Countdown: The Top 5 Questions to Ask the Hiring Manager

Mar 23, 2023

Being asked, “Do you have any questions?” at the end of an interview can be daunting. You want to show interest and get some answers of your own, but you’re not sure how best to go about it. We’ve created this list as a guide to help you build your own question list, dependent on your specific situation. Here are our Top 5 questions you should ask the hiring manager during an interview and why you should ask them!

5. What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?

The answer to this question will give you insight into the company’s and hiring manager’s expectations of their new hire. You’ll likely be able to tell if they have a plan for the first 90 days or if they are answering on the fly. Hopefully, they have a plan or at least ideas about what the new hire will be doing in the first three months.

This question also signals to the interviewer that you’re interested in the reality of the position and looking beyond the published job description. You’ll be able to prepare for responsibilities or tasks not mentioned in the formal description by obtaining a new certificate or requesting specific training in advance.

4. What are the company’s current goals, and how does this team work to support them?

Each position and team within a company should be able to look at the “big picture” and see how their actions support overall company goals. Just by asking this question, you’re signaling that you understand this important fact! The interviewer will be impressed with your awareness of business operations.

The answer you receive is helpful because you’ll get a clear picture of the role you and your team will play in the overall structure of the company. Here you can double check to see if your skills and your personal goals align with the duties of the position.

3. What are the team’s biggest strengths and challenges?

Learning about your potential colleagues and their capabilities as a team is critical for understanding your future role. How can you bring support to the team? Do your strengths align with their weaknesses and vice versa? If the interviewer mentions skills that are currently missing from the team, evaluate whether you can bring those skills to the table. If you can, be sure to speak up and describe ways you’ve used those skills in the past.

2. How would you describe the work environment here?

Instead of asking what the company culture is like, being specific with a question about the work environment will give you a better answer. You’ll get information about the culture, but hopefully you’ll also hear about the day-to-day interactions between staff members. Is there exposure to upper management? Collaboration with other teams? Do most people typically work independently or find ways to work together on projects? These follow up questions can help the interviewer expand on their previous answer if it is not descriptive enough.

1. Do you have any reservations about my fit for the position?

This is the number one question to ask and the very last one you want to provide. Interviewers love hearing this because – let’s face it – it’s a scary thing to ask and shows that you have confidence. You’ll likely catch them off guard and hopefully get a thoughtfully frank answer from them. This gives you a final chance to clarify any misconceptions and describe any skills that you haven’t yet mentioned. If you hear something referenced that isn’t on the formal job description, you’re gaining even more insight into the reality of the role. This will position you to defend against any perceived weaknesses and allow you to have the final word and make a lasting impression!

Written by: Sarah Perlman & Alessandra Cespedes

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