An interview is a two-way process. Just as your interviewer asks you questions to know more about your skills and judge if you are the right candidate, similarly, you should also ask relevant questions to understand if this is the job you are looking for. As a protocol, your turn to ask question comes towards the end of the interview when the hiring manager asks, "Do you have any questions for me?".
He will expect you to have some questions. Not asking any questions could make you seem disinterested or unprepared, and you would not really want that to happen, right? So make sure you have some questions for the interviewer that will demonstrate your interest in the role and the fact that you have done some research about the company.
- Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job? Or, How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
- What do you look for in a candidate to excel in this role?
- What are your expectations for this role during the first couple of months?
Find out what your employer’s expectations are for the person in this position. This will help you to during the ramp up phase, once you join the company.
- Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?
The answer to this question will help you decide if you want to have a long term association with your future employer. It is very important to make sure if the company is growing so that you can grow with the company as well. This also shows your desire to seize the right opportunity and may help you learn more about where the organisation will be focusing over the next couple of months as well.
- What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?
You may ask this question depending upon your experience or seniority. The answer to this question can help you know some trends and issues in the industry and identify areas where you can contribute with your skills to help.
- What is the typical career path for someone in this role or what is the hierarchical structure of this role?
The answer to this question can help you understand the career advancement within the organization. By asking this question, you show your solidarity in growing with the organization.
- Is this a new position?
The excitement of joining a pilot batch or the joy of joining a well-established team where individual contribution counts is every potential employee’s question. You should not restrict yourself from asking this question to your interviewer.
- Do you have a policy for helping new members of the team get on board?
The answer to this question will most likely be a ‘yes’ but it is worth asking still. This will give you an idea about the induction programme or buddy system in the organisation.
- What is the best part of working for this company? Or, what are the biggest rewards of the job?
This is a very interesting question that is sure to put a smile on your interviewer’s face. She will fondly share some good memories which will make you feel good as well. You will be motivated to work in the company as well.
- How would you describe this company's values?
Though you can read about the company’s values in their website, yet it is a good idea to hear it from the horse’s mouth. How employee friendly is the company or how does it support its women restarters are just some of the things this question may answer for you.
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
This question shows that you are keen to know the next steps and eager to move forward in the process. It will also help you gain relevant information about the timeline for hiring.
Remember not to ask about salary or benefits just yet. Instead, wait until you are in the final stages of the interview process where you can negotiate with the hiring manager.
General Guidelines for Asking Questions
- Avoid asking "Me" Questions - These include questions about salary, health insurance, vacation time, etc. During an interview, you are trying to demonstrate to the employer how you can be an asset to the company. Once you get your offer letter, you can ask what the company can do for you.
- Type of questions – Your questions should not overwhelm the employer, hence avoid multi-part questions. Go slow and ask one question at a time. In addition, make sure to ask different questions, instead of only asking about one subject. This will portray your curiosity and interest in all aspects of the position.
- Refrain from asking any personal questions - While it is good to establish a rapport with your interviewer, do not ask personal questions. This may show you in a bad light.
Questions NOT to ask the interviewer
There are some questions that you should never ask during your interview. Here is a list:
- Can I change my schedule once hired?
If you need to figure out the logistics at home or prior commitments, do not mention it now. Wait for the right time.
- What does this company do? Or, what is this company about?
Please do your own research before going. In today’s world of technology, nothing is impossible.
- If I get the job, when can I apply for vacation?
Asking this question during an interview is unprofessionalism. Wait until you get the offer letter.
- Did I get the job?
Trust them. They will let you know. Patience is a virtue.
Before you appear for the interview, spend some time with yourself, ponder about the questions you will ask the interviewer, be calm, and go with an open mind and right attitude. All the very best!