At the end of most job interviews, the interviewer will ask the prospective employee, “Do you have any questions for me?” This may seem daunting, but it’s actually an opportunity to improve your chances of getting the job.
Coming up with a few intelligent questions after the interview shows the employer that you’re interested in working there. Also, asking for details and clarification shows that you’re looking for the right employment, not just any job you can get.
The interviewer is looking for someone who stands out from the current batch of prospects, so you should ask yourself what they’re looking for and what they still want to know about you. One tip is to use the company website to find out everything you can about the organization. This will give you some ideas about which questions to ask. Don’t pat yourself on the back for being so proactive, though, since this is something everyone should do routinely in a job search.
One article from Forbes recommends preparing five possible questions and planning on using three of them. That way, if a couple of them are answered in the interview process or end up not being relevant, you’ll still have three good questions to use. Don’t be embarrassed if you have to look at the notes you’ve brought with you. Just ask each question one at a time. First, read the question to yourself, and then make eye contact with the interviewer while you ask it out loud.
Here are five possible questions to get you started on your own list:
Can you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
This is a great question to ask because it’s for your benefit as well as the employer’s. If the answer describes you, then you’ll know you have a good chance of succeeding in that position. You may also find out that the requirements weren’t what you expected, and that will give you a chance to decide whether the job is a good fit. The employer will appreciate that you took the time to ask for specifics.
What are the daily, weekly and monthly responsibilities of the job?
Once more, this is a two-sided question. In order to know whether the job will truly be right for you, it’s necessary to have a firm idea of what will be expected of you. If you’re interested in working at the company and have handled these types of assignments before, it gives you an opportunity to let the interviewer know.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the company right now?
You can learn a lot about the company’s work culture with the answer to this question. For example, if a company has a hard time keeping skilled talent, it may be a sign that the working environment isn’t ideal. On the other hand, if the company is facing a challenge because of rapid growth, it might indicate that you’ll have a chance to move up as it expands.
What’s the typical career path for a person in this position?
This is another question that may help you delve deeper into the inner workings of the company. If the answer is that many company employees have had their jobs for several years, this may indicate that there’s not a lot of room for advancement. The best response is a general timetable for training and promotions.
Do you have any hesitations about my experience or qualifications?
This is a question that requires confidence, and that will be noted by the interviewer. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to clear up any misconceptions about your prior experience and/or add information that could help you get the job.
Make it About the Employer
While you may want to ask questions about working hours, sick leave policies and vacation time, the initial interview isn’t the time to inquire about these things. Your aim is to convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job and have a real interest in working for the company. Focus on the skills and experience you have that can benefit the company, but don’t come across as bragging. Rather, explain the ways in which you believe your talents would help you to succeed in the position that’s being filled.
Learn as Much as You Can Before the Interview
Find the employer’s website, if they have one, and do an internet search to find out everything you can about the mission and goals of the business. What makes them stand out, and what milestones has the company achieved so far? If you can get a feel for what’s important in the work culture of the business, that will help you determine if the job’s right for you. It will also give you some questions to ask after the interview, and the employer will appreciate the fact that you took the time to research the company.
Dynamics of the Interview
When the hiring manager is answering your questions, the dynamics between you change. The interviewer perceives you differently when you’re the one eliciting responses, and this may help them visualize you in the role you’re applying for. Asking questions also shows that you’re intelligent and interested in the position. In addition to your prepared questions, be sure to ask what the next steps are in the interview process. Once again, it shows that you’re engaged and attentive. It also lets you know when it would be appropriate to call or e-mail and check on the progress of the hiring process.
After the Interview
When the interview is over, you should have learned enough about the employer to decide if the job would be a good fit for you. It’s important to have the information you need to make an intelligent decision if you’re offered a position. The suggested questions are meant to be a guide, and you may have others that are more relevant to your own situation. Just remember that, even though the follow-up questions are designed to make you look good, they’re also for your benefit. The more you know about each company you interview with, the more productive and rewarding your job search will be.