The interview is coming to a close, and you can’t wait to get out of the spotlight. The interviewer asks if you have any questions. You smile, shake your head, and end with a firm handshake.
Don’t expect a call back.
The number-one way to ruin an interview is not asking follow-up questions (even if you really don’t have any, ask anyway!). If you get flustered and nervous and can’t remember the question you intended to ask, write it down on a notepad beforehand, and refer to it once you’ve been asked. That said, you don’t necessarily have to wait to be asked if you have any questions. An interview should be a two-way dialogue; you and your potential employer should be getting to know each other.
Seven questions might be a bit much for one interview, so pick and choose those that best fit your needs.
1) Why did you decide to join this company, and what’s kept you here? The more your potential employer talks about him or herself, the better.
2) Where do you see the company in five years? Tailor to the company’s longevity. If you’re interviewing at a relatively new start-up, ask where your potential employer sees the company in a year or two. There’s likely to be much more change within a year than at a firmly established corporation with branches across the country.
3) What makes someone successful at this company? And/or: How do you measure and determine success for this position?
4) Research the company’s recent activity on relevant blogs and business websites. Perhaps they just opened an international office, or underwent a merger. You should reference your knowledge of their activity with a question about how that affects day-to-day business or what it means long-term. (Don’t simply state that you read the news — anyone can do that.)
5) How would you describe work culture here? This portrays your interest in the company working as a whole, rather than the individual position you’re interviewing for.
6) Integrate your career goals. Ask about the values and opportunities that are important to you in a potential career, such as training, collaborating with different departments, and travel. Remember, the job interview is just as much about making sure the company is a right fit for you.
7) What are the next steps in the interview process?
In first interviews, stay away from questions about salary — the time for talking about compensation will come later. Also avoid questions that can be easily answered by the company’s website, such as how many people they employ and where other offices are located.
Any suggestions for questions that should be added to the list? Comment below!