5 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask in a Job Interview
“Do you have any questions for me?”
For many job seekers, this portion of an interview signals the end is near. It’s tempting to just say “no” and get out of the hot seat as quickly as possible, but fight that urge.
Asking questions shows the interviewer you were listening while they were talking, conveys your interest in the company and helps you decide if it’s where you want to work. After all, interviews are a two-way street -- the hiring team decides whether you’re what they want in an employee, and you decide if the company culture and specific role are where you want to devote your time and energy for the foreseeable future.
Here are five essential questions you should ask in a job interview.
- “How do you define success for this job?” This question helps you get a clear understanding of what the job entails and the expectations the company will have for you in it, says John Crossman, president of real estate management firm Crossman & Company. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, an answer to this question might be that you acquire 10 new clients in the next 90 days. It may also be that you upsell current customers by 25 percent over 90 days. As a candidate, you’ll want to know whether you’ll be cold-calling prospects or focusing on existing customers before you make your decision.
- Something specific about the organization It’s always a great idea to ask a question that shows you did your research before the interview says Chris Delaney, author of “The 73 Rules of Influencing the Interview.” He recommends building rapport and showcasing your research skills with a technique he calls “share expertise, ask question.” His example: “I recently read that the organization is looking to break into Europe. What do you foresee as the main barrier with this project?”
- “Can I have a quick tour?” See also: “Can I meet some people I’d be working with?” Both questions will get you out of the interview room and allow you to get a better look at the office. This will give you a chance to gauge co-worker interaction, workspace design (lighting, noise level, cleanliness) and the department as a whole, says Michelle Comer, practice area leader and vice president at the Messina Group, a staffing consulting firm. Requesting a tour or a quick introduction to potential co-workers also “signals to the interviewer that a candidate is taking a vested interest in the position,” she says.
- “What is your favorite part about working here?” “Companies, like job candidates, are putting their best foot forward during the interview process, often highlighting all of their corporate perks. By asking every person you interview with what they like best about working at the company you’ll get a better sense of the perks that people regularly experience versus the perks that live only on paper,” explains Sherry Dixon, a senior vice president at Adecco Staffing US. “If the interviewer responds that they love how they can make their yoga class each night and log back onto work from home if needed, then you know the company takes work-life balance seriously,” she explains.
- “Do you see any reason I might not be a good fit for this position?” It may seem counterintuitive to inquire about your potential flaws during an interview, but it’s actually a great thing to bring up at the end of the interview says Morgan Nichols, managing partner at Chicago-based recruiting and staffing firm Torrey & Gray. “This gives you an opportunity to know that the interviewer is thinking about you and gives you a last chance to clarify any misconceptions they may have or elaborate further on something important.”