Interviewing is usually pretty nerve-wracking for everyone. You’re talking to strangers for the most part about yourself, and that can get real personal real quick.
From the perspective of someone who conducts a lot of face-to-face interviews, there is often one thing that really sets apart great candidates from average ones, and that’s the answer to the question, “do you have any questions for us?”
Towards the end of the interview, after asking all of our questions, we open the floor to the candidate to ask us questions.
The absolute worst thing you can say is that you don’t have any additional questions. That signals to the interviewer that you might not be that invested in the opportunity. We know that is there no way we could have explained everything clearly or given you all the information you need to make a decision. The point of an interview isn’t just for us to fill a spot on our team – it’s just as much about you finding the right company fit.
Unemployment is at a 17 year low right now. Candidates have the power to be picky about where they ultimately take a job. You should be asking clarifying questions to the interviewer to make sure this is a company you could see yourself working for.
And while having some questions is better than none, having strategic questions is even better. Asking about what the typical day looks like is a default question that a lot of people use. It’s not going to set you apart from the competition. And the answer is probably not going to make-or-break your decision to work there.
These are just a few question ideas to get you thinking:
If you’re looking to build a career somewhere, you want to make sure that the company is doing well and will provide you with growth opportunities.
- What is the company’s growth plan over the next few years?
- What are the growth opportunities in the position?
- When people start in this position, where do they typically go afterwards?
Everyone is going to face challenges in any new position. The company is going to face challenges as well. Knowing what those biggest challenges are for both the position and the company can also give you the opportunity explain how you’d be an asset in overcoming those problems.
- What is the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
- What do people in this position struggle with the most?
If you were to become a new employee, you want to be sure that the company is going to set you up for success. You’re not going to know everything on day 1 to do your job well. Knowing that the company is willing to invest their time in helping you learn is extremely important.
- What does the company’s training program look like?
- How long does it take people to be successful and work independently in this role?
Asking questions specifically about the top performers in the role shows that you are already looking ahead and that you want to do what it takes to be one too.
- What are the attributes of top performers?
- What’s the #1 thing you look for in job candidates that often makes them a top performer?
While it’s really important that you like the job itself, getting along with the people you’d be working with is also vital. If you don’t fit in with the office culture, you’re probably going to be miserable at work even if you enjoy what you do.
- How would you describe the culture here?
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- Do you organize out of work events for your employees?
Asking questions of the interviewer is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an easy way to impress the interviewer at the end of the interview and walk away on a high note. Don’t be afraid to ask them hard questions – they just did the same thing to you! Remember that it’s just as much about finding the right company for you as it is about finding the right candidate for them.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding