Most interviews include time for you, the applicant, to ask questions. Do not let this opportunity go by and never say that you don’t have any questions! This is a great opportunity to show that you are interested in the position and the organization and you have given both serious thought. Here are 15 questions you might want to consider asking (you want to actually ask only 3-5):

  1. Is it a new position, or was there someone in the job before? What happened to that individual? Were they promoted or did they move outside the organization?
  2. How does this position help your department achieve its goals?
  3. What did the person who held this job before do that you would like to see continued? What would you like to see changed?
  4. Who are the internal customers for this position (by job title) and how would I support them if I were in this role?
  5. How will you know if your new hire is successful? What are the major metrics or standards for the person in this position?
  6. What are you hoping for your new hire to accomplish in the first 90 days on the job? In the first year?
  7. What is your favorite thing about working here?
  8. How do you anticipate your new hire learning the nuances of this position — do you assign a “buddy,” have regular one-on-one meetings, or something else?
  9. How does your unit communicate? Do you meet regularly as a group, or communicate another way?
  10. I am an external candidate. Many jobs at this level are filled internally. What made you think about interviewing candidates from the outside?
  11. What things would you most like to see your new employee do first and how will that help?
  12. How will the arrival of your new employee make your life easier?
  13. How did you get to the organization, and to your current position?
  14. What does senior leadership care about the most?
  15. What are the next steps in this process?

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.