"Do you have any questions" is one of the top interview questions employers ask.
Employers typically view job candidates who don't ask questions as uninterested.
So, be prepared with your questions. You will benefit, too.
The main reasons for asking questions in your next job interview are:
⏩ To gain a much more accurate idea of the job than the job description typically provides.
⏩ To learn more about the manager, your co-workers, and the whole organization to see if it seems like a place where you could work happily and successfully.
⏩ To impress the employer.
⏩ To understand how they react to an economic and/or health crises.
Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, you also want to understand how the employer handled the situation. How did they treat employees? How did they survive and recover? For details on what to ask them (and the questions you may be asked) read Interview Questions in a Post-COVID Pandemic World.
The best way to succeed in an interview, most of the time, is to turn the interview from a formal question-and-answer "grilling" into a business conversation.
Read through the list below to get ideas about questions that are typically asked and choose the ones that seem to be most important to you. Choose at least 10 questions that are the most important to you and relevant to the opportunity. Write your questions on a list you take with you to the interview.
You will likely not ask even half of the questions listed below, but they are a good starting point for developing your own, depending on what is most important to you.
The best way to avoid taking a job you will hate (resulting in another job hunt too soon) is to learn as much as you can about the job, the organization, your boss, your coworkers, and the environment before you accept the job offer.
Usually the first person you speak with is the recruiter or a member of the Human Resources staff. In some -- typically small -- organizations, the hiring manager will be the first person who interviews you.
The best question to ask is -- Who will be interviewing me, and how does your hiring process work?
Ask for the names and job titles of the people who are interviewing you so that you can do some research about them before the interview. Hopefully they will have LinkedIn Profiles you can review to see if you find any common ground among them or with you to help you understand more about the organization.
Research the interviewers to help you find ways to build rapport with the interviewers during the interview -- same school or degree, same professional organization, etc.
During this initial "screening" interview, employers ask questions to determine if you are a qualified candidate who should be invited to a face-to-face interview. You may not have an opportunity to ask many questions, but do have questions ready to demonstrate your interest in the organization and the job.
Review the questions below to have your relevant questions ready for the face-to-face interviews. Ask these questions to understand what to expect from their hiring process (and what will be expected from you). Also ask these questions to know if you really want this job with this employer
Regardless of who that first person is, ask these questions of both the HR/recruiting staff member and the hiring manager to learn important details about the job and to compare the "facts" presented.
At the start of the interview, understanding the people who are interviewing you will help you provide answers appropriate to the person's role in your work life. You will also become a bit more comfortable talking with the interviewer(s), hopefully turning the interview into a discussion rather than a series of questions and answers.
These questions are most relevant when you are meeting an interviewer for the first time. You should be introduced to each person interviewing you before an interview begins. Make note of the person's name, and ask for their job title if it isn't provided.
Ideally, you should exchange business cards with each of the interviewers so you have all relevant information, including their job title and contact information.
First, learn as much as you can about this job, which will help you understand more about the organization and this job:
During the Coronavirus pandemic, also ask questions related to how the employer is managing the situation, keeping employees safe while continuing to operate successfully.
If the person who is interviewing you is the hiring manager, ask these questions to learn more about this part of the organization, how he organization works together, and this person's management style:
If the person would be a co-worker, learn more about how things look from this person's level by asking questions like these:
Understanding more about the person will help you choose the next questions to ask, and also help you keep their responses in perspective.
Once you understand who is interviewing you, you can move on to asking these questions as appropriate during the interview.
Once you know the players in the interview, ask the questions that will help you understand more about the job and whether or not it is a job you would like.
Regardless of who you are asking these questions, the answers to these questions will enable you to focus your answers to best position yourself as the "cure" for their "pain":
The answers to these questions will increase your understanding of their problems (to fine tune your responses to their questions) and whether or not you want to work there.
Ask questions that will help you determine if you would actually like the job, and be able to do it well.
The questions above will also give you an idea about the kind of working environment you would be joining -- the "corporate culture." That culture may expect people to work 50 hours a week (or more) or not.
Ask about anything else in your preparation that raised questions for you. Read Smart Google Research for Successful Job Interviews for leveraging Google before the interview.
As the interview winds down, or when the interviewer has indicated that the interview is ending, you need to ask these end-of-the-interview questions.
Tell the interviewer that you are very interested in the job and enthusiastic about joining the organization. Then, finish by asking these questions.
Use your judgement about the interviewer and the situation. Some interviewers will like this approach and the confidence you are demonstrating by asking these questions, but others may not.
Do what feels comfortable and appropriate to you.
OR, the least challenging, but still useful...
These can be tough questions to ask, but hearing their responses allows you to respond and overcome any objections they might have. If you do not do this, and they do have objections, then you will be one of those who gets the rejection letter.
If they answer these questions (and they might not!), those answers will give you an indication of how well you did in the interview and perhaps an opportunity to clarify a question they might have about your qualifications to do the job.
⏩ Now, ask the 5 essential MUST-ASK "housekeeping" questions so that you will understand how their process works, when you can expect to hear from them, what happens next, and who will be your contact. If you don't ask these questions, you will have no idea when you will hear from them next or where they are in their process which will be very stressful (and discouraging) for you.
If you don't ask those questions, you also risk being in contact with the wrong person at the wrong time, looking either desperate or annoying.
Gather as much information as you can in the job interview. Decide if you really want this job in this organization working with these people. Then, be prepared for the whole process to take too much time. NEVER stop your job search and wait for a job offer to come. You are probably one of at least three other candidates for any job, and they may well choose someone else -- or not fill this job.
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
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