You’ve just wrapped up an interview for a job you’re really excited about and you nailed it. The interview may appear to be over, but then the potential employer asks, “And what questions do you have for me?”
To ask or not to ask, that is the question!
The employer question and answer portion of an interview may seem like just a formality, but it is actually extremely valuable. This is your opportunity to express your interest in the role, learn more about the position and company in order to evaluate if it’s a good fit, and make a final impression on your audience. Asking a potential employer the wrong job interview questions or no questions at all can have big consequences, so come prepared, know your audience, and stay positive and engaged throughout this portion of the interview.
Before your interview, take some time to prepare questions for your interviewer. Prepare by researching the company website, LinkedIn page and other social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Search to see if the company has appeared in the news lately or released any new products or services. What are they excited about? Think of questions that reflect what is going on in the organization currently.
In addition to company research, make sure that you have reviewed any recruiting resources the employer may have sent prior to your interview. Whether they be videos, handouts, slides, or links, take the time to ensure you are very familiar with these resources. You don’t want to ask questions these materials could have already answered. For example, questions about the day to day responsibilities of a role can be great, but if the employer has already sent over videos or other materials about the day to day, this question is probably not a good one to ask. If you have reviewed the materials but still have questions, you could rephrase this question by asking, “Thank you for sending over some resources about the day to day of the role. I was wondering if you could expand on this particular job duty.” Ask questions that reflect you’ve done your homework.
Know Your Audience
In addition to researching the company, it is also helpful to do some additional research on who you are interviewing with. Once you have this information, tailor your job interview questions to that person. For example, a couple common job titles who may run your interview are recruiters and managers. These positions require slightly different prep considerations.
If you’re speaking with a recruiter, ask questions about the company as a whole. Questions surrounding company culture, career opportunities within the organization, and things that they look for in candidates are great questions to ask. Take this opportunity to learn, and ask yourself if you can see yourself fitting into the organization.
If you’re speaking with a potential future manager, choose questions that are more about the role itself. Try to come up with questions surrounding performance in the role. Questions about how success will be measured in the role or what they will expect of you within your first few months show you are eager to be successful. Engage with the manager by asking them to tell you their career story and what has made them successful in their role. Get to know them and consider whether you could see yourself working with them in the future.
Stay Positive and Engaged
No matter which questions you ask, staying engaged throughout the entire interview can help you to determine opportunities to ask questions. It doesn’t have to be in a designated Q&A portion all of the time if questions come up organically; previous sections of the interview could inspire new questions you hadn’t prepared prior to interview day. Be open to adapting!
Stay positive, and avoid questions that could be perceived as negative, such as poor reviews you may have seen online. After asking each question, listen and think if you have any additional follow up questions based on your interviewer’s answers. If an answer excites you, let the interviewer know! If you hear something you don’t like, make a mental note, but continue to keep a positive tone throughout the conversation.
It turns out that to ask or not to ask isn’t the question after all! In the end, the question should be, “Which question do I ask next?”
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