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How To Know What Questions To Ask After an Interview (Plus: Free Interview Question Packet download!)

November 6, 2019 | By | Reply More

Questions to ask an interviewer

 

There’s usually no getting around it. At some point in an interview, the question will come up:

“Do you have any questions to ask me?”

 

 

Gulp! You made it through the interview without missing a beat. You were almost home free. But then the interviewer throws you a curveball by asking if you have any questions.

 

 

Of course you have questions, but you need time to think. With your nerves already flying in all directions, how do you know what the interviewer wants to hear?

 

In this article we’ll cover:

  • How to decide which questions to ask
  • How many questions to ask
  • Important question categories and real examples of good questions
  • How to organize your questions for the interview
  • FREE Interview Questions Packet download

 

Why asking the right questions matters

In case no one’s ever told you, an interview is a two-way street. It’s two people (usually) getting to know each other on a professional level, trying to decide if they want to work together.

 

An interviewer not only wants to get to know you, they want to gauge your “true” interest in the position and the company; and estimate how prepared you were for such an important meeting.

 

 

Coming prepared with questions about the position and the company gives the interviewer a favorable impression about you. For starters, it shows you’re passionate about the job.

 

passionate about your job

The questions you ask can show you have passion for the position.

 

“One of the best times to prove that you’re passionate about the opportunity at hand is when an interviewer asks you if you have any questions for them,” says Emily Moore at Glassdoor.com.

 

It also shows that you took the time to learn all you could about the company beyond just reading the job ad. Therefore, the first step in coming up with great questions to ask is to delve into the company’s background with some research.

 

“Researching employers is one of the best ways to become a standout candidate during the hiring process,” says career expert Heather Huhman. “By putting on your detective hat and investigating potential employers, you’ll discover details about the employer that will better prepare you for any interview.”

 

Research not only helps you understand the company, it makes it easier to decide questions that are relevant.

 

Carefully crafted questions tell the hiring manager that:

  • You have a genuine interest. You care enough to questions and seek answers.
  • You’re intelligent. Relevant questions help the interviewer see your thought process.
  • You did your research. In other words, you could not find answers to the questions, so you’re asking for them instead.

 

 

If you’re already starting to feel overwhelmed, don’t worry! There’s a FREE Interviewer Question Packet for you to download at the end of this article. You can do it!

 

 

What questions to ask

It’s a good idea to show interest in more than the job you’re applying to, such as, the company, the culture, and your team. (These areas are outlined below.)

 

When crafting your questions make sure they are all open-ended. Questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” won’t do. You want to use the interview as an opportunity to learn as much as you can so know exactly what you’re getting into.

 

creative questions to ask

Aim to be creative with your questions.

 

Also, try to be creative. You are likely competing with other well-prepared candidates so you want to avoid sounding robotic or run-of-the-mill. Just be careful not to confuse creative with being inappropriate or attempting to be comical. (Below are several examples of creative questions.)

 

The best way to identify good questions (and questions not to ask), is to research the company. (Yep, I already said that!) Scrutinize their website. More often, their website will answer questions such as company history, company mission and values, and size of company.

 

Next, use search engines to see if they’ve received any publicity. If so, asking a question from an article you read about the company is an excellent way to impress an interviewer.

 

 

How many questions should you ask?

A common concern for interviewees is knowing how many questions to ask. Three? Five? Well, it depends. Considerations include length of interview (if predetermined), the number of interviewers (is it one person, or a panel?), and is the interview in person or online.*

 

Always choose quality over quantity. It helps to itemize a list of several questions, beginning with two or three of the most relevant, creative, and impressive ones. Then move to questions commonly asked, such as, “What is the key to succeeding in this role?” Next, ask a question or two about the interviewer her/himself, if you feel confident in doing so**. Finally, end with questions about what you should expect after the interview.

 

 

Question categories and what they say about you

I’ve broken questions down into eight categories. Each category offers several good question suggestions, but this doesn’t mean you have to use each one.

 

These questions are not exhaustive. There are so many other questions you could include or replace them with. It all depends on your personal situation. Nonetheless, let’s look at what we have here.

 

 

 

Questions that show an interest in the company:

 

  • I read that the CEO was awarded _____ for his involvement in XYZ. Does he support other good causes?
  • Where do you see this company in the next few years?
  • What goals is the company focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
  • Who does this company regard as their competitors?
  • What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?

