During an interview there will almost inevitably come the time when the interviewer poses the inquiry, “So, do you have any questions?” This can be the point when normal interview nerves peak, while your mind starts to race through all of the information it has been presented with during the interview, searching for those magic questions that will make it evident that you are one of the most worthy candidates for the position. Being prepared for this moment by thinking through beforehand different options for suitable questions will help you to answer with confidence and make the best impression.
There are several different types of questions that are logical to ask when the opportunity arises. You need to first ask yourself whether you are completely clear on what the role you are applying for entails. By knowing this, you get an idea of whether you are the right candidate for the job and whether the role fully appeals to you. Listen carefully to what the interviewer has to say throughout the interview, making sure that you mentally take note of any gaps in information that could need clarifying at the end. Not only does asking questions related to the role allow the interviewer to see your level of enthusiasm and interest in the position, but it also enables you to seek illumination in areas which you may be unsure about.
Learning more about the exact responsibilities of the role also enables you to better understand which strengths and skills the employer is looking for, so you can further emphasise relevant points about yourself. Examples of questions that would be suitable to ask could include:
“What are the responsibilities expected of this role?”
“What does a typical day here look like?”
“Are there any extra duties which haven’t been mentioned?”
“Whom does this position report to?”
“What are the biggest challenges of this role?”
“How many people work in this particular office/team?”
The second option for suitable questions involves asking for more details about the company. We recommend researching the company before the interview, looking for valuable information that you could ask about later. A great way to establish rapport with employers is to show that you are genuinely interested and passionate about what they do. By bringing up information that you have researched prior to the interview, you show the employer that you have made the effort to prepare for the role and that you are likely to be a motivated and attentive employee. Asking for further information on details the employer has already covered during the interview shows that you are observant and responsive, which are both attractive traits for an employee. Gaining more insight into the company’s ethos, culture and direction allows you to evaluate whether you are the right fit for the role and what you can say to reinforce this. Questions could include:
“What are the company’s ambitions for the years ahead?”
“What is the culture of the company?”
“What are the company’s plans for growth and development?”
“How has the company changed over the past few years?”
“Who is your company’s competition, and how do you compare to them?”
“What do you like best about this company?”
Another line of inquiry could involve asking for details about the type of candidate that the employer is looking for in particular. By learning more about the perfect candidate archetype, you become aware of which strengths you should further highlight and which weaker areas you could develop. Use this opportunity as a learning experience that you can refer to in future to further progress your professional skills. Suitable questions include:
“What kind of person would fit best in your company?”
“What are the most important skills for a candidate to have?”
“What qualities would a candidate possess to excel in this role?”
“How do I compare with other candidates who have applied for the role?”
The final questions you ask should act to round off the interview and show that you are keen on taking the role. An excellent question to ask at this point is:
“What are the next steps in the interview process?”
By asking this question you show that you are eager to move forward in the hiring process. It also gives you insight into the expected time frame for hiring so you can follow up accordingly.
If you ask nothing else, your one crucial question should be:
“Do you need any more information from me?”
Remember that the interview is a two-way process of you becoming familiar with the company and the company becoming familiar with you. Be sincere, transparent and open with the information you share. Explain yourself clearly and comprehensively to ensure you present yourself in the best way you can. Always take the opportunity to ask questions – we advise asking two at minimum to build a relationship with the interviewer. Refer to the lists above before your next interview to help you prepare to create a lasting impression when the critical moment comes.