How to Impress Interviewers with Thoughtful Questions: Interview Guide for Software Engineers

6 min read

Seizing the opportunity to inquire at the conclusion of a job interview for software engineers is invaluable. In this guide based on my experiences, I will provide a selection of suggested questions when you apply for a job at a software company. These range from gaining insights into your potential boss to understanding a company’s culture.

When invited with, ‘Do you have any questions for us?’

Reaching this pivotal moment in a job interview, where the interviewer has concluded their queries and opens the floor to you, necessitates preparedness. Having a strategic response plan and a set of questions tailored to the specific opportunity is crucial.

So, what kind of questions should you pose?

zen8labs interview guide
Pre-interview phrase at zen8labs

What does the interviewer anticipate during this part of the interview?

The interviewer aims to ensure clarity in the discussion, encouraging you to seek clarification on any aspects and express concerns if any arise.

Through your questions, the interviewer seeks to foresee your priorities and understand your motivation for applying for the position. It serves as an opportunity to gauge your seriousness about collaborating with the organization—whether you are attentive to the key points they emphasize.

While this phase doesn’t singularly determine the interview’s outcome, it plays a crucial role in showcasing your authentic interest in the position and presenting a more comprehensive picture of your suitability for the role.

How to approach this part of the interview

Focus on 2-3 key goals

Consider this phase of the interview as an opportunity to evaluate the organization and assess if it aligns with your career aspirations—a valid objective. One goal is to utilize your questions strategically to determine if this job opportunity is the right fit for you.

However, bear in mind that the interview is ongoing, and you still need to assert yourself as the ideal candidate for the position. Thus, your second goal is showing, the employer that you:

  • Care enough to do your research
  • Are interested in the organization
  • Are confident and able to assert yourself in the right way
zen8labs interview guide

In preparation for the interview, it’s advisable to pre-determine two or three messages you wish to convey. If these key points haven’t been addressed in response to previous questions, take this moment to discuss them before transitioning to your inquiries.

Build upon the ongoing the conversation

Connect your questions to the dynamics of the interview thus far.

Craft questions that extend from the topics discussed during the interview. This could involve seeking further details about a mentioned project or inquiring about a responsibility not explicitly outlined in the job description. The objective is to seamlessly integrate this phase into the overall conversation.

Tailor your follow-up questions based on the insights gained during the interview. Seek clarification on specific areas or request additional details about the role’s responsibilities.

zen8labs interview guide

Some of the top questions to ask in an interview

Here are categories of questions you’ll want to consider in an organized list, along with samples of each that you can personalize.

Questions about the specific job

Questions about the job can help you learn more about the responsibilities of the role, as well as reinforce your interest. This is your opportunity to ask for clarification on anything discussed during the interview, as well as to learn about potential hurdles, job priorities and how you can succeed in the role if hired.

  • What are your expectations for me in this role?
  • What’s the most important thing I should accomplish in the first 90 days?
  • What’s the performance review process like here? How often would I be formally reviewed?
  • What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
  • What are the most immediate projects that I would take on?
  • How long before I will be… [meeting with clients, have responsibility for my own accounts, interacting with other departments, etc.]?

Questions about the team

This type of question will help you understand more about the people you’ll be working with on a regular basis and how your job interacts with their roles:

  • What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
  • What are the biggest challenges that I might face in this position?
  • Do you expect my main responsibilities in this position to change in the next six months to a year?
  • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
  • Who will I work with most closely? What other departments or units will I interact with?
  • Can you tell me about my direct reports? What are their strengths and the team’s biggest challenges?

Questions for the interviewer

Now is a perfect time to get to know the person interviewing you and to hear about the company from their point of view. This can be especially helpful if the person interviewing you is also going to be your direct supervisor:

  • When did you start working with this company?
  • How long have you been in your current role?
  • What do you like best about working here?
  • How would you anticipate working with the person in this role? (To a supervisor)
  • What elements of the company culture do you like the best?

Questions about the company

One important note here: Don’t ask things that you can easily find with a quick Google search.

  • What are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
  • What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
  • How would you describe the company’s values?
  • How has the company changed over the last few years?
  • What are the company’s plans for growth and development?

Questions about the culture

This is an opportunity for you to find out if the company culture aligns with the type of culture you’re seeking from a job. To make the most of any questions regarding company culture, you might consider researching beforehand the type of company culture you’re most interested in. Interviewers will often answer with what they like most about the culture. Hence, it’s a good idea to ask multiple people these types of questions if you get the chance.

  • How do you typically onboard employees?
  • What do new employees typically find surprising after they start?
  • What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
  • How has the company changed since you joined?
  • What’s your favorite office tradition?
  • What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
  • Do you ever do joint events with other departments or teams?

Questions about Professional Development, Career Paths and Future Opportunities

It’s critical to understand what growth and career development will look like in the job. You want to be sure that you can see yourself not just in the role you’re currently applying for but that there is a career path at the organization that you’re excited about.

  • What learning and development opportunities will I have in this role?
  • How does the team I’ll be part of continue to grow professionally?
  • Are there examples of a career path beginning with this position?
  • What are the common career paths in this department?
  • How are promotions typically handled?
  • Where have successful employees moved on to?

Closing questions

  • What am I not asking you that I should?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
  • Is there anything I clarify for you about my qualifications?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?


Don’t overlook the significance of this chance to pose questions. It’s not only an opportunity to further demonstrate your qualifications but also a moment to assess whether the job aligns with your preferences. Preselect questions that are particularly pertinent to your interests and the specific role. Record them on paper or your phone, reviewing them just before the interview to keep them fresh in your mind. Additionally, respect the interviewer’s time; if your scheduled hour is winding down, prioritize the most crucial questions. Remember, you’ll have more chances to ask questions once you have a job offer.

At zen8labs, our interviews are designed to foster open communication. We encourage both interviewers and candidates to ask questions and share insights. We believe in mutual understanding and offer knowledge and evaluations to support your personal development.

Explore potential opportunities at zen8labs on LinkedIn or share your CV with us at We are always open to connecting and discussing potential collaborations.

Hien Ngo, Head of People and Partnership

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