Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer & Land Top Jobs

Employees who love their jobs naturally recommend their company to their friends and peers. The same is true for people in leadership positions — people naturally try to bring on board talented people they previously worked with. They’ve built relationships, developed trust, and shown a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to follow them to a new organization.

Show Your Interest for the Position

Here are top questions you should absolutely ask an interviewer:

  1. What’s the next step in the interview/hiring process?
  2. How long does your recruitment process usually take?
  3. What are the primary responsibilities of the position?
  4. What would my day-to-day routine look like if I got the job?
  5. What can you tell me about the job apart from what was in the description?
  6. What would I be expected to accomplish in my first month/year on the job?
  7. What is the key to succeeding in this role?
  8. What does it look like during the busiest and toughest times for this role?
  9. Would I need to travel for the position?
  10. What kind of hours are expected for me to perform the role at maximum capacity?
  11. Is overtime expected and/or allowed?
  12. Could you tell me a little bit about the person I would report to directly?
  13. What is the onboarding process like for new hires?
  14. How many people will I be working with?
  15. If I were hired for the position, what would be the ideal starting date?
  16. Do you expect the responsibilities for this role to change in the near future?

Pro Tip: Avoid asking the interviewer yes/no questions. Just as they will save their yes/no questions mostly for the job application, your few questions posed should solicit a detailed response. Also, many of these answers can probably be found online.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Answers to this question go one of two basic ways. Candidates try to show their incredible ambition (because that’s what they think you want) by providing an extremely optimistic answer: “I want your job!” Or they try to show their humility (because that’s what they think you want) by providing a meek, self-deprecating answer: “There are so many talented people here. I just want to do a great job and see where my talents take me.”

Since a candidate cannot compare himself with people he doesn’t know, all he can do is describe his incredible passion and desire and commitment and . well, basically beg for the job. (Way too many interviewers ask the question and then sit back, arms folded, as if to say, “Go ahead. I’m listening. Try to convince me.”)

Rarely do candidates come to the end of an interview feeling they’ve done their best. Maybe the conversation went in an unexpected direction. Maybe the interviewer focused on one aspect of their skills and totally ignored other key attributes. Or maybe candidates started the interview nervous and hesitant, and now wish they could go back and better describe their qualifications and experience.

“What is your leadership style?”

This is a tough question to answer without dipping into platitudes. Try sharing leadership examples instead. Say, “The best way for me to answer that is to give you a few examples of leadership challenges I’ve faced,” and then share situations where you dealt with a problem, motivated a team, worked through a crisis. Explain what you did and that will give the interviewer a great sense of how you lead.

No one agrees with every decision. Disagreements are fine; it’s what you do when you disagree that matters. (We all know people who love to have the “meeting after the meeting,” where they’ve supported a decision in the meeting but they then go out and undermine it.)

Show that you were professional. Show that you raised your concerns in a productive way. If you have an example that proves you can effect change, great — and if you don’t, show that you can support a decision even though you think it’s wrong (as long as it’s not unethical, immoral, etc.).

Sample Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview

Questions about the specific job

Questions about the team

Questions for your potential boss

Questions about the company

Questions about the culture

Lees warns that you should take answers to questions about the company culture with a grain of salt. It’s highly unlikely that the interviewee is going to come out and tell you that the culture is unwelcoming, or even toxic. That’s why questions like #22 below can be helpful. They get at company culture without explicitly asking about it and can “help you uncover any unexpected elements about your potential new workplace,” Markman says.

  1. How do you typically onboard employees?
    • If the position will be remote, ask specifically about how remote employees are integrated into the company culture, Markman advises.
  2. What do new employees typically find surprising after they start?
  3. Is there anything that I should read before starting that would help me have a shared understanding with my colleagues?
    • Asking this question not only signals your interest in the position but also shows that you’re eager to have “shared cultural references with the people you’ll be working with,” Markman says.
  4. What’s your favorite office tradition?
  5. What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
  6. Do you ever do joint events with other departments or teams?
  7. What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
  8. How has the company changed since you joined?

Questions about professional development, career paths, and future opportunities

Markman says it’s critical to understand what growth and career development will look like in the job. You want to be sure that you can see yourself not just in the role you’re currently applying for but that there is a career path at the organization that you’re excited about.

Closing questions

Questions to Avoid

You want to avoid asking about salary and benefits too early in the process, Lees advises. “You’re not in a position to negotiate well because you’re still in unknown territory. The time to discuss salary is after they’ve fallen in love with you,” he explains. But what if the interviewer asks you about your salary requirements? This video offers helpful tips for how to navigate that complicated question:

This opportunity to ask questions is one you don’t want to waste. It’s both a chance to continue to prove yourself and to find out whether this job is the right fit for you. Of course, you aren’t going to ask all 38 of these questions. Choose the ones that are more relevant to you, your interests, and the specific job ahead of time. Then write them down — either on a piece of paper or on your phone — and glance at them ahead of time so that they’re fresh in your mind. And, of course, be mindful of the interviewer’s time. If you were scheduled to talk for an hour and they turn to you with five minutes left, choose two or three questions that are most important to you. You will always have more time to ask questions once you have the job offer in hand.



