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Applying the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to your Interviews

May, by Erica Woods, Manager of Contractor and Community Relations, Principal & Cate Murray, CAPM, Practice Director- PM/BA


Job seekers and interviewees recognize the importance of asking quality questions during interview/s, but many struggle on exactly what questions to ask. Additionally, you want to ask questions that help you understand the company, group and role “story”, while also clarifying exact job expectations and success criteria. These main factors were our motivation to provide example interview questions that hit on all the major aspects of an organization, the group, the role, priorities of that role, and the culture of the organization and team.

Here are some recommended areas to understand, with specific questions to ask, around the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How for the opportunity you are interviewing for. Some of these questions are more suited for the Recruiter/Talent Acquisition Specialist, while others are best suited for the direct hiring Manager.


  1. Who are you as a group? Culture, team size and team dynamics (i.e. roles and tenure)?
  2. Who will this person be working with and supporting?
  3. Who will they report to?
  4. Who are all the different stakeholder groups they will interact with?


  1. What is the purpose of this role? What objectives, challenges or other business drivers is it impacting?
  2. What exactly do you need this person to do (responsibility matrix)?
  3. What do you expect this person to accomplish and at what timeframes?
  4. What is the current phase of the project/s I’d be supporting?
  5. What are the core requirements you need someone to have?
  6. What knowledge/experience do you need this person to come in day 1 with vs. what skills could be learned?
  7. What makes someone successful in the role, group and company?
  8. What characteristics/personality traits are important to you?


  1. When do you need someone to start? Or, when is the earliest I could start (i.e. factoring in typical length of any background, credit or other compliance requirement processes)?
  2. When will I get the key things I need to start doing work (i.e. equipment, access to systems, etc.)?
  3. When is the first deliverable due?


  1. Where does work take place (facility details)?
  2. Are there remote work options? Is this a standard 40-hour/week role or is overtime expected?


  1. Why was the company founded (i.e. company story)?
  2. Why does this group/team exist (i.e. macro group function/s)?
  3. Why does this role exist?
  4. Why is this project(s)/role important to the overall organization?
  5. Why is position open? Is this a new role or are you backfilling/replacing a resource?


  1. How do you approach things? Methodologies? Processes? Tools? Techniques?
  2. How are meetings and work groups structured?
  3. How is success measured?

Not all questions we’ve listed out need to be asked, although we do recommend asking one question related to each of the six categories!

For more insights on interviewing, visit our Career Readiness Resource Center, which we built for information technology job seekers.

For more insights on interviewing, visit our Career Readiness Resource Center, which we built for information technology job seekers-

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