Any Other Questions… Huh?

I just concluded an interview last week and came to the end and was surprised there were no other questions.

I intentionally left information out to see what research the candidate had conducted on myself/company/industry.

After a couple of silent minutes I thought I would pass on some good questions I have heard at the end of interviews.

In the stress of preparing for an interview, it can be hard to remember to compile a list of questions to ask at the end. It’s important to keep in mind that even though this part of the interview is technically just for your benefit, the peeps on the other side of the desk are still assessing you and trying to gauge whether or not you’re ready for the job. So good Questions are no small thing.

Don’t sweat, just pick a few of these super solid zingers, and you’ll have your future bosses pretty impressed* — not to mention all the intel you’ll be scoring. (And remember, interviews are open book, i.e. notes are allowed. So don’t be afraid to bring any pre-written questions into the room with you.)

  1. How did the position open?

You ask this because you want the real scoop. Is the position you are applying for new, or did someone leave? If it’s new, that’s good, it means the company is growing and taking on more people. If an employee left, you want to know why. Did they get a promotion, move within the company, get fired or quit? The answer to this question could really get you the dish you need to decide if this is the job for you.

2. How long is training?

This could almost be considered a trick question. Whether actual training is five days or two weeks, that shouldn’t be the end of your answer. Your training needs to be evergreen, a.k.a. ongoing. A good company should provide their employees with continual training and support, and this should definitely be expressed to you in the interview.

3. What was your favorite activity the company did in the last month?

Even though work is, well, work, it doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to prioritize finding a company that makes your happiness on the job their priority. A question like this helps you learn some specifics about company culture and also allows you to make sure everyone is included in that culture. If your interviewer has trouble coming up with one fun thing, that might be trouble.

4. What are five things you will learn in the first year?

Don’t forget that your interviewer was once in your position; they had to sit in your chair and start somewhere in this company. Use their experience to get a better idea of how you might grow in the job and to find out some aspects about it that you might not expect.

5. What is the most stressful time of year/week? Why?

It’s important to be able to imagine what your life would look like if you took this job. That means knowing what times of year are going to be hardest for you, when you will be working the longest hours, when you wouldn’t be able to take vacation and so on. This can make or break a job, and it’s a question many interviewees neglect to ask.

6. How will you be managed and held accountable?

Your direct manager will have a huge impact on your day-to-day experience, so this question is important. Phrasing it the way we do here (read: slightly vaguely) will allow for your interviewer to give any number of answers, and the way they answer this question will be telling.

7. How is the above communicated, and how is performance measured?

Communication is essential, and it should start in the interview room. Open answers to these two questions are a good sign. Not to mention the fact that it is very important to understand how the work you do at a company will be evaluated, as that will be the determining factor in decisions about your career — like if you get a promotion (…or get fired.)

8. Is there equity and what does that actually mean?

How many shares outstanding? What are the shares worth today? What is the long term strategy?

This might seem like a presumptuous question, or maybe it straight up reads like a foreign language — don’t worry, it seemed that way to us once, too. Simply put, equity is typically offered in one of three ways: 1. stock options, 2. a stock purchase plan, and 3. an outright percentage of the company. You should be interested in what sort of equity you are being offered and — naturally — what that is worth to you in dollars. Asking this is really not presumptuous, but just the opposite; it shows that you have a vested interest in this job as a potential long-term home, as equity packages like that are often tied to longevity with the company. A good equity interest is also a great potential way for you to make some serious bank down the road.

*These eight questions are a great starting point, but TBH the best questions are the ones that come from something you genuinely want to know. Interviewers can tell when a candidate is earnest and actually has an interest in the company, so keep that in mind.