The questions you should – and shouldn’t – ask at the end of a job interview
There comes a time at the end of every job interview when the interviewee is asked if they have any questions they’d like to ask about the job. The problem is, many of us blank on what to ask and end up not asking anything – and that’s not good.
“This is your opportunity to determine if the job is right for you,” Angela Payne, general manager at Monster Canada, says. “And by having questions prepared in advance, this shows the interviewers that you are committed to learning more about the company and the position.”
Coming prepared with questions, Payne says, also shows the interviewer that you are engaged, have done your research and that you are a good potential candidate for the position.
“Sometimes we incorrectly assume that the interview is just about whether or not we are the right fit for the job,” Payne says. “But in actuality, the interview is also a chance for the job seeker to figure out if this job is the right fit for them.”
Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum – having too many questions.
“This isn’t an exact science, but don’t go overboard,” Payne advises. “Be aware of your audience so the questions are relevant to their knowledge and also be aware of your timing … There is no such thing as a dumb question, but make sure that you know what you are talking about by doing plenty of research beforehand.”
But what questions can one ask – or just as importantly, what questions shouldn’t you ask at the end of an interview?
To help get those wheels turning, Payne offers some suggestions.
What to ask
According to Payne, if you want to impress the interviewer with your questions, it’s important that you become familiar with the company you’re interviewing with.
“Read as much as you can about the organization and the role for which you are interviewing,” she says. “This will help you figure out the most insightful questions you should be asking. Review the company’s newsroom to become familiar with what they have announced recently and see if that sparks any questions for you.”
Some example questions Payne suggests include:
- Ask questions that identify how your qualifications can alleviate some of their points like, “If I started in this job tomorrow, what would be my two most pressing priorities?”
- Ask questions about the company’s plans for the future with a question like, “Where do you see this department and/or company in five years?”
- See how you would fit into the company and the team by asking a question like, “How would you describe your company’s culture?” or “What tangible and intangible qualities attracted you to the organization?”
- Show that you are interested in the position by asking something like, “What additional information can I provide about my qualifications?”
What not to ask
Stick to relevant questions only and avoid jumping the gun regarding questions about the potential salary, Payne says.
Also, avoid asking these types of questions:
- Don’t ask questions that make it obvious that you haven’t read up on the company with questions like, “What do you guys do?” or “How long have you been around?”
- Don’t ask questions that make you seem wishy-washy and bring your commitment into question. For example, “How many sick days will I get?” or “Are you closed over the holidays?”
- Lastly, avoid asking questions that make you seem unhappy with the position that’s currently being offered with inquiries like, “How quickly will I be promoted?” or “What kind of raises and/or bonuses can I expect?”
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