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Make the right impression — the best questions to ask a hiring manager

January 25, 2022 - 16 min read


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Best questions to ask a hiring manager

Questions to ask if you’re short on time

What types of questions can you ask a hiring manager?

Questions to turn an interview around 

Questions to ask a hiring manager FAQs

You’ve likely heard that preparation is key when it comes to interviewing. Having a list of questions ready for your hiring manager should be near the top of your prep list.

Hiring managers almost always leave time at the end of an interview for the job seeker to ask questions.

If you have a few questions already in your back pocket, you can be ready to ask the hiring manager questions that are both thoughtful and relevant.

Why prepare questions for the hiring manager?

As an interviewee, asking the right questions can help you stand out in a sea of applicants. It also shows the hiring manager that you’re fully engaged in the conversation and job opportunity. Lastly, this extra preparation can ease some nerves since you already have an idea of what you’ll say when asked, “do you have any questions?”

Let’s explore some questions to ask a hiring manager the next time you’re in a job interview.

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Best questions to ask a hiring manager

Want some specific sample questions to help your next interview? Here are 25 interview questions to ask a hiring manager:

  1. What does a typical day look like in this role?
  2. What types of projects would I be working on?
  3. Can you describe some current ongoing projects and initiatives that I would help address in this role?
  4. Is this a new position or an established role?
  5. What is the turnover rate like in this department?
  6. Tell me which of the main responsibilities of this role are most important to you?
  7. What do you believe are important skillsets the ideal candidate needs to be successful in this role?
  8. Can you describe the biggest challenges someone in this role will need to overcome?
  9. What expectations do you have for someone in this position for the next 12 months?
  10. How long have you worked for this company?
  11. What’s your favorite part of working for this company?
  12. What’s the most challenging part of working for this company?
  13. Why did you decide to join this company?
  14. What are the company’s core values?
  15. What are the company’s top goals for the next 12 months? Three years? Five years?
  16. Could you describe the team I’d be working with in this role?
  17. Who would I directly report to on a daily basis?
  18. What are this team’s biggest strengths and biggest challenges?
  19. Where do you see this department heading in the next six months?
  20. What other departments would I be working closely with in this role?
  21. Can you describe what the company culture is like?
  22. Is the work environment more collaborative or independent?
  23. Do people on this team spend time together outside of work?
  24. Are there any office traditions?
  25. What next steps should I be aware of in the interview process?


Questions to ask if you’re short on time

If your interview ran longer than expected and you’re short on time, you may not get to ask all the questions (and follow-up questions) you want. Here are three of the best questions you can ask when you’re short on time and why they matter.

1. What do your most successful employees do differently compared to others?

Asking about the most successful employees has two benefits.

First, it’ll help you learn more about what it takesto succeed at this company. But it’ll also show your potential employer that you:

It’s not an obvious question that anyone would think about, which is what makes it such a good one.

2. What opportunities are there for career development in this role?

When you ask a hiring manager about career development opportunities, you’re letting them know you care about the big picture.

You’re showing that you’re willing to invest your time in this company and want to make a continued contribution over the long term.

3. What do you expect the person in this role to accomplish in their first 90 days?

Career aspirations are important, but so is your short-term success. This question will let you know exactly what expectations will be placed on you right away if you get the job.


What types of questions can you ask a hiring manager? 

Great questions to ask in an interview fall into several categories. All categories serve a different purpose.

  • Questions about company culture
  • Questions about the company's past and future
  • Questions about your role
  • Questions about your team
  • Questions about the interviewer

Let’s take a closer look at these categories so that you can start developing your questions.

Questions about company culture

What’s the company culture like at this organization? It’s important for you to know before you accept a job offer.

The type of dominant culture in a company can make or break your experience. It can be the difference between a fulfilling career in which you thrive and a job that leads you toward burnout.

For example, what does the company do to foster belonging

Culture is the no. 1 reason candidates choose a company today. You can use the interview to understand what it’s like.

Asking questions about company culture can also help you uncover red flags. These can include hiring bias and whether your hiring manager prioritizes being inclusive.

