An interview is a two-way street. Ask questions.
The employer should provide an opportunity for you to ask questions at or near the end of the interview.
Always prepare questions to ask. Having no questions prepared sends the message that you have no independent thought process.
- Some of your questions may be answered during the course of the interview, before you are offered the opportunity to ask. If so, you can simply state something to the effect that you were interested in knowing about …, but that was addressed during the interview. You could ask for additional clarification if applicable.
- Do not ask questions that are clearly answered on the employer’s web site and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer’s time by asking these questions.
- Never ask about salary and benefits issues until those subjects are raised by the employer.
If you are having trouble developing questions, consider the following samples as food for thought. However, don’t ask a question if you are not truly interested in the answer; it will be obvious to the employer.
- What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
- How important does upper management consider the function of this department/position?
- What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in?
- Could you explain your organizational structure?
- How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
- What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
- What is the company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
- How much opportunity is there to see the end result of my efforts?
- How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
- How much opportunity will I have for decision-making in my first assignment?
- What is your organization’s policy on transfers to other cities?
- How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? And by whom? How often?
- What are the company’s values?
- Are lateral or rotational job moves available?
- What do you think is the greatest opportunity facing the organization in the near future? The biggest threat?
Here are other recommendations:
- It’s always good to ask about the person interviewing you. People love to talk about themselves. Ask them what they like about working at the company, ask them what brought them there and why they chose to work there.
- DO NOT ask about salary or compensation. Save that for after you get an offer.
- Anything you are interested in knowing. You don’t have to ask anything though. But some good ones to ask if they didn’t go over it or it wasn’t posted in the job listing are, when will the job begin and when will they be calling the people or person they hired. Don’t ask what the job pays, you’ll discuss that after they choose to hire you. Or it’s a set wage and they’ll tell you after you are hired.
- I would say to always ask questions if given the chance. This shows that you are interested in the job. What if you don’t have a question? You should think of at least 2 or 3 intelligent questions ahead of time. One I always use, “Do you have any concerns about my ability to the job?” This will give you insight right away about what the interviewer may be using to cross you off of the list, which you can clarify right away. Also, intelligent questions add points to your “overall score” when employers are remembering you.
- A very good end of interview question would be: Do you have any concerns that would prevent you from recommending or selecting me for this job? This would give you an opportunity to directly address any concerns that the interviewer might still have.
- Let the employer know that you are excited about the opportunity. Ask them what the next step in the process is. After the interview, follow up with a thank you note or email ASAP. In it you can again thank them for their time, comment on a point or two that they mentioned that excites you about the position (shows you were listening), give an example where your skill set matches their needs, clarify or touch on a point you failed to mention in the interview, etc. Keep it brief and no negatives! Remember, your goal is to get the job offer. If the job is offered to you, then you can address any concerns you may have, because now the company is selling itself to you. And you can always turn the offer down.