Do you think that your interview ends after you’ve have answered the last question? If so, then you need to think again. Immediately switching “off” at the end of the interview rather than asking the interviewer pertinent questions is one of the biggest mistakes that candidates make, according to research from CareerBuilder. Employers will always expect candidates to ask questions at the end of interview.
However, simply asking any question isn’t good enough – and some questions may actually hurt your chances at getting a job offer. You’ll need to ask relevant questions that demonstrate your curiosity and interest in the role, as well as your knowledge of the employer’s business to show that you’ve done your research. Asking questions that have answers easily found on the company website is a bad idea, as it indicates you did not adequately research the company or the job role prior to the interview, or that you’re asking questions simply for the sake of asking questions. Additionally, avoid any questions that involve salary, benefits, or other company perks, as those questions are more appropriate only after you get an offer; asking at this point in the process can come off as presumptuous or cocky.
To show you are a candidate of substance, ask questions that both demonstrate your interest in the role or company and could be used as a segue to a conversation about your specific skills and/or experience. Below are examples of great questions to ask at interview and why.
“Do you have any concerns about my ability to perform the role which I can clear up for you now?”
This is a great question as it clearly shows your desire for the role and also demonstrates a proactive and positive attitude. Perhaps more importantly, asking this question will give you an opportunity to confront and extinguish any lingering doubts the interviewer may have about you. Depending on your answer, this question could tip the scales in your favor if you happen to have strong competition.
“What would be my biggest challenge in the first three months of the job?”
Being prepared to face and embrace challenges of a new role demonstrates a courageous attitude that tends to impress managers, so this question may not only raise your interviewer’s eyebrows (in a good way), you but it also enables you to learn about potential challenges to show how you can overcome them, once again strengthening your grip on the role. A bonus is if you land the job, this conversation is already out of the way, allowing you to dive head first into the complexities of the role.
“What is your favorite aspect of working here?”
This is a great “trick” question that somewhat puts the interviewer on the spot and takes some of the heat off of you. It also gives you insight into the company’s culture and your potential boss’ personal values, which can help you ascertain whether both the company and the boss will be the right cultural fit for you. (A quick reminder: people who have good boss relations tend to remain at companies for longer.) Additionally, it’s always entirely possible that the person interviewing you may not, in fact, enjoy working there, which also may give you insight as to whether or not you should accept an offer if one is extended to you.
“What would make someone really successful in this role?”
This is another great question that can strengthen your chances of being extended an offer. What’s great about this question is that it shows that you have a success mindset, which is what any manager is always on the lookout for. It also gives you the opportunity to underline any of the successful qualities that you may possess, helping to further tighten your grip on the role. Remember, the top reason that people fail is due to a lack of attitudinal fit, so it’s vital that you establish whether you have the right mindset to succeed before diving in.
“Is there a question you really want to ask me, but haven’t yet?”
This once again gives you a chance to get any concerns about your candidacy out in the open, or provides an opportunity to have a more informal conversation. If your interviewer noticed something interesting you had previously posted on your personal website or LinkedIn profile before you can in for the interview, for example, it opens the door to a discussion about a similar interest or hobby, indirectly but positively affecting their trust and comfort levels with you.
“How would you describe your management style?”
Poor boss relations are one of the main reasons that staff fail or leave roles prematurely, so it’s vital you understand your potential boss’s management style and whether you would be happy working under them. You could expand this question if you like, by asking “What qualities do you value most in a worker?” For example, if they answer “an ability to work without much supervision,” you’d know this is a more hands off manager who expects you to have the initiative and good judgment to be able to work with a large degree of independence.
While these questions usually fare well during most interviews, it’s important for us to stress that, like most lists on the Internet, these questions are not the only good post-interview questions to ask. As a general guideline, always try and ask pertinent and intriguing questions that that are specific to the industry or position you’re applying for, or questions that arose from genuine curiosity as a result of your research about the company/position.
Additionally, always remember to use your judgment before you ask them; in a sense, make sure to “read the room.” If you get the gut feeling that a specific question wouldn’t be appropriate, perhaps due to your interviewer’s temperament or interview style, definitely don’t ask it.
This questioning strategy at the end of the interview literally has the potential to make or break your future. As long as you stick to relevant, interesting, and thought-provoking questions, you’ll hopefully qualify the job opportunity and close the deal just like a star sales person does, making yourself the prime candidate for the role.