At some point of the job interview, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”
The wrong answer is, “No, I think you answered everything.”
The correct answer is, “Yes, I do have some questions.” And then, ask some questions.
There are two main reasons you want to ask questions.
First, remember, you are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you. If and when they make an offer, you want to be in a position to make an informed decision about whether to accept.
Second, and critically, the interview is not over. The interviewer is trying to answer the unspoken question, “Do I like you?” Think about your friends, the people you like. Why do you like them? Probably because to some extent, your friends have indicated they take an interest in something that interests you. Companies are the same way. They are more likely to “like” you if you show an interest in them. The best way to show this is to ask them questions.
There are four types of questions you should be prepared to ask:
- Questions about the job position itself. These questions will go a long ways towards helping you decide if you would want the position, if offered.
Who would you be working with? What is the reporting structure? How many customers, if any, would you be facing? What tools or procedures would you be expected to use? What specific skills and qualifications are required?
Use caution with these questions, though. Do not ask questions where you reasonably, with basic research, could find the answer yourself. Also, it is likely that many of these questions will be discussed during the interview itself. If these are the only questions you have, you may be caught short. Be prepared with some of the other types of questions as well.
- Questions that show you have done your research. (You have done your research, right?)
Has there been a merger? A change in leadership? A new product launch? Has the competitor done something that will affect this company?
- Questions that show you care about company and your performance.
How do you measure success? What are the 30/60/90 day goals for the position? What did the previous person in this position do well? How can I be most successful in this position? What keeps you up at night?
- Questions about the process and next steps.
What is your role in the decision-making process? What are the next steps? Did I answer all of your questions?
Always ask for business cards from everyone you met.
NEVER ask about salary or benefits, insurance plans or vacation days.
A great question to ask at the end of the interview is, “Do you have any questions about my resume or the way I answered any of your questions in regards to me fulfilling the requirements of the job?” This could tell you that you knocked it out of the park, or it just may give you the opportunity to salvage an offer!
Part of your job interview prep should be to consider and write down a list of questions to take with you.
Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.