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Appearing for the Job interview – Asking the right questions to the panel

During any job interview, the interviewer towards the end of interview gives the opportunity to the candidate to ask questions he or she may have. Based on kind of questions asked by the candidate selection chances sometimes may get affected to some extent. This article aims to lay down what kind of questions that should or should not be asked towards the end of the interview so that your success chances are not hampered.


The job interview is normally a one-way traffic where an interviewer keeps on asking the questions and the candidate keeps on answering. But that does not mean that candidate cannot ask any questions to the interviewer. Interview ethics require interviewer to provide the candidate chances to ask certain questions at the end of the interview and most of the interviewers nowadays do that. But what kind of questions can candidate ask? Is it necessary to have some questions at the end? Well, it is not mandatory to ask the questions towards the end of the interview. But it is seen that asking right and good questions to the interviewers sometimes work in favor of candidate's chances of getting selected. Candidates can even choose not to ask any questions, but my suggestion is that it is better to ask right questions. Your silence can mean lack of interest in the job to your interviewer. On the other hand, wrong and haphazard questions asked just for the sake of asking may mar the chances of selection as well. So what are the right and wrong questions let us figure out below?

Questions that a candidate can ask in the interview

  1. About the roles and responsibilities : What roles and responsibilities a candidate is going to handle after joining the company is very important and hence it should be asked if it is not made clear during the interview. Candidate should try to get from the interviewer as to what kind of job profile he or she is going to have and what would be the deliverables. This will also reflect the interviewer that candidate is serious about the job.
  2. About the company : To give good impression to the panel candidate should always try to ask questions related to company like what product and services the company is into, who are its competitors, what technology the company is using and what are the future plans and prospects of the company. With these questions, the interviewer will definitely feel that candidate is truly interested in the company and he is not there just to get a job in any company.
  3. Career path : At the end of the interview you can always ask about a typical career path in the company. It will give you an idea as to how and in what roles you can grow within the company. Like does company have a career path for both managerial and individual technical contributor roles? These type of questions can reflect candidate's long-term interest in the company.
  4. Five years down the line : Candidate can always ask the interviewer that where you can see yourself in the organization 5 years down the line? This kind of question will make the interviewer feel that you have a long-term interest in the organization and are not here to be there just for a year or two.

Questions that should not be asked in the interview

  1. Salary related : Salary related discussion is something which you can avoid during an interview from your side. The hiring manager or HR will themselves have this discussion with you at the right time. So you should not be over inquisitive about it and talk about it prematurely. It may spoil your chances of selection as well as hiring manager will feel that you are more interested in salary part rather than work.
  2. Regarding designation : After salary designation is another thing which candidates are more particular about. They are always curious as to what position they would be hired. Whether they would be hired as manager or lead etc. Most of the time designation will be clear to you when you apply or when HR calls you for an interview but in many cases, it is disclosed during the time of interview. When this is the case candidate should be patient and let hiring manager talk about it rather than getting inquisitive and asking about it. Again if you ask and discuss too much about it it can create the wrong impression about you and again spoil your chances of selection. The reason is that hiring manager will again feel that you are more interested in designations rather than work.
  3. Work-life balance : Many candidates end up in asking about work-life balance of the employees in the company. They also want to know whether work schedule is hectic or cool and what are the normal office timings. Although nowadays many companies are promoting work-life balance to keep employees stress free but still these kinds of questions can be avoided as they too create a wrong impression in minds of hiring managers. They may think that you are kind of person who is not willing to stretch working hours if required and prefer less 9 to 5 work. Sometimes this may also prove negative for the candidate.
  4. About promotions and salary hike : Again questions like when will I get promoted and when will salary be hiked and what is average hike percentage should not be asked. Such questions reflect that you are selfish in your attitude and only care about your growth and not the betterment of the company. In the interview, your aim should be to reflect how the company can benefit from your skill rather than how you can benefit from the company.
  5. About benefits : There are many benefits that companies normally provide to their employees like insurance, time-off, medical reimbursement etc. But questions related to this should never be asked during an interview as it will give an impression to the panel that you are more interested in trivial things rather than main work. If you clear the interview and join the organization or if there is an HR interview than some of these things you will automatically get to know.


Hence if you are attending an interview and it is very important for you to get the job then make sure that you do not ask unwanted questions as mentioned above. You may think that your skills matter in the selection and how do these questions effect? But let me tell you many companies along with your skill to do the job also look at your attitude, mindset, and passion for work. So here it may prove a negative point for you as far as chance of your selection is concerned. On the other hand, if you ask very good and intelligent questions then hiring manager can be impressed and believe that you are really interested in the job and the company. So it can increase your chances of selection. It is a truth that for companies both your skills and attitude are important to get their job done. My concluding tip is that if your interviewer asks you that do you have any questions and if you cannot think of any good questions to ask then it is better to remain silent and say I have no questions. It is better than asking haphazard questions just for the sake of asking.


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao14 Mar 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

It is true that we should not ask about the salary and perks or designation in the interview if the scales are fixed and if they have mentioned all the details in the interview call letter. In multinational companies and for IT professionals there will be a separate technical interview and HR interview. Mainly HR interview will be on these matters only. But in the technical interview, we should not bring in these questions. But some companies conduct only one interview wherein all the matters will be discussed and they themselves will raise the questions on these issues. In such situations, we have to make our stand clear and should not hesitate to ask the details. In case of freshers, they need not worry about the designation but they need to put up some experience. But in case of experienced persons, this matter should also be discussed in the same interview. At any point in time and in an interview, we should not bring in the work-life balance. We have to obtain that information from other sources but not in the interview. These days one should go to the website before attending the interview and know about the company and while talking in the interview the candidate's questions should be in such a way that the interviewer should know that he learned something about the Organisation which shows the interest of the candidate.

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