“What questions do you have for me?” It’s one of the most important interview questions that your interviewer will ask. But why is this so important? Replying with a short, “I don’t have any,” while simple, says a lot without saying much.
When you say nothing, you allow your interviewer to ask questions of their own:
- Were they engaged in the interview?
- How interested are you in the company/position?
- Did you prepare or think ahead for the interview?
While it’s important to ask questions during your interview, what you say says a lot too. If you’re asking questions to ask questions, it doesn’t always show you’re engaged, and you can leave your interviewer asking the same questions above.
So, what are some questions that you should stop asking immediately and what should you ask instead?
1. What do you like about working for XYZ Company?
While this isn’t the worst question to ask, you and your interviewer are different people. What is important to you about your next job might not be the same to them. They also hold a different role in the company than you will, so your experience working there may be different.
Can you tell me about the company/department culture?
Unlike the original question, framing in this way allows for less personal bias in the response. The interviewer will still tell you the things they like about the company, but they will also give you additional information about the company and team dynamics.
2. What growth opportunities are there within the company?
Yes, companies want to hire people who are ambitious and want to grow with their company but asking in this way signals to interviewers that you may not be happy with the position you're applying to.
If someone is successful in this position, what additional tasks or responsibilities might they be given?
Asking in this way shows you’re eager to take on more responsibility, but you’re not so eager to do this that you’re putting the cart before the horse.
3. Negotiating pay, benefits, time off, etc.
The interview is not the time to talk numbers. Wanting to get down to brass tasks at this stage can come across as thinking you have the offer in the bag when you don’t. Being confident in your interview is a good thing, but too much confidence can come across as arrogant, self-centered, and not a team player.
Save these until after you’ve been extended a job offer.
Additional Questions to Ask
So what questions should you ask during or after your interview that will add value or help you determine if you would want to accept the job if you get the offer?
Whether it’s the length or how it will be facilitated, it’s always a good idea to ask about training. Will the company’s training program work for you? Will you leave it feeling capable, self-sufficient, and supported in your new role?
- What qualities do you feel someone successful in this role possesses?
Believe it or not, you don’t have to check every box off for a company to hire you; being a match culturally is also a big component of why people succeed in certain roles.Not every job you interview for is going to be the job for you. Asking this question is a good way to naturally summarize the skills of the job (to make sure it’s a match for you) and reiterate your strengths to your interviewer (to show you’re a good match for them).
- What challenges could someone face in this position?
Asking this question gives you an idea of what the day-to-day dynamics of the role will be. It will also give you some insight into how management supports people on the team.
- What are the next steps? How soon are you looking to make a hiring decision?
This question is about setting expectations, and you’ll always want to ask it. One of the biggest frustrations candidates have is during the (lack of) follow-up after an interview is over. So, ask the question; it shows eagerness and interest in the position/company, and it also lets you know how fast (or slow) the company is at making decisions in general.
Getting to the Bottom of Things
The list of questions you can ask in your interview is endless, but certain questions are better than others. Remember, you are interviewing the company, too, and you need certain information in order to make the best decision for you.
Put some thought into what you’re seeking to learn, and write down your questions when preparing for your interview. Knowing what you need to make a decision (and what questions to ask to ask to get that information) will show interviewers you’re thoughtful, you take your career seriously, and increase your odds of getting a job offer.