The interview is going well and you’re confident in your answers. You can feel its end drawing near when the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?” You knew this question was coming, but you somehow forgot to have questions prepared! You begin to stress, and in your moment of panic, you say “Nope, I think I’ve got everything!” You can practically see the disappointment on the interviewer’s face - they expected better of you.
At the end of any given interview, it’s more than likely that you’ll be asked to provide questions of your own. This is a make or break moment: if you offer up thoughtful questions, you’ll look intelligent and interested in the position. Shallow questions (or worse, no questions at all) will demonstrate a poor fit with the company. The best solution for avoiding negative perception is to have some strong questions prepped in advance. Our experts have compiled some of their favorites.
Examples: What path led you to your current position? Did you begin as an intern here? Do you have a favorite project on which you’ve worked?
As Ashley, a Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health explains, “I appreciate questions that show a genuine interest in the company and show their long-term commitment, such as asking about my career path so they can gain an understanding of the career projection and long-term growth for an employee.”1 When you ask about the person interviewing you, it shows a real interest in both the company and that person. It can also provide insights regarding the percentage of people hired on from an internship, as well as the type of projects that could be typical for your department.
Sylvia, a Hiring Expert at HP Inc. furthers that “An even better question would be to know what roles they were offered and didn't take and why. This will allow you to understand the manger/colleagues on a personal level.”2 One of the best ways to evaluate if you’ll fit in within the company is by learning more about the person with the ability to hire you. If they’ve stayed with the company for a very long time, there’s probably a good reason why.
Examples: What accomplishments would you like to see from me in the first 90 days? What’s an example of what my day-to-day schedule might look like? If I receive this position, what is the first project with which I’ll be tasked?
Employers want to see that you are curious about your potential position. Brittany, a Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, explains that by asking questions specific to your potential role within the company, you will discover “what the company is looking for in a top-notch employee.” Additionally, “you show that you care about the needs of the company and that you are willing to put some thought into the day-to-day tasks of the job.”3 Questions about the position will also help you determine if the job duties fall within your skill or interest set.
Examples: Do employees hang out together after work? Are the departments very integrated, or do they mostly keep to themselves? How would you describe the workplace environment?
It’s important to remember that while the company wants to determine if you’re good for them, you’re also trying to figure out if they’re right for you! Glassdoor is a handy way to research company culture prior to an interview, but as Ashley, a Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health points out, “Employees are more likely to post negative experiences than positive experiences so the website isn't a true glimpse into a company.”4 A more accurate picture is likely to come from the people who still work there. If multiple people are interviewing you, ask each of them about the culture. If their answers are consistent, it’s probably a good indication of what the environment actually looks like.
Not asking questions at the end of an interview should not be what prevents you from landing your dream job. Being prepared is simple, especially if you remember the three categories of questions listed above. While these questions are helpful, they aren’t meant to be the end-all be-all of interviewing. When it really comes down to it, you have to ask what feels right for the situation - just make sure you ask something. Now go #GetThatJob!