There’s no clear cut between good and bad questions, it’s always case by case. You might ask
- Bi-directional decision
You should always keep in mind that the company hiring process is a bi-directional decision. You are evaluated by the interviewer in the interview and at the same time you are also evaluating the company. Ask whatever you want to know about the company and it’s better to treat this as a chance to evaluate whether it’s the right company you’d like to work for. Not only will you get more info about the company to make a decision from your side, but may also impress the interviewer. Shift your mindset and put yourself on equal footing with the interviewer first.
- Do your homework
Spend some time to think about this as part of your preparation and you may also need to do some research about your target company. Normally you should have different questions for different company and most of the time it doesn’t really matter what the question is about, it could be company culture, specific product details etc., but questions about fact that can be easily found online is more of a waste of time.
- Don’t expect much from asking feedback
It’s fine if you ask feedbacks from the interviewer, but don’t expect too much from this. In most of the cases, the interviewer won’t tell you anything except those official replies.
- Don’t ask too many questions for HR
There are quite a few questions that should be asked to HR instead of technical interviewers, but somehow they got asked quite often in interviews. If you are an experienced interviewer, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard so many times of the following questions:
- When do I expect to know the result?
- Will you tell me if I get rejected?
- Salary related questions most of the time the answer is please ask HR people. Sometimes it’s okay to ask one or two this kind of questions if you really care, especially for startups since probably the interviewer has the answer for you.
- Company culture
Apparently it’s very important to understand the company’s culture before you make the decision to join (of course you should also get the offer from the company as well). So asking about company culture is a common good practice. I still remember that one of my Google friend told me that he was quite impressed when the candidate asked him what is one thing that made you feel someone is “Googley”. It shows great interests to the company’s culture instead of asking those boring questions. Lastly the interviewer had never heard of this question before and he had great interests to think and answer it.
It’ll be very impressive if the candidate showed great interests and insight in the product of a company. Imagine that you were the interviewer and you had been working on a product feature for a long while.
- Technical questions
As an engineer, probably technical stuffs are what you care most. However, before asking your questions, do make sure the answer is not the top result in Google. With that in mind, it’s funny to ask what languages are used most in Facebook interview, but it’ll be much better to ask questions like I heard of Facebook IOS has around 18k header files, what is it like to be an IOS engineer and any plan to use Swift.
Aim to always ask open-ended questions, and not questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Few broad categories of questions that are appropriate to ask :
- Questions about the role: This is a great opportunity to learn more about what you’ll do, if it hasn’t already been thoroughly covered in the earlier part of the interview. Some questions are:
- Can you share more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this position? What’s a typical day like?
- If I were hired for this role, what would you want me to achieve in my first months in the position?
- What mechanisms are in place for performance reviews and when would I receive my first formal evaluation?
- In your opinion, what is the single most important indicator for success in this job?
- Questions about the company or the interviewer: This is also a good opportunity to get a sense of company culture and how the company is doing.
- What’s the company organization and management style like?
- What’s one thing that makes you happy to come into work today?
- What are some of the issues facing the company?
- What are the company’s goals for the upcoming year?
- Questions about you: You can use this moment to get a sense of how the interviewer perceived you, and if they think you’re a good candidate. With these questions, you might want to preface by expressing your excitement for the position. And then, based on the feedback you get, you can address the issue on the spot or follow up in your thank you letter. You can ask:
- Do you have any concerns about my candidacy?
- What are you looking for in a candidate?
- Are there any qualifications that you think I’m missing?
Questions to ask the interviewer
- How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- What are the biggest rewards of the job and working for this company?
- What is the best part of working for this company?
- What’s your favorite part about working here?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?