Interview Questions for Employers

In an interview, it is important to be prepared when the interviewer asks   "Do you have any questions for me?" You may not believe it, but this deceptively casual question could determine your future potential. Bruce Hurwitz explains the top 10 good and bad questions to ask an interviewer.

Most importantly, it is crucial to actually have a question to ask. If they say "Do you have any questions for me?" and you respond with a "no" they can assume that you have no real interest in the job and your chance at employment is gone. But simply having a question is not the only key- you need to make sure it is a good question. Here are several questions you can ask that will severely undermine your chances as a candidate. 

1. "What do you do?"

This question, when posed at the end of an interview to the person who took a lot of time out of their day to meet with you, shows that the candidate is lazy and unprepared. If you are meeting with a potential employer, you should know what that person's position is, their job description, and a vague idea of what they do, so you don't have to go through an interview wondering. 

2. How many vacation, personal, and sick days do I get?

Obviously, this candidate is interested less in working and more in getting money. Companies want people who want to be at work, not people who take as many days off as possible without getting paid. Even if you are curious, you should save that question for a later time. 

3. "Why is the position vacant?"

As shown below, there are many more diplomatic and professional ways to ask questions such as this. While important information to know, the phrasing makes this seem gossipy and petty, and can tarnish your image. 

Phrasing is key to asking a good question at the end of an interview. While there may be some information you want to know, sometimes you cannot just outright ask.  Below are more diplomatic ways to phrase the same questions.  

1. A rephrasing of question #3 above: "What did the previous holder of the position do that you would like to see continued and what would you like to see done differently?"

This focuses on both the positive and negative of your predecessor, so you know not only what is expected of you but also what you need to improve on. This focuses on the employer's needs rather than your curiosity. 

2. "What is your average employee turnover rate?"

People usually want to know how people like working at their potential employer's place of business, but candidates cannot simply ask if it is a good place to work. Low employee turnover tends to meant that people are content with their jobs and the office is a good place to work. High employee turnover tends to means people are unsatisfied and leave in a short period of time. Another way of asking is "How long does the average employee stay?" More than 5 years is excellent. 

3. "Why do you like working here?"

Not only do people LOVE talking about themselves, it also shows that you have a genuine interest in hearing more about the company and establishing interpersonal relationships. 

4. "What type of person succeeds here?"

This shows that you not only care about success, but you care about how your work ethic will mesh with the company, and will make sure that you will fit in. 

This is not the end-all guide for questions to ask (or not ask) in an interview, but rather a basic guideline. Employers want to know that you are paying attention and care about the position. Show it through your questions for them!