16 Impressive Questions to Ask in a Tech Job InterviewOct 01, 2023
Read time: 5 minutes
As a candidate, the questions you ask can make or break your interview.
I once interviewed a candidate with amazing experience and a perfect resume. On paper, he was a perfect fit for the role I was hiring for.
When it came time to interview him, he responded well to my questions. But part of the way through the interview, I asked him, “What questions do you have for me?” And he responded, “I don’t have any. I’m good.”
I thought to myself, 'damn, what missed opportunity.' 😩
I ended up hiring a less experienced candidate for this particular Solutions Consulting position because I needed someone who was curious, interested, and would lean into, not shy away from, asking my customer’s questions.
In the 1,000+ interviews I’ve done in my career, here’s what I can tell you…
This is what goes through the manager’s mind if you don’t ask questions or ask generic questions:
- You’re not interested in the role or company
- You didn’t do your research or prepare for the interview
- You won’t be able to learn quickly if you join the team because you don’t ask questions
- You’re overconfident and know everything already - but I’d rather have humble, curious teammates who are always eager to learn more
5 reasons why you should prepare good questions to ask in an interview:
- Unique, thoughtful questions make you memorable and help you stand out from other candidates
- Ensure the role and company are a good fit for YOU. You’re interviewing to determine the companies fit for you, just as they’re interviewing you.
- Demonstrates your interest and desire for the role. Candidates who seem disinterested or overconfident don’t get hired.
- Exhibit your curiosity and thought process. Being inquisitive is essential in most roles, especially customer-facing roles such as sales, sales engineering, customer success, project management, etc.
- Show you’re well prepared and did your research.
Generic, surface-level questions don’t help you stand out.
You'll want to avoid asking these questions because hiring managers always get asked them, so they won't help you stand out.
“What’s the company culture like?”
“What do you like about working at [Company]?”
"Can you describe the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?”
“What are the company’s long-term goals?”
or any other question that can be easily answered from information on the job description or on the company's homepage.
So, what questions should you ask the interviewers?
It depends on who your interviewer is.
You want to ask questions that are relevant to them.
They will appreciate questions based on their role/position within the company and questions they are well suited to answer.
You also want to demonstrate that you’ve done research by including what you’ve discovered in your question. For example:
“I read that [Company] has a strategic initiative to expand into new markets. How do you see this role playing a part in successfully achieving the goals for the initiative?”
Example Questions to Make You Stand Out
Here are example questions you can ask for the different interviewer roles
- What do your team's best, most effective, [ROLE] do differently than the others (average performer)?
- How is performance measured in this role? Are there specific metrics or goals I should be aware of?
- Fast forward one year, and you're looking back on this hire. What did they do to exceed every expectation?
- What is an example of exceeding expectations in this role?
- What goals has your manager set for you over the next 6 months? How can this hire help you achieve them?
- Besides what's available [be specific] on your company's website, are there any resources you can recommend I dig into to get up to speed quickly?
Leaders (other management-level leaders in the organization)
- What are some "challenges or areas of opportunity" your team is experiencing that, once addressed, will make your team even stronger? How do you see this role contributing to closing the gap?
- What’s an example of process or policy changes that were made based on feedback from team members/employees?
- How does the company listen to its employees? Is there a feedback mechanism in place?
- I noticed on your company’s website that [Core Value] is a core value. How do you see that value manifest on your team?
Peers (future team members)
- Describe your ideal teammate. Who do you enjoy working with?
- Have you grown your career while working here? In what way(s)?
- How do you see this team evolving in the next year or two, and what role could I play in that evolution?
- Can you describe the team's communication and collaboration style and how I can fit into that dynamic effectively?
- What do you believe sets someone apart from others who thrive in this role, and how can I prepare myself to excel in those areas?
- How does the team typically handle challenges or setbacks, and what role do team members play in finding solutions?
These are examples to help you get started. The best questions are questions you’re genuinely interested in learning more about, but this list should help you craft your own.
It’s best to prepare 5-6 questions for each interviewer. You typically will only have time to ask 2-3 questions, but it’s good to be prepared in case you have additional time.
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