“Do you have any questions for us?”
For many interviewees, this question comes as a huge relief; an acknowledgment that they’ve made it through the interview and can breathe a little easier.
Believe it or not, this question is actually one of the most important you’ll be asked. The questions you ask your interviewer can significantly set you apart from your competition and secure an offer. It’s also a chance for you to ensure you have all the information you need to decide whether it’s the role for you.
Let’s break this down a little. In the vast majority of cases, other applicants interviewing for the role will have similar backgrounds and qualifications. What you’re therefore looking to do is demonstrate your interest, your thinking and build rapport. The questions you ask can do all three: they demonstrate you’ve thought about the role and by turning the tables and engaging your interviewer, the formality of the interview is reduced and becomes more conversational, which builds rapport.
Great questions can be crafted in advance and should be a key part of your interview preparations.
By the time you’ve reached this point of the interview, there’s a strong chance you’ll have taken on board so much information, you’ll have completely forgotten what you were going to ask, rendering all your preparation useless. So never be afraid to take in your list of questions to use as a prompt. Two or three key questions will suffice, ten may well be a little over the top!
Even if it’s been a detailed interview and a lot of ground has been covered, there are always questions you can ask, so having notes with you helps to avoid falling into the trap of answering “no you’ve answered them already”, which is some interviewers' biggest no-nos.
You should also avoid asking questions about salary, hours, or similar; leave that to the negotiation stage.
Top 10 Questions:
1. What would my key priorities be in the first few months?
2. How would you describe the company culture?
3. What type of people are successful here?
4. What do you enjoy most about working here?
5. What is the company’s vision for the next three years and how could I contribute to it?
6. What are the company’s core values and how do they live up to them? If there was one thing you wanted to improve, what would it be?
7. What kind of tools/processes are in place to encourage collaborative working?
8. When successful employees have left this role, why do they leave and what have they gone on to do?
9. What do you believe is the one thing that’s central to the company’s success, that people outside the business wouldn't know?
And finally… the one question you should always finish on:
10. Now that you’ve met me, what do you see as being my biggest challenge in the role?
What this question allows you do to is gauge how you’ve come across, how much they like you and whether they have any reservations; this allows you to proactively address any concerns during the meeting. Unstated objections, which are often easily overcome during a meeting, can be the difference between whether or not you receive an offer.
Once all your questions have been answered it’s always good to wrap things up with a positive statement about your interest in the role, thanking everyone for their time and asking about the next steps in the process. Again this re-affirms you’re committed and interested.