Top Questions to Ask in a Job Interview to Get the Best Deal

job interview questions

If you’re searching for some good questions to ask in a job interview, you might be in the midst of a negotiation process. We are here to help, and we already have some good news: You’re starting off on the right foot by preparing some questions to ask in your next interview.

Perhaps the most underrated interviewing ability as a candidate is to ask the right questions. Because it’s not just about the answers you receive. What you ask in an interview helps the interviewer understand where your head is at and where your values lie.

With the right questions, you can position yourself well for the negotiation, should you reach that phase of the process. 

The “Best Deal” Depends on What You Value Most

Getting the best deal is rarely just about getting the most money or the best title. Truth is, those things won’t matter if the role isn’t a good match for your desired lifestyle. After all, what good is a great salary if a toxic company culture will drive you away within just a few months?

To get aligned with yourself on what you value most in a job offer negotiation, we recommend our blog series on 24 of the most common job offer negotiation items. These posts will help you decide what truly matters to you most in your next employment deal.

Now, let’s take a look at some suggested questions we love at 10x Ascend.

1. What do you love about the culture of this company? 

A great interview must touch on company culture in some capacity. The information you get out of this question will almost always be useful. Plus, this question suggests to the employer that you’re interested in the right things. A great job candidate asks a holistic set of questions – that means reserving some of the interview for a discussion around culture. 

Potential follow up questions might include:

  • Does the company have stated and published core values? 
  • Do employees actually live by them? 
  • What are typical work hours?
  • Do employees work beyond those hours?

2. What are the biggest benefits of working here?

Don’t just rely on the job description for answers to this question. Companies often use a templated company description in their hiring materials, which means you never know which benefits might be overlooked. Keeping this question open ended allows for a free-flowing conversation that can go any number of directions, depending on the interviewer’s response. 

Potential follow up questions might include:

  • What benefits do you use? 
  • What are other people excited about? 
  • Historically, are benefits added or removed?

3. Can you tell me about your PTO policy? 

Everyone needs time off. This is a negotiation item that inherently comes with nuance and details. Truly understanding the policy is key here – and as an increasing number of companies go with an “unlimited PTO” model, there’s also an increasing need for candidates to ask the right questions. 

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • Do vacation days expire or roll over at the end of the year? 
  • If it’s an unlimited policy, what is the normal amount most employees use?
  • Do you get paid out for unused PTO, or do you lose it if you don’t use it? 
  • How/when do you get an increase in the amount of PTO?

4. I am sure you also had choices about where you would work, what was it that made you choose this company?

This is a great question for those fielding multiple offers, and it’s a subtle reminder that you have options on the table (if in fact you find yourself in that situation). The best companies need to stand out in some way in order to land the best talent. So what exactly hooked the people conducting the interview? In asking this question, you might even learn a thing or two about competitors in the space – and where they fall short compared to this company. 

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • Does this company match offers from competing companies?
  • How does this company take care of its employees compared to others in the space?

5. What would a typical day look like for me?

Job offer details are super important. But if you end up hating the job, suddenly they are a lot less important. Ask the employer to paint a realistic picture for you. If you have a good grip on your own skill-set and work style, it should be relatively easy to recognize if this might be a good situation. It also allows you to clarify expectations. For example, if you’re expected to do 3 hours of data analysis every day, but you’re looking to move away from that field… probably not a great fit! 

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • What is a typical work week for people on my team? 
  • On other teams? 

6. What makes someone successful in this role?

In any role, making sure you’re set up for success is in the best interest of all involved. Understanding what “success” looks like, even before you start, is critical in understanding the overlap between your abilities and the employer’s expectations. Keep in mind, “success” will look different from company to company, and it’s not always just about hitting certain goals and metrics. Success may be tied to soft skills as well – like being a strong teammate, collaborator, and communicator. 

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • What are the most important measures of success for the company overall? 
  • What kinds of people do you see rising through the ranks? 

7. Is there room for growth here?

Asking about growth opportunities shows ambition. And it’s important to understand if the company truly encourages employee development. Is there evidence that the company provides pathways to advancement? Generally speaking, companies that offer room for growth are those that invest in their people. As a prospective employee, that’s often a great sign.

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • Do you have lots of examples of people being hired from within? 
  • Or examples of people who have risen quickly through the ranks? 
  • Are there stated metrics for success and eventually advancement for each role? 

8. Are there any professional development opportunities? 

Professional development should never be overlooked. Setting yourself up for future success means investing in yourself and your skillset today. Asking this question also reflects well in the eyes of the employer, as it shows your desire to continually get better at what you do. Professional development programs range widely in scope and quality. A good place to start doing some research is to understand what “best-in-class” pro-dev programs look like. From there, you can better understand how a given company’s professional development programs stack up. 

Potential follow up questions might include: 

  • Is there a budget for continuing education, conferences, subscriptions, etc? 
  • Do most people participate in this?

Final Thoughts on Top Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

The worst question you can ask in a job interview is no question. If you walk away with nothing else from this post, we hope you at least remember this: While it’s key to ask the right questions, asking almost any question shows you are interested and engaged enough to inquire in the first place.

A job interview is a two-way street, which means you should interview the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. So whatever set of questions makes the most sense for your specific situation, take solace in the fact that asking any questions is better than asking none.