Just about every interviewer will close an interview with, “So, do you have any questions for me?” (If they don’t give you a chance to ask questions, take that as a bad sign). Asking questions is just as big of an opportunity to impress your interviewers as any other question they ask you, and you need to go prepared.
There are two reasons you need to ask good questions: First, the quality of your questions can show your sincere interest in the company and confirm your qualifications for the position. Second, this is your chance to interview the employer, too—you need to make sure you want to work for this organization.
Now, there are some questions that will not make you look good and you should never ask. Let’s get those out of the way first:
It’s a good idea to prepare about 5 questions for an interview, and then actually ask 3. Preparing more than needed is helpful in case some of your questions are answered earlier in the interview. Make a list and bring it with you if you need. Ideally, your interview will be more like a natural conversation instead of a very structured Q&A. In this case, questions will naturally occur to you as you converse because of your attentiveness to the conversation. However, in case the questions don’t just emerge naturally, have some prepared. Just don’t let your prepared questions sound like they came from a script!
Here is a list of excellent questions to pick from that will help you get to know the company better as well as impress your prospective employer. Tweak them as needed depending on the company and position.
Asking questions about the team shows your interest in the day-to-day job and will help you determine if it’s the right place for you.
Who will I work with most closely? Who will I report to?
What challenges/successes is the department currently facing?
How do you and your team communicate? Are there regular staff meetings? How do you check in with your team members?
What would you like to see improved on your team, and how could I contribute to that?
Show your desire to be successful, and learn how to get ahead before you even start.
What process will be used to evaluate my performance?
What would likely be the biggest challenge for a new person starting this job?
What are the most important performance indicators for the employee in this position?
What does a typical day in this position look like?
What will I be expected to accomplish in the first month/3 months/6 months?
Show your interest in growing with the employer and continually making yourself a better employee. Learn for yourself what room there is to progress and if this could be a good place for you to be long-term.
Are there many opportunities for professional development and continuing education within the company?
Does the company promote from within?
What is the typical career path for a person in this role, after being extremely successful in this position?
People like to brag a little. Show interest and build rapport by asking the interviewer about his career and experience with this company.
How long have you been with this company?
What brought you to the company?
What has made you successful in your career?
How did you get involved in this field and what has kept you on this career path?
What’s your favorite part about working here?
Where does the company expect to be in the next three to five years?
How is your company positioning itself to beat it’s competition? (be specific)
How would you define your company’s culture?
Be confident when asking your questions and pay close attention to your interviewer’s answers. Being prepared for this last part of the interview will make for a successful end and a positive final impression of you that will stick in their minds when deciding who to hire. Go get ’em.