What do you ask at a job interview?

integrated business solutions

Have you been interviewed by a large number of potential employers and have you thought of asking them certain questions or of making clear different contractual, administrative or professional aspects but you have been, somehow, shy not being able to express your queries ? It might be. But, whatever you may do from now on at future interviews is important. Thus, you can find below some structured key questions that you could (preferably) ask your interviewer.

1. Right from the beginning of the interview, after you became acquainted with the interviewer and you have changed some impressions (maybe you got addressed some questions) you could ask:

What is the reason of having the senior accountant position (for example) available?

Thus you can find out from the answer of the potential employer if the job in question is available as a result of layoffs, opening  a new position, replacing a person who enters into child raising leave, an experiment etc.

This way you can make an idea (although a general one) about your role within the company (on a short, medium or long term), the expectations of the employer or that of the working environment.  On the other hand, you may find out about your objectives related to the job you are applying for.

2. Are there any specific issues that I need to know from the beginning? – Such a question is appropriate for the end of the interview (because the interviewer himself/herself make a slight review of the information provided during the last 40 minutes and can notice if any important information has been forgotten or hasn’t been mentioned to you).

3. How is the policy of your company structured? More exactly I would like to ask you if overwork is  practiced and if overtime is  paid, if, how, when and whom the activity reports are presented, if there are certain obligations regarding regulations on clothing and how to proceed with the holiday period, assents, delegations (if applicable).

Of course it isn’t necessary to ask exactly this way.  You can ask the above mentioned questions separately as one single question. You can also ask about benefits (meal vouchers).

4. What are the goals of the company for the next3-4 years? (the general ones at least).

This way, you can identify the extending opportunities of the company, the maintaining of a certain cash flow in the company, the increasing the number of employees, the diversifying of services, etc. (you will discuss these issues most likely, but not necessarily, at the second interview)

5. There is something I don’t understand. Namely (you say what you want to find out or what concerns you). Can you explain?

It is preferable (it is not a drama if you do not respect the following structure) to ask such questions at the following moments:

A. At the beginning of the interview (questions  about  what  you didn’t understand in the description from the recruitment announcement, on the company’s website or in the email sent by the potential employer).

B. In the middle of the interview (maybe you didn’t understand very well whom you are to report to, whom you work with, what the most important responsibilities are,  etc. – this way you ask questions regarding such issues).

C. At the end of the interview (questions related to the following steps: if there is a second or possibly a third interview, contractual details, work test, etc.)

Other key questions:

Is the salary correctly and lawfully allocated? – To be sure of  stability,  security and professional fair play you are or are not treated and to avoid certain low strictness (even as an employee you may be considered responsible for a partial legal contract).

Moreover, if certain contractual clauses seem to be intrusive, hard or improper, you should certainly  discuss them with the potential employer and later on analyse in detail what it is about.

Will I work only at this office or will I be assigned elsewhere too? What are the criteria for promotion within the company?


The questions can be customized in accordance with the job you are applying for.  

Questions about the salary come usually from the employer. Eg: Which salary do you expect?

It is advisable to set your salary expectations at home to avoid too much hesitation at the interview. Do not think that you ask too much or too little, etc. make the analysis of your needs, maybe add to the minimum need of X lei an amount of 300-400 lei in order to to get a decent income. Certainly the income will increase in time, in accordance with seniority, the company’s policy, your performance.

Silviu Botezatu – Staffing Manager, People Solutions / HRS Outsourcing