So you did everything right so far – showed up on time, dressed appropriately, researched the company and gave all the correct answers. Now it is time to turn the tables. A lot of candidates aren’t prepared, when asked, “Do you have any questions?” I have heard answers ranging from, “Not really” to “What is your vacation policy?” or “what is your background check policy?” – none of which help your candidacy. So how do your prepare a good list of interview questions?
- Role reversal: Think about all the questions interviewers ask you to find out about your experience, soft skills and to determine fit. You should also be looking for similar information about the background of the company, its history, stability, profitability, future plans and company culture. You can find some of this information on the company website, and the interviewer might have already explained some of those details, but open-ended questions like, “What do you like about working here?” will give more of an insight into the people and the culture.
Intelligent questions about the position show that you are serious about your work. Asking about the organization hierarchy and department structure will help you understand how your position fits in the big picture. Before you leave the interview, you should have a clear idea of your position and the work environment.
Referencing something from the company website or press release to give context to your question shows extra effort, commitment and attention to detail.
- Situation-specific: If you have a trip planned, now would be a good time to clarify if your employer would accommodate it. If there are constraints around your availability/schedule, you should ask about it before you get too far ahead in the process. When posing these questions, do reiterate your enthusiasm and interest in the opportunity and show your willingness to work toward a mutually acceptable solution.
- Process questions: You need to know what the timeline for filling the position is, especially if you have competing offers or are entertaining multiple opportunities. “What is the next step in the process? When do you expect to make a decision?” are questions that will help you make an informed decision.
- Close the deal: One of the most important questions, you can ask is, “What are the top three things you are looking for?” There are several benefits to this question:
- It forces the interviewer to gather his/her thoughts if they haven’t already and narrow down the must-haves for the position.
- It gives you more details on what the interviewer is looking for
- It gives you one more opportunity to make the connection between what they are looking for and what you can offer and make your “closing pitch”.
The next time you are asked, “Do you have any questions?”, grab that opportunity to make an impression, because your questions are just as important as your answers.