A job interview is a two-way street – the company is interviewing you for the position and you are interviewing the company to see if you would fit into its culture. Throughout the process, you are going to be asked a series of questions (check out our “Common Interview Questions and How To Answer Them” article) about your experience and background. One of the most common, and often most difficult, questions at the end of an interview is “Do you have any questions for me [the hiring manager]?
In preparing for the interview, you have likely done plenty of research on the position, who you’re interviewing with and the company itself. Many of the questions you had might have been answered throughout the conversation up until this point, but asking questions is a key component of a job interview.
That said, you do not want to ask random questions. By crafting well thought out questions pertaining to the opportunity, you will show interest in the position, that you have done your research and demonstrate that you are a strong candidate.
In an article for Business Insider, author Áine Cain came up with six questions that job seekers should ask during an interview. They are as follows:
“Why is this position available?”
This is an important question for a few reasons and by understanding the need for the position, you can figure out how things are going internally. Is this a new opportunity? Did someone leave this position? If it is a new opportunity, then you can likely determine that the business is growing and there is a need for more help. If someone left the position, figuring out what you could do differently in the role is also a benefit.
“What makes people stay at this company?”
These days it is very common for people to have multiple careers, compared to having one career for 20+ years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds 10 different jobs before the age of forty, with that number projected to grow. If a company has employees there for multiple years, asking this question is a way to get a sense of the company’s culture.
“If hired, what are the three most important things you’d like me to accomplish in the first six to 12 months at the company?”
When a company is looking to hire someone, there is a need for more help in that area of the business. If there were no goals expected of the new hire to meet and accomplish, there would likely be no need to bring on another employee. Therefore, by asking this question it shows that you are forward-thinking and goal-oriented looking to help the company achieve its goals. This will also make it easier for you to show that you are a fit for the job and tailor the conversation accordingly.
“What will make someone successful in the role?”
This question builds on the previous one in that it establishes a metric for you to determine company goals and how you could achieve them. It shows that you are driven and want to achieve success, whatever that may look like.
“Is there anything I’ve said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?”
Many people, including myself, might not have the courage to ask this question. Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert for our friends at TopResume says, “If you can find the courage to put your interviewer on the spot, it can help you get a quick read on the situation, provide you with valuable feedback on your candidacy, and give you the opportunity to address any objections the hiring manager may have while you still have that person’s full attention.”
“What is your timeline for making a decision? May I call or email you to follow up on my candidacy?”
Believe it or not, many candidates forget to ask this question at the end of interviews according to Augustine. If you don’t ask this, you could very well be left in the dark in terms of when to expect to hear regarding a hiring decision. It also places a deadline of sorts on the company to reach out and let you know. In the job search it is becoming more common for job descriptions and applications to say “NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE,” so by asking what the proper form of follow up should be you can cater to the company’s communication preference. By following up properly, you can remain at the front of the hiring manager’s mind.
Preparing for a job interview is a pivotal part of the job search process. Not only should you be prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions, but you should also be prepared to ask some questions of your own. While researching the company and the position, write down questions as you come across them. You do not necessarily need to take these into the interview with you, but by writing them down it is easier to remember the questions that you have.
By formulating your questions based on the six suggested in this article, you will show the hiring manager that you are indeed interested in this job and are a viable candidate. These questions could also give you a sense as to whether or not you could see yourself working for the company, since as I said before, the interview is as much for the company as it is for you.
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