Questions about the company’s past and future

Where has the company come from, and where are they going? What are your future team’s next goals to hit? To get a better understanding of your potential role and its context, you can ask about the company’s past and future.

How did they become a leader in the industry today? What are their plans to continue leading in the future?

However, make sure you don’t ask obvious questions that anyone could have easily figured out with a quick search online, or by reading the company’s website. You want to appear informed and thoughtful.

For example, if the company’s website clearly states who founded the company and how it began, don’t ask this question. It may make it seem like you didn’t do your research before the interview.

You can also ask questions about diversity in the workplace and what the company is doing to make it a priority. 

Questions about your role

The hiring manager needs to figure out if you’re a good fit for the role. But so do you. You can ask some clarifying questions to find out more about the role and what their expectations of you will be.

For instance, what are the detailed roles and responsibilities you’d have that aren't clear in the job description? Will you get on-the-job training to be set up for success and empowered in this role? What is the onboarding process or hiring process like? Is there an opportunity to complete a working interview

You can also ask about the career path other people in this role have followed. This will make it easier for you to plan your potential career.

Questions about the team

You won’t be working in a vacuum if you get this job. So it’s important to know more about the people you’ll be working with. A resilient team can help you become a resilient employee.

You can ask about the roles of your team members. But you can also ask how they collaborate with others. You may also want to find out the working style of the people in your team. Are they detail-oriented, logical, or supportive?

Alternatively, you can ask about the management style of your potential leader.

Questions about your interviewer

Last but not least, you can ask the hiring manager some questions about their own career path. You can also ask why they chose to work with this company and what they enjoy about working there.



Questions to turn an interview around 

What are good questions to ask in an interview that isn’t going so well? 

If you’ve been searching for a job for a long time, you may be feeling the effects of job search depression. But, don’t let another flopped interview get in your way. Here are five questions you can ask to turn your interview around and why they’re so powerful.

1. What gets you the most excited about the future of this company?

Ask this question to show you’re invested in the future of the company. It can also build rapport with your interviewer. They get to talk about something that excites them. In return, you get to find out more about the future of the company.

2. What’s unique about working for this company compared to other places you’ve worked?

By asking this question, you show that you’re thoughtful. It also further builds rapport and helps you learn more about the hiring manager.

3. How do you think my background fits into this role?

Ask this question to get an opportunity to play catch-up. You can open the door to answer any concerns the interviewer has about your background.

4. How will this role help further the company’s mission and objectives?

This is a selfless question that shows you’re invested in the company’s future. The hiring manager will see that you aren’t only interested in your own success.

5. Can I answer any other questions to help guide your decision?

Is the hiring manager uncertain about anything? This question provides you with an opportunity to clarify it. 

Questions to ask a hiring manager FAQs

What is a hiring manager? 

So if you’re thinking of changing careers or companies, you’ll encounter them quite often. You may also talk to a hiring manager if you do an informational interview.

Hiring managers are sometimes your main point of contact when you’re interviewing for a job. But sometimes your main point of contact will be someone else, such as:

  • Recruiting manager
  • HR manager
  • Chief talent officer
  • Recruiter

Not all companies have a dedicated hiring manager. But if the company you’re applying to work for is large enough to have an HR, Talent, or People department, they’ll usually have someone in this role.

How many questions can you ask a hiring manager? 

Before you prepare some interview questions to ask the hiring manager, it’s important to know the expectations for how many you can ask.

The appropriate number of questions depends on the length of the interview. The longer the interview, the more great questions you’ll have the opportunity to ask.

As a general rule, you’ll probably have time to ask between three to five questions. But of course, that depends on a number of factors, including how long the interview is or if the interviewer is running late.

Prepare more questions just in case one of your questions is no longer applicable, or the hiring manager answers it without you asking. For instance, if you want to ask three questions, prep five. If you want to ask five questions, prep 8–10.

Prioritize your list of questions as you are unlikely to have time to ask them all.

Try these questions to ask a hiring manager during your next interview 

Interviews can be stressful for people of all backgrounds. But when you know what questions to ask a hiring manager, you’re better prepared to make a great impression.

Need help developing your career or growing into a role that’s perfect for you? Learn more to see how coaching can help you level up your career and life.

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Published January 25, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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