Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Up to this point you've been concerned with your performance on the job interview. You have worked hard to come up with the best answers possible to every question you might be asked. After all you want to give a good impression and increase your chances of getting a job offer.
Let's switch gears now. The interview actually serves two purposes … or, more accurately, two parties. It serves the employer, whose goal is to find the best candidate for the job. It also serves you, the job seeker, who want to find the best job you can. And how will you know which job is right for you? First you will make some observations about the work environment. You will also do some research about the company, which may include speaking to current and past employees or to people who know them. You will also ask questions of the interviewer, which you will usually be given the opportunity to do at the end of a job interview.
Before you go on the interview, prepare some questions to ask. You probably won't get to all of them, so prioritize them. Ask about the company's financial health and its plans for the future. Inquire about employee turnover and job satisfaction. Find out how people advance through the ranks and how employees are evaluated.
Should I ask a question, for example about the company's financial health, if I already know the answer from my research?
You shouldn't ask the question if you know the answer, but you can use this opportunity to let the employer know that you have done your research. You can do this by revealing what you know and then asking for further clarification about it.
Your questions should show your interest in the company. They should indicate that you were listening throughout the interview. You shouldn't ask something that was already answered, but you can ask for clarification. Phrase your questions in a way that lets the interviewer picture you in the job. For example, “What opportunities for advancement will I have?”
Questions to Avoid
There are some questions that are inappropriate and should not be asked unless the employer has made an offer. Don't ask about salary or benefits. Stay away from questions about vacation time. Don't ask what can cause someone to get fired. You should also avoid asking any questions that will reveal any of your insecurities about being able to handle the job. Such questions will turn the interviewer's attention away from your skills and strengths, which is the opposite of what you want.
The following list contains some questions you might consider asking the interviewer when you're presented with the opportunity at the end of the interview. Of course, not all of these questions will be appropriate to bring up in every situation. Play it by ear and choose what to ask based on what has been discussed in the interview.
Who will I be reporting to?
What will I need to do to advance in this company?
Are there formal performance reviews?
How often will I be evaluated?
Why is this job open?
What has the company's growth been over the last five years?
Do you consider the company to be in good financial health?
Do you promote from within?
How long do most employees stay with the company?
How long have you been with the company?
How many of those in upper management began their careers at this company?