Throughout the whole interview you’ve been answering the questions thrown out at you like a champ, and hoping you’ve been saying the right things. But the interview’s almost over, and now it’s your turn! Your interviewer asks, do you have any questions for me? And the way to shine is to make sure you have a handful of good, smart questions to fire away.
You’re not yet in a position to negotiate, so don’t ask the questions you might be tempted to—not yet! Questions about salary and the possibility of telecommuting are a little premature at this point. What you want to do now is make it crystal clear that you are the best person for the job. You are the one who will contribute value to the team and the company. How do you do this? Ask the right questions, the ones that demonstrate a real and enthusiastic interest in the company, but still show off what an excellent hire you’d be. Here are some tips on asking the right questions at an interview.
1. First and foremost, avoid any question someone could answer with a “yes” or “no.” You want to start a conversation, not create the potential of an awkward silence.
2. A focus on the company’s future shows that you’re interested in the company’s success, and how your potential department can fit into that. Ask questions like:
> Which company goals and potentials for growth are employees most excited about?
> What do you consider to be your firm’s most important assets?
> How does this position fit into the company’s long-term plans?
3. It’s important to demonstrate your interest in fitting into your role at the company. You want to ask what kinds of people really thrive in your organization, or even why people come to work for this company, rather than a competitor. Why do employees stay?
4. Asking about your interviewer’s experience in the company can help forge a personal connection. It is also an important way to find out more about the company culture, and also offers you an opportunity to show how you can be valuable to your interviewer. Some good questions include:
> What is the most gratifying aspect of the work you do for XYZ company?
> Could you describe your ideal candidate for this job? Why are these qualities important to you?
> How do you envision this position supporting you?
> Is there a work issue that keeps you up at night? How could I help address that issue?
> What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first three months?
> What goals for this department are you hoping to achieve in the coming year?
> How would you define “success” for this position and for you?
5. Finally, make sure you demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the position by asking, at the end, how can you follow up after the interview. What information does your interviewer require, is there anyone else you can speak to, are there any other questions your interviewer has? Employers are looking for people who really want to work there, and who show their enthusiasm for the position, the company, and the opportunity.
Have you ever asked questions to potential employers at the end of a job interview? If so, tell us in the comments below!
Sara Nelson is the Social Media Guru for Stevens-Henager College, overseeing the college’s profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more. She is also a student in the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program, and she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to good music, and eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.