Questions to Ask Yourself Before the Interview

Questions to Ask Yourself

By Nate Pedronan in collaboration with Janine V. Yoro

Preparing your own questions to ask the interviewer is never a bad idea. And while that is important, there is another person to consider who is equally significant… You!

Landing an interview is an amazing first step, but the last thing you want is to have an offer in-hand after weeks of interviewing for a job that isn’t a fit to begin with. So, ask questions related to your wants, expectations and readiness for the job.

Stuck on where to start? Sitting down with one of our recruiting experienced resume writers, we compiled a list to equip and help you picture yourself in the job before you even hit the interview room.


1. How’s your commute?

Often when candidates say yes to an interview, they fail to consider if the job is commutable from where they currently live. They look at the map, the commute seems okay and there’s hardly any traffic. One little thing – they did that for the interview and not the actual job itself. After completing the workday schedule, they find they are stuck three hours a day in traffic every week.

With doubts about leaving their old job and feeling stressed out at home each day about the new work situation, these candidates panic into looking for another job. Or they are forced to relocate somewhere closer to their new job, which could mean uprooting their family.


To save yourself the hassle, imagine being there physically before going to the interview. See yourself doing the commute. See yourself working there. Look at different routes at various times. Try timing your commute; Google maps will come in handy. You might even consider public transportation. Whether you decide to travel by bus, train or car, mapping it out ahead of time will make your life easier.


Living in Los Angeles, commuting is a huge part of the workday due to the traffic flow. Candidates have even factored commute into their benefits and taken salary cuts for shorter travel time each day. From a recruiter’s perspective, it’s surprising how many candidates don’t factor the commute in their evaluation of the job before the interview. Others hardly assess the feasibility of their current living situation. At the end of the day, if you can’t make the commute, ask yourself if the job is even worth the interview. You could save yourself and the recruiter valuable time by just answering the questions honestly and logically.


2. What are your expectations?

When it comes to expectations, we’re going to get straight to the point. It’s about having an honest conversation with yourself and asking the tough questions.

At the same time, self-awareness is imperative to your decision-making. It’s crucial to comprehend where you are in your life. Is a work-life balance important to you? Not everyone’s “balance” is identical. So, what constitutes yours? This is a piece that’s often overlooked, but it can’t be stressed enough how much your pros and cons should be considered. Altogether, your expectations will determine your reality. By being utterly realistic with your wants and needs, the decisions you make will become more purposeful.

For example:

  • What are you going to need from this job?

  • What is it about this job that will make you happy?

  • What are you seeking to gain?

  • Is it about obtaining a new title?

  • Do you know the responsibilities of the new jo?

  • What is your salary range and how much will you bend either way around that amount?

  • What types of benefits (medical, PTO, 401K, etc.) are important to you?

Thoroughly think it out. If it helps, make a checklist. Knowing what you want will help you decide if the interview is worth your time.


3. Are you ready to say yes?

It’s not uncommon for people to reject job offers. Candidates will reject offers based on a company’s reputation or what the compensation package entails. And most of the time, the companies are held accountable for not closing these deals. But should companies get all the blame? It’s time for a little bit of self-reflection and a moment with the person in the mirror. Before an interview, candidates need to ask themselves, “If they offered you the job today, are you ready to accept?”


If the answer is no, don’t waste your time with the interview.

 If the answer is yes, then this leads to a few more questions. What is your ultimate goal in this workplace? “72% of candidates are looking for advancement opportunities when moving jobs.” (Source: MRI Network 2016)

For whatever reason you’re leaving, will this move satisfy your search? Are you looking for a specific work culture? Does it have to be young and hip? Are you interested in start-ups or are you okay with corporate life? These questions and their answers all tie back to your expectations. What do you want? Where are you willing to compromise? And, if the job can’t meet your needs, there’s no point in trying.


But, if it does, we go more in-depth with the questions.

  • If you’re willing to say yes to the job, how soon are you able to start?

  • Are you ready to put in your 2-weeks notice?

  • Are you prepared for all the steps involved to leave your current position?

  • Have you made an accurate comparison to your current job and considered what you would be forfeiting?

  • Is this a move you need to discuss with someone, family or spouse?

The interviewers will ask you this question and it’s good to have an answer in your back pocket. Time and again, many candidates interview for a job and suddenly get cold-feet because they weren’t mentally prepared to leave their current surroundings, i.e., their comfort zone. With a better understanding of your answers, it’s the setup for a successful interview.


All in all, we understand how this may seem a bit overwhelming. But it’s all about having your bases covered. All of the questions presented here are to help you make an informed decision. Time is money and wasted time is wasted money. Use these tools to refine your job search.

Bottom line, be honest with yourself by asking and truthfully answering the hard questions. Sooner rather than later, you’ll be exactly where you want to be.