end result of my efforts?
- How, and by whom, will my performance be reviewed? Are there specific criteria upon which I would be evaluated? And how frequently is a formal and informal review given to new employees?
- How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
- Please describe an ideal employee that will be successful with the departments team?
- What civic organizations is the company involved with?
- When would you like the person selected, to start work?
- How long is your licensing process?