“Do you have any questions for us?” It’s a common question in the interview process and one that trips up a surprising number of candidates.

There is a fine line between asking questions to which you really want to know the answer (like “how much is the pay?” and “is my boss-to-be a jerk?”) and asking questions which advance your candidacy and establish you as a professional.

I believe that most questions at this juncture should be job-specific. Hopefully, you have done enough research to know more than a surface level about the organization and can ask questions that show your insight. It has often been said that you should think of your interview as your first day on the job, and so it is appropriate to formulate your inquiries in a similar way. Ask about the “why” regarding certain things or seek clarification where you have conflicting information.

A key rule for the questions you ask: they should not be something you could know without asking. In other words, don’ ask anything that you could have found out on your own if you had invested the time.

To help you from being tongue-tied at this crucial interview moment, I have developed a list of 25 questions that the candidate can adapt to ask the employer. You should have a written list prepared; some specific to the interviewer and others where it is good to ask everyone and compare responses.

Don’t discount the importance of asking good questions. The insight that candidates showed through what they asked has made the difference for many hires.

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