November 13, 2013
A successful interview shouldn’t only consist of an employer asking you a barrage of questions to determine if you’re the best candidate for a role. Instead, it should be a two-way conversation where you have the opportunity to ask questions to find out if the role and company are a good fit for you, as well. Asking quality and relevant questions in an interview will not only give you the knowledge needed to make an informed decision about taking or turning down a position, but it can also impress employers and set you apart from the competition.
Here are some basic guidelines on asking questions in an interview:
Come prepared with questions – When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you don’t want to find yourself mumbling “no.” Having no questions makes you appear unprepared and lacking in confidence. Instead, create a list of topics you want to cover in the interview and make sure you ask about them if they’re not discussed by the interviewer. Try to prioritize your questions in case you run out of time in the interview. And if you don’t get to all your question, ask them in a follow-up email.
Ask open-ended questions – You’ll receive more information by asking an open-ended question than one that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Behavioral questions about how things are done or how they have been done in the past can give you great insight into how things will be handled in the future.
Ask questions that show you’ve done research – Avoid questions that can easily be answered by visiting the company website or performing a quick search on Google, such as what the company does, info about their products or recent news. This shows the interviewer you haven’t prepared well for the interview. Rather, ask questions that showcase your knowledge of the company, such as how they plan to improve their current product considering the announcement of Competitor X’s similar product.
Avoid asking about the pay or other benefits Unless the interviewer brings up pay or other benefits, don’t ask about these during the interview. This may be perceived as hasty or signify you’re more interested in what you can get out of the company than trying to prove to the employer that you’re the person for the job.
Need ideas to get you started? Here are some examples of solid questions to ask in an interview:
1. What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the position?
2. If I’m hired, what would my first project be?
3. Is this a new position? If so, why was it created? If not, what did the last person in this job move onto and why?
4. What advancement and educational opportunities are available for this position and in this company?
5. Can you tell me about the company culture?
6. What are the biggest challenges that you are facing as a company? In this department?
7. What’s the management style of the company? Of the direct manager for this position?
8. What attracted you to this company or your role here?
9. When will a decision be made about the person hired?
10. Can I contact you if I have any other questions?
What other questions are important to ask in an interview? Share additional questions for employers below in the comments!