 

questions to ask about your team

Questions that demonstrate an interest in your team:

 

  • How many people will I be working with?
  • Could you tell me a little about the person I would report to directly?
  • Do you expect to hire more people in this department in the next six months?
  • Which other departments work most closely with this one?
  • What is something the team or department does that’s become a tradition?
  • What is the company’s overall management style?

 

questions to ask about the positionsQuestions that show an interest in the position itself:

 

  • Would I need to travel for the position?
  • Is overtime expected and/or allowed?
  • What are the primary responsibilities of the position?
  • Do you expect the responsibilities for this role to change soon?
  • Is this a newly created role?
  • What are some challenges I should expect in this role?

 

questions that show a desire to do wellQuestions that illustrate your desire to do well:

 

  • What is the key to succeeding in this role?
  • What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
  • What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
  • How would you define ‘success’ for the person in this role?
  • What qualities does this company most value in its employees?
  • How often do you evaluate employee performance?
  • What should I wear on my first day?
  • Is there anything in my resume that makes you doubt my qualifications for this position?

 

questions that show forward thinkingQuestions that show forward thinking:

 

  • What does it look like during the busiest and toughest times for this role?
  • Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
  • What kind of performance feedback can I expect to receive, and how often?
  • Who is the best person to go to with questions I might have later on?
  • Will I be able to work with any innovative tools, technologies or methods?

 

questions to ask about employee happinessQuestions that show a desire to be a happy employee:

 

  • What training programs are available to your employees?
  • What’s the company and team culture like?
  • Is there a formal mission statement or company values?
  • What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
  • Is mentorship available to new employees?

 

questions to ask about the interviewerQuestions that demonstrate an interest in the interviewer:

 

  • How has the company changed since you joined?
  • What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
  • What are a few things you love about working here?
  • What do you wish you had known before you joined the company?

 

questions to ask about what's nextQuestions to ask to let them know you want to move on to next stage:

 

  • What’s next in the interviewing process?
  • When do you expect to decide?
  • How many people will interview for this job?
  • What is the onboarding process like?
  • When is the best time for me to follow up on this interview?

 

 

Questions NOT to ask

While asking questions makes you look good, there are some questions that should not be asked. Doing so will undo all your hard work. Sure, most candidates would like to know the answers, however, you’ll need to get the answers some other way.

 

 

questions not to ask during an interviewQuestions that show you did not do your research, that you might be undisciplined, or that you have something to hide:

 

  • How long do I need to be employed before I take for vacation?
  • Will I ever have to work on a weekend or holiday?
  • What does the organization do?
  • Will you check my Facebook page?
  • How often do we get raises?
  • How many warnings do employees get before they get fired?
  • How much notice do you need if I want to quit?
  • Why should I work for you?

 

I’m sure you get the point.

 

 

One more thought

What if the interviewer fails to ask if you have any questions? Don’t let the opportunity pass you up! Unless they say they have another appointment, take the initiative.

 

According to one Lifehack.org post, “Saying something like ‘before we end, I have a few questions I’d like to ask if you don’t mind,’ is the perfect way to politely remind the interviewer that you haven’t had the chance to get your questions answered.”

 

You worked hard to get the interview and prepare for it, so make every minute count!

 

 

 

Footnotes:


* It’s important to note that telephonic or online interviews are becoming more and more common, at least for initial screenings. But remote positions might have the entire interview process  online or over the phone. In this situation, ask the most important questions first in case there is a connection problem, or the interview needs to be cut off for some reason.

 

**  When asking an interviewer questions about him/herself, tread carefully. Your goal is not to get to know them personally, but to learn more about the company through their experiences as an employee. It’s important to maintain professional boundaries.

 

Questions to ask during an interview

Questions to Ask during an interview packet.

 

 

Are you ready to put these tips into action? Click Here to download your FREE Interview Questions to Ask packet to help you ready to confidently ask questions!

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Featured, Human Resources, Interviewing, Telecommuting

AdminTelework

About the Author ()

Pamela La Gioia has been researching and writing about remote work since the early 1990's. She is CEO/Founder of Telework Recruiting, the leading provider of technical and professional remote career opportunities.

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