Interview fallback questions: the do’s and don’ts in your job search

By Courtney Jones

fallback interview questionsIt’s that time of the interview. You’ve weathered all of their questions and things seem to be going well.  Now you’ve hit that critical moment – they want you to ask them a few questions.

Most people come into this part of the interview and they start to coast.  They think, “Is there anything I want to know?”  Then they either ask nothing at all or just start lobbing out questions: What will my workspace be like? What is the benefits plan like?

And blah, blah, blah…

This is the wrong approach!

At this point, you’re still auditioning for the job, and this section is a crucial part of your overall performance.  The best, most hire-ready candidates know this and will ask questions that:

  • Demonstrate they are passionate about getting this specific job, even if they have a few things on the go
  • Reinforce the skills and values they presented in the Client question portion
  • Communicate any of their key selling points that were missed in the Client questions

In short, they ask smart questions designed to help them stand out from other Candidates.  So how do you do it?


  • Write your questions down, and bring them with you to the interview (because it demonstrates your preparations, and we all forget when under stress)
  • Ask your recruiter for knowledge about the job and the Client environment
  • Research the people you’re meeting on LinkedIn or through your own sources


  • Ask questions that matter most to you about salary, benefits or work hours. These sorts of questions are important, but they often create distance when asked.  It’s best to save these questions for a late stage interview or pass them through an intermediary (i.e., your recruiter or corporate HR or).

Fallback questions

The best questions to ask are always specific to the job situation, and so you’ll need to put some thought into it every time you interview.  Despite that, below are a few fall back questions that fit most scenarios – if you don’t have anything else, use these:

  1. How will my performance and success be measured?
  2. What kind of results do I need to deliver to be a top performer?
  3. If I am extremely successful in this role, what kind of impact will that have on your organization?
  4. For me, culture has always been an important part of work, and it’s the type of thing I really can’t get a sense of from your website. How would you describe the culture here?

Finding a job can be a job. Nailing the interview and finding a great career fit won’t just happen—they’re driven results. As a job seeker, you’re in the driver’s seat; be proactive in arming yourself with the tools that will propel you forward.

by Courtney Jones

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