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Is it OK to bring a list of questions to an interview?

Quick Answer

It is perfectly acceptable to bring a list of questions to an interview. In fact, it is recommended that candidates prepare a list of thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer, as this demonstrates interest in the role and company. Bringing questions shows that the candidate has done research on the company and given serious thought to whether the job would be a good fit. The interview is meant to be a two-way conversation, so interviewers expect candidates to ask questions and be active participants. A list helps candidates remember what they wanted to ask, especially if they feel nervous during the interview. As long as the candidate’s questions are relevant and not overly long, bringing a list is seen as being well-prepared and engaged.

Should You Bring a List of Questions to an Interview?

Yes, you should absolutely bring a prepared list of questions to an interview. Here are some key reasons why:

  • It shows you are interested in the company and position.
  • Well-thought out questions demonstrate you have done research.
  • A list helps you remember what to ask, especially if you feel anxious.
  • Asking questions creates a two-way conversation with the interviewer.
  • Interviewers expect candidates to inquire about the role and company.
  • It gives you a chance to determine if the job is a good fit.

Bringing questions allows you to gather important information you need to evaluate if the role and company culture are a match for your skills, values, and career goals. It signals to the interviewer that you are engaged and want to make sure it is the right move for you. Failure to ask any questions might give the impression that you are not truly interested or invested in the opportunity.

How Many Questions Should You Ask?

A good rule of thumb is to prepare 5-10 questions to bring to an interview. You likely won’t get through all of them, but it’s better to have too many than too few. Here are some tips on the number of questions to ask:

  • Limit your questions to 1-2 pages typed out with ample spacing between each.
  • Prioritize your top 5 most important questions to make sure those get asked.
  • Aim for a mix of shorter and longer, more in-depth questions.
  • Gauge the interviewer’s engagement and time – you likely won’t be able to get through a full 10 questions.
  • Leave room for follow-up questions based on the interviewer’s responses.

You want to avoid overwhelming the interviewer with an excessively long list. Use your best judgment based on the interview time allotted, interviewer’s engagement, and organic flow of the conversation when determining how many questions you can realistically ask.

What Kinds of Questions Should You Ask?

The best interview questions are those that demonstrate your understanding of the company and role, your interest in learning more, and how your background aligns with the position. Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
  • What are the top skills and qualifications you are looking for in your ideal candidate?
  • What are some of the challenges facing the team/department right now and how could this position help address them?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development or training programs?
  • What are some of the next steps in the hiring process?

Avoid asking questions that demonstrate lack of research such as basics easily found on the company website. Also refrain from asking about salary and benefits too early. Keep the focus on learning about the role and company fit.

Should You Ask About Salary and Benefits?

In most cases, you should not ask about salary, benefits, vacation time, or other compensation details during an initial interview. There are a few reasons to hold off on these types of questions:

  • You want the focus to be on your skills and fit for the role in initial interviews.
  • Salary expectations are usually not discussed until you are further along in the hiring process.
  • It can come across poorly by emphasizing compensation rather than your interest in the job.
  • You want to have more data before negotiating salary such as understanding the full compensation package.

However, once you are in later stage interviews and have a good understanding of the role responsibilities, you should absolutely ask for details on compensation and benefits. Get a clear picture early on of what salary range and overall package you can expect so there are no big surprises or disappointment down the road.

What is the Best Format for an Interview Questions List?

Here are some tips on formatting your list of questions for easy readability:

  • Use a readable font like Arial or Times New Roman, 12 point size.
  • Print your questions on one or both sides of letter-sized white paper.
  • Number your questions and leave ample blank space between each.
  • Bring copies – one for you and one for the interviewer if they would like.
  • Avoid cramming too many questions on one page.
  • Leave room for notes next to your questions.
  • Only bring your list – avoid notebooks or binders.

You want your list to be neat, organized, and easy for you to reference. Avoid fumbling with messy hand-written notes or lots of pages stapled together. Bring just your essential questions on a clean printed document that is easy for you and the interviewer to follow.

When Should You Ask Your Questions?

The best time to ask your prepared questions is towards the end of the interview after the interviewer has finished most of their own questions. However, you can gauge the right moment based on these cues:

  • When the interviewer asks: “Do you have any other questions for me?”
  • After you have answered the majority of their questions.
  • When there is a natural pause or break in the conversation.
  • When the interview time is winding down.

Avoid interrupting the interviewer in the middle of an explanation to ask a question. Wait for a transition between topics or for them to finish discussing the role and company. Time your questions strategically so they do not distract but rather contribute to the flow and provide useful information.

What If You Don’t Have Any Questions?

Ideally, you should always have well-thought out questions prepared for an interview. However, if you truly cannot think of anything to ask, here are some options to avoid an awkward silence:

  • Ask for clarification on a previous answer: “Could you expand more on the team training opportunities?”
  • Inquire about next steps: “What are the next steps in the interview process moving forward?”
  • Request a business card to follow up with any additional questions.
  • Let them know you will think more and email any questions you have.
  • Direct the conversation: “After learning more today, I’m even more excited about this opportunity. The skills and experience I have seem to align very well with your needs.”

With some reflection after the interview, there will likely be some curiosities you want addressed, so follow-up promptly by email or phone with your outstanding questions.


Bringing a thoughtful list of questions to an interview demonstrates your interest, preparation, and enthusiasm for the potential job opportunity. Asking intelligent, researched questions not only provides you with helpful information, but also impresses the interviewer and leads to a productive dialogue. Prepare 5-10 questions that reflect your understanding of the company and desire to learn more about the role’s responsibilities, challenges, culture and your potential for growth and development. Time your questions strategically and limit them to 1-2 pages of organized, easy-to-read print outs. With the right questions and approach, your list will contribute to a great interview experience.