Study Hacks to Improve Your Memory

Head over to YouTube and searching for a “study with me” video. It’s like having someone there to study with, on tap. Just don’t fall into a rabbit hole of recommended videos while you’re there!

study hacks for exams

20 Study Hacks to Improve Your Memory

We have scoured our brains and the internet for the best study hacks to help your brain remember information. Memory is a muscle. Get it in shape. This well help you to remember quicker and more easily. This will help you in your exams and in your life.

1. Walk Before An Exam

It’s been proven that exercise can boost your memory and brain power. Research conducted by Dr. Chuck Hillman of the University of Illinois provides evidence that about 20 minutes exercise before an exam can improve performance.

study hacks for exams

2. Speak Out Loud Instead of Simply Reading

Although this may make you look a little crazy, give it a go! You will be surprised how much more you can remember when you’ve said it out loud. Warning: Don’t try this in a crowded library!

study methods

3. Reward Yourself With A Treat

There are many ways to integrate a reward system into your habits so you learn how to study for exams more efficiently. Here’s a simple way to motivate yourself to study with Gummy Bears:

Study Hacks Reward System

4. Teach What You Have Learned

The best way to test if you really understand something is to try to teach it to someone else. If you can’t get anyone to listen to you explain the Pythagorean Theorem, why not teach a class of stuffed animals!

how to study for exams

Hacks to boost your memory and learning

14. Get environment savvy

So, if you’re going to be sitting in an exam hall when you’re being tested, then the closer you can replicate an exam-hall like environment during at least some of your learning, the more you’ll get a small boost to memory come exam time.

15. Make it harder

There’s some evidence that a slightly harder-to-read font is actually better for memory, perhaps because it forces your eyes to really take in the words rather than skimming through.

16. Retrieve to re-read

17. Write and flash

best study hacks

If you need to practice remembering anything complicated (like a list of 4 or 5 or more items, or a complex equation or formula), don’t recall it in your head – write it down. It will massively help you recall the whole thing – trust me!

18. Number and flash

If your flashcard has a list on the back, put the number of items in the list on the front – that way you know how many items you’re aiming for in your retrieval practice.

19. Order is important

Take advantage of the primacy effect, which says that things you study early on in a session are more likely to be remembered – perhaps because you’re at your freshest and most alert.

20. Have you got a sore thumb?

As a student, I liked to break up the pattern of predictable study notes or flashcards, especially on topics that could be a little dry, by adding a zany phrase or a joke – even if it was completely unrelated to the material!

21. Freshen up outdoors

22. Catch some zzz’s

Brandon Sanderson’s Advice for Doing Hard Things

A reader recently sent me a video of a keynote speech, delivered in 2020 by the popular fantasy novelist Brandon Sanderson. The title of the presentation was “The Common Lies Writers Tell You,” but its real message was more general.

Sanderson starts (perhaps channeling a young Cal Newport) by pushing back on our common instinct to tell kids “you can do anything you want to” or “follow your dreams.” He argues that these aphorisms inflict a disservice on impressionable minds as they obfuscate the complexity, and frustration, and nuance involved in actually pursuing remarkable goals.

Sanderson then proceeds to details three tips, drawn from his experience as a successful novelist, to help structure any attempt to tackle hard things. I found his advice both interesting and refreshingly blunt, so I thought it might be useful to summarize his three tips here, annotated with some of my own thoughts…

Part 3 – Pick a Study Method That Works for You

List of Study Methods

Mindlessly reading through your notes or textbooks isn’t an effective method of studying; it doesn’t help you process the information. Instead, you should use a proven study strategy that will help you think through the material and retain the information.

Strategy #1 – SQ3R Method

Strategy #2 – PQ4R Method

Effective Study Skills for Students

Strategy #3 – THIEVES Method

Studying Online

Dr. Tony Bates has written a thoughtful and thorough guide to studying online, A Student Guide to Studying Online. Not only does he highlight the importance of paying attention to course design, but he also offers helpful tips on how to choose the best online program and manage your course load.

Listening To Music

You can blast Drake if you want, but you wouldn’t be getting anything done because you’re belting at the top of your lungs while your unfinished essay sits in front of you. Listening to natural sounds, podcasts or ambient noises boost productivity. They provide a soothing background sound that keeps you focused and working. You can listen to lo-fi music as well, which works for me!

During this time of uncertainty, it can be hard to communicate and build relationships with professors or teachers. Communication is a great study hack that I believe has increased my accessibility to resources as well as improved my grades. Use email and attend office hours even if they’re virtual! Whether it’s a teacher or professor, you should communicate and get to know them more.

They are there to help you and increase your learning so take advantage of that! Ask all the questions you have and concepts you don’t understand. You’ll benefit from this and take away more than just what you learned in class.