Preparing Your Own Questions
In a typical interview format, one of the last questions an interviewer will ask you is whether you have any questions of your own. Even if you feel you have heard everything there is to know about this company and this position, be sure to ask something! If you don't have any real questions, choose from a list of insightful questions that you have prepared ahead of time.
Make sure you prepare more than one question so that if the interviewer answers your questions during the course of the conversation, you have a few backups. Responding something along the lines of, “Nope! I think you answered 'em all!” is not likely to make a lasting impression. Questions related to the outcomes or expectations the company has for this position can signal your focus on making positive contributions and make a positive impression.
For instance, “What would you hope this employee would achieve during the first six months on the job?” or “How will you evaluate the effectiveness of an employee in this position?” will convey your focus on results and desire to help the company meet its goals.
Inquire as to the next step in the company's decision-making process or how long they are planning to continue to interview. This will help you reiterate your interest in the position if it is one you desire. You can assure the interviewer that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity and hope you will be strongly considered.
Worse than having no questions to ask an interviewer at this juncture in the interview is asking a question that has already been answered. For example, asking about the hours you will be asked to work when the interviewer has already gone over this in detail will only serve to lower your status in the eyes of the recruiter. In addition to thinking that you are inattentive, she may believe that you are incapable of absorbing large amounts of information in a short period of time. Avoid asking anything about salary, as well as questions about other benefits or issues that could be considered “selfish,” such as tuition reimbursement.
When it comes to asking questions, you should always have some prepared for the interviewer ahead of time. While you may want to write these down for your own reference before the interview, never read directly from this list during the interview.
If you have done your research, this is another point where you can subtly demonstrate your knowledge. By asking questions that pertain to this particular company, you are showing the interviewer that you know what you are talking about. Be sure that your questions don't turn into an interrogation.
Avoid asking questions the interviewer may find difficult or awkward to answer, and steer clear of questions that don't pertain directly to the job. For example, while it may interest you to know whether or not all the company's catalogs are printed on recycled paper, now is not the time to ask. Ask intelligent questions that will underscore your interest in the position as well as a long-term career with this particular company.
Rather than asking, “What kind of departmental structure does your company have?” try “What kind of departmental structure will I be working in with your company?” This will not only make you seem more confident but also give the sense that you want to work for this particular employer.
The following are some successful questions that job seekers have asked interviewers in the past. Interviewers look for these types of questions:
Could you talk a little bit about what a typical work week would be like for a public relations executive at Fill-in-the-Blank Corporation?
What is the typical career path of someone in this position?
What are some of the strengths you believe the ideal candidate for this position should have?
Why did the last person leave this job?
How long do people tend to stay in this position?
What opportunities for advancement are there in this position?
How much interoffice interaction is there? Do departments tend to work independently of one another, or is there a fair amount of intercommunication?
How does your company measure employee performance? How often is this done?
In your opinion, what is the best part of this job?
In your opinion, what is the worst part of this job?
How long have you worked for Fill-in-the-Blank Corporation?
What do you feel is the best aspect of working for this company?
What do you feel is the worst aspect of working for this company?
I know that much of the industry, in general, is looking toward the Internet as the wave of the future. How is your company responding to this new technology?
If I were hired, how many others would there be in my department?
How would you describe the management philosophy at Fill-in-the-Blank Corporation?
Please describe the corporate culture at Fill-in-the-Blank Corporation.
How many others are interviewing for this position?
When do you think you will be making a hiring decision?
Having a few intelligent questions ready is a great way to make a lasting impression on a recruiter.