At the end of a job interview, candidates too often will sit like a deer in headlights when asked this question. Even if the interviewer or panel have answered all of the questions you prepared (and please, tell us you prepared questions….didn’t you?), it can still be a show-stopper if you say you have nothing to ask. And no, this doesn’t mean you automatically jump to salary, benefits & vacation, just to ask something. That will be discussed in due time.
Here are a few things to get you thinking… Tailor them to the specific job and industry, of course, but please make sure you ask questions. It shows you are insightful, interested, you’ve been paying attention, you care about the job and the company and you want to know more.
- Ask about the culture – what’s the team like? Getting an answer from a manager vs. a recruiter gives a first-hand account, and gives the hiring manager an opportunity to sell the day to day interactions of the team. Find out what it’s really like to work there.
- Ask around the technical aspects of the job – do some prep, research, ask specifics….”I see you guys were using xyz technology, are you looking to upgrade to xyz v.2? How has that worked out for the team?” This shows you’re keeping up with the technical trends in the industry.
- Ask a question you know the answer to – this allows you to talk up your strengths, too.
- What will the first week look like? Puts you in the position, and subconsciously gets the manager thinking about you in the role.
- Ask questions regarding career path/advancement. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in a job with no career progression. That doesn’t mean you’re indicating this is a stepping stone & you’ll be out in 12 months – it just shows you have bigger goals…eventually.
- Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? Any reasons to believe I’m not the most qualified candidate, or any questions left unanswered after our conversation? This takes guts!
- How do you define success in this position? How is success measured?
- Ask specifics about the team, i.e., tenure, size of team, who else the position interacts with internally, etc.
- If it’s a sales position, ask about the sales goals - whether it is personal goals, team goals, store goals, etc.; ask what the projected revenue target is for the store or team.
- Anything about customers the company/team/division supports
- What is the vision of the company for the near future?
- What are some of the challenges of the job and what makes a successful employee despite those challenges?
I’m sure you get the picture. You don’t need to ask them all – just a couple – to find out more information and insight beyond the job description, duties and responsibilities.
And remember: You’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you. Yes, these questions display your interest. But they will also help determine if the job, the team, the culture, the company and the overall opportunity are a fit and a match for YOUR goals. Even if you’d be great for them, are they great for you? These questions are critical to help determining that as well. So ask away!
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