You are probably familiar with how the end of an interview typically goes, when it comes to the last 10 or so minutes the interviewer will ask “do you have any questions?” Now, you may feel a little bit relieved because the interview is almost over and you've finished selling yourself and your experience but don't underestimate the importance of the question period!
Asking questions is not only a way for you to find out more information about the position or company but it is yet another way for the interviewer to asses you. If you have many thoughtful questions, it shows you are interested in the job and are motivated and willing to put energy into it. On the other hand, if you have no questions at all it can make you come across as disinterested. Knowing what questions you should ask and shouldn’t ask can be difficult so we put together a list of recommended questions and some that would be best avoided.
QUESTIONS TO AVOID
Some questions are better off avoiding completely, and sometimes depending on where you are in the interview process the timing might not be great for asking certain questions. For example, asking about salary or bonus structure in the first interview is usually too early and can make you come across as self-indulgent or only money focused. The salary discussions are of course important, but should be left for later in the interview process.Overly direct questions can also reflect poorly on your work ethic or character. Questions to avoid include:
WHY DID THE PREVIOUS PERSON LEAVE THIS POSITION?
This question can come across as too direct and can put a negative spin on the conversation. Ideally, you want to convey a positive atmosphere in both your answers and questions.
IS THIS COMPANY DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL?
This is very negative and can make the conversation uncomfortable. It would be more appropriate to research online about the company and look at recent news articles to judge the integrity of the company. Even if there were some illegal activities going on that they know of, they are not likely to tell you in the interview.
WILL YOU BE TRACKING MY HOURS?
Questions like this, while may come from a place of curiosity don’t reflect a good image of you. This one in particular might make the interviewer think you cut corners, aren’t willing to work hard, or are up to no good.
Pro tip: Make sure you prepare questions in advance so you can leave a great impression on the interviewer and be strategic in the delivery of your questions.
GOOD QUESTIONS TO ASK
Rather than asking the questions above, here are some recommendations that will help you not only find out good information about the company but also stand out as a great candidate for the position.
WHAT WOULD BE MY FIRST PROJECT IF I JOINED YOUR TEAM?
This is an “if” question but shows that you are taking this chance seriously. It helps the interviewer picture you in the position and start thinking of you as a member of the team. Additionally, you may be curious to know what you would be working on in the first few weeks or months which can give you a better idea of what to expect and help you make a decision about joining the company.
IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT IS THE COMPANY CULTURE LIKE?
This is a great question because it not only gives you a chance to build a connection with the interviewer as you are asking about their experience, it gives you insights into the culture that you would only be able to find out from a current employee and not by researching online.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS YEAR AND HOW WILL THIS POSITION HELP OVERCOME IT?
Companies look for people who are willing to take on challenges and are result oriented to overcome any possible challenges. This question also gives you a better idea of what challenges you may face in the position and begin thinking of ways to overcome them in order to hit the ground running when you start.
Asking thoughtful questions will increase the chance of getting the job.
Avoid asking about compensation in the early stage of interviews.
Ask questions that help the interviewer picture you in the position such as: "If I joined your team..."
Build a rapport with the interview by asking them about their personal experience at the company