By Lauren Coker, Robert Half International

(Editor’s Note: Lauren Coker is a regional manager for Robert Half International. She is based in the company’s Raleigh office. Robert Half International is a global leader in professional staffing and consulting services, with a network of more than 400 offices worldwide. For more information, please visit

RALEIGH, N.C. – You have most likely prepared for a job interview by talking to friends and colleagues to find out the questions they’ve been asked during an interview. This is definitely a valuable exercise as it gives you time to prepare answers to some frequently asked questions.

But one question that can often be forgotten during this process is the one most hiring managers save for last, “Do you have any questions for me?” Of all the questions during a job interview, this one could be the most important — and the most difficult — to answer.

Even the best prepared job candidates can get stumped. If you want to stand out from the competition at your next job interview, be sure to ask your interviewer these five questions:

Question #1: What are the opportunities for advancement, and do you typically promote from within?
Given the high costs associated with hiring and training new employees, managers are looking for job candidates who will stick around for a while. Asking this question shows you are ambitious, goal-oriented and eager to grow with the firm over the long term. It also can help you determine what your professional future with the organization would be like.

Question #2: What types of training programs do you offer?
Employers value workers who keep up with the latest industry trends and developments. By asking this question, you can emphasize your dedication to expanding your skill set. If applicable, it never hurts to mention several specific proficiencies or certifications you’ve acquired through previous professional-development programs or continuing education courses.

Question #3: While researching your firm I learned that the company recently [fill in the blank]. Can you tell me a little bit more about this development?
Impress interviewers by doing your homework. Review the company’s website, marketing materials, executive bios and recent annual reports to get a good sense of the organization and its leaders. Asking a beyond-the-basics question shows that you’re a serious candidate who’s interested enough in the position to dig deep to learn as much as possible about the firm.

Question #4: Can you tell me what my average day would be like?
This question can help you gather information that allows you to better evaluate your interest in the job. You might learn about aspects of the job that are not appealing to you, such as the expectation that workers stay at the office until late evening. On the other hand, you may be convinced that the opportunity is a perfect fit.

Question #5: What happened to the person who previously held this role?
You need to know any problems or past history associated with the position. For instance, was your predecessor promoted, or have several different people held the role in a short period of time? If the position is new, what’s the likelihood it will be permanent?

Remember, a job interview is designed for you and your interviewer to decide if the opportunity is a good match. By asking these five questions, you will come across prepared and interested and you will also be able to make an informed choice when a job is offered to you.

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