It is perhaps the most awkward time during a job interview: the time where the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. In all your preparation for answering their questions, pondering what questions to direct toward them wasn’t even on the radar. So, what do you do? Do you clam up? (No…not a good idea) Do you blurt the first lame question that pops into your head? (No…worse idea than clamming up)
What you do is learn from those awkward times and brainstorm some good questions to ask the interviewer. By asking good questions you:
Show interest in the company. Portray interest in the company and position.
Show interest in your employment there. Show your interviewer you have taken the time to do your own research and are well prepared
Give yourself a more accurate picture of what it will be like to work there. Can gain valuable information about a company’s corporate culture and what it takes to succeed there
Here are some broad categories accompanied by specific examples to guide you when brainstorming what questions to ask. You’ll notice that there is a lot of overlap, but that’s okay. It means you’re touching on multiple facets at once, which is a good thing. Think about:
Questions that show knowledge of the field/company.
Asking questions like these show that you know your stuff and are interested in your potential employer as well as the field in which they exist. The question should not be over the top to impress them. Instead it should show your competence and interest. Some suggested questions are:
What is the company’s plan for growth in the future?
Since the field is changing so quickly, in what ways does the company see itself adapting over time?
Questions that show interest in longevity and loyalty to the company.
Questions like these communicate that you are committed to the employer. Rather than getting a rental, they are getting someone who is interested in staying and excelling with the company. Many places don’t want to be seen as the stepping-stone to something else. They like seeing that you want to invest in them before they invest in you. Some possible questions to ask include:
What is/are the time frame/necessary steps to advance in the company?What does it take to succeed in the position and how is this success measured?
What is the usual career path for someone in this particular position?
Questions that show interest in personal development.
To remain stagnant is to commit career suicide. You want to grow your skills to keep you at the precipice of your field. Thus, asking a question like this is not only important to you, but it also communicates a hunger to mature and develop as an employee of their company. A company that wishes to remain relevant will admire this quality greatly. Some possible questions along these lines are:
What opportunities for professional development might be available?
What are the most important qualities to possess for this particular position?
Questions that give you an idea of what it is like to work for the company.
You need not be afraid to ask some questions that inform you of what it will be like to work with this potential suitor. After all, you need to give yourself the best picture of what it will be like to work there, both in the present and in the future. By asking questions, you are able to confirm the desire you have to work with a particular company, or you may hear something that raises a red flag to the whole opportunity. So, ask some questions that give you a good idea of what you will be doing and what will be expected of you. You do, after all, want to get the job you expected and not the job you didn’t ask about. Some questions that accomplish this are:
What does an average workday for this position look like?
What is expected of me after 30 days, 60 days, 6 months, 1 year, etc.?
And the last questions to always ask is, “What is the next step in the process?”
Here, you again reiterate your desire to work for them as well as make yourself aware of what further action needs to take place. Your eagerness to work and willingness to act stand out to your future employer.
By utilizing this guide, we hope that awkward time of question asking now becomes a point of strength in your interview. Gone are the days of the cat getting your tongue or asking how many bathrooms are in the building. Now you can be prepared to ask questions that enhance your chances of getting the job while giving you a better picture what it is like working for your potential employer. How does that sound?
We’ve vetted our long list of quality employers, to help you interview with confidence knowing the employer, and job are perfect for you.
Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.