At some point during the job interview the interviewer may ask if you have any questions. This can be a very thorny area because the wrong question can “kill” any chance you had in getting the job because it will demonstrate your lack of preparation and demonstrate that you were not listening during the interview. Also, by not asking a question some feel it demonstrates you lack of experience in the area and by not ask a question than some interviewers may take it as a lack of interest in the role.
So, what do you do? If you are not going to ask a question then saying, “Our discussion today has answered my questions,” is usually sufficient. From my experience, not asking questions helps to protect you because you cannot make your position worse and if done right, it may make you appear confident.
Unless the interviewer bring up the question, the general rule is do not question you will ask once the offer is made. These questions include, though not limited to, pay, time off, working a different schedule, and asking for exceptions to policies (e.g. working at home more than allowed by the company’s flexible working policy). Moreover avoid asking any questions that may be sensitive or may be misunderstood.
So, what should you ask?
Before attending the interview review the job description and look for potential questions. Likewise, learn all you can about the business and the people who will be interviewing you. The more you prepare the eaiser it will be to ask questions.
Ask anything that relates to job’s responsibilities that has not already been covered in the interview. This can include questions regarding:
- Number of people you will manage
- Personality of the team members
- Culture of the department
- Issues / challenges facing the team
- % of time expected to line manage
- Expectations for you over the next three months
- What are you expected to deliver? When?
- Why are they hiring for the role?
- Asking for clarification to something mentioned earlier in the interview.
Other questions not related specifically to the job responsibilities that you can ask includes:
- Any industry or sector trends that you feel will have a positive or negative impact on the job and how the business views them impacting your role? (When interviewing for IT project management / change mangement roles I would ask what ITSM (IT Service Management) software they used to manage change requests.)
- How sensitive is the job, business, and sector to economic trends? Meaning does each follow the tread, react in the opposite way, or is resistant to economic trends.
- What type of business systems will you use?
- What type of training and support will you be given?
- What will be the turn-around on the interview? Meaning how long will you have to wait before you hear anything. Some will say be aloof and state you have other interviews. This is risky. Reason being, if the business is lukewarm about your interview then it may harm your chances. Also, some businesses may decide not to offer you the role because, they may view you as not being interested in the company and just looking for another job.
- Positively ask questions about the company or managers. If asked, right this question can show you have a genuine interest in the company but if asked in an incorrect way, it may make you appear you will harm the business.
- Why your interviewers enjoy working for the company? What attracted them to the business?
- What will you expect from me in the first 90 days?
- How will my performance be measured?
Finally, you can ask for clarification on something mentioned or expands on an area discussed during the interview.
If you choose to ask questions, then it is important to limit your questions to no more than 3.
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