Any questions for us? The TOP 10 questions you need to ask at the end of an interview.
We’ve all done this. We take an interview — go through the motions of giving solid answers about our experience, leadership styles, teamwork abilities and so on, and when we get to the end of the interview we freeze when they ask “Do you have any final questions for us?” Sometimes we are asking questions as we go in the interview and then become a deer in the headlights at the end when we need to ask those really important questions that are the keys to knowing if this really is the right job for us. Your interview is to sell you — your questions at the end are to make them sell you on the job. So ask away! Here are some of my suggestions for questions that you should ask at the conclusion of an interview.
1. What enabled this position to become open? (What you are really asking: Did the last person in this role leave? Is the company growing? Are you filling an existing role or has this role been created to fulfill a need that was not being met?)
If you are filling an existing position, it would be valuable knowledge to know the length of time the last candidate stayed with the company and see if you can deduce the underlying reasons the person left. This is difficult to ask and usually cannot be asked in those direct means, so it’s important to be smart with your questions and read between the lines. If it turns out the last candidate was short lived, this could raise a potential red flag.
2. What types of training strategies do you have in place for new hires? (What you are really asking: What will day one on the job look like for me?)
It’s always nice to know if you are just going to be tossed in with the wolves or if the company will give you ample time to get adjusted. It also says a lot about the company as to how they treat and handle new hires. Figure out their procedures/processes and most importantly their expectations up front.
3. What are the opportunities for growth and development within this position? (What you are really asking: Do you invest in your employees long-term growth and value retention?)
This is really about continued training opportunities. Companies that value their employees invest extensively in them. Think about what the trajectory of this position is and where and how others have moved from that position. If there is no ability for upward movement within the department is internal movement within the company favored? If this is a company you intend to stay with long-term this answer should be telling.
4. Is there any travel associated with this position? (What you are really asking: How often can I expect to be in the office?)
Travel requirements should be listed up front, but if not — this question is crucial. And what percentage? Is the travel time 10–90, 20–80? Or not at all? If there is a lot of travel associated with your position you are likely to follow-up with questions regarding those expenses. I.e. Company cars, phones, mobility.
5. Are there improvements you are currently looking to make within the position? How is the position supported in the company? (What you are really asking: Tell me more details about this role that I do not already know. Again this ties into how this position was created and what the expectations for it will be.)
Many jobs/role are in a constant state of flux. It’s not ideal to step into a job only to find out the responsibilities may be changing immediately after accepting an offer. Again, the company should be up front, but it is on you to best prepare for the role and see if it aligns with your career goals.
6. How large is the team I will be working within? Are their opportunities for collaboration with other departments? (What you are really asking: Do I get to work with other teams? What are the channels I go through to get my job done?)
The questions you ask may also answer some of the interviewer’s outstanding questions. Someone that is excited to jump in and make an impact on not only their group, but the rest of the company can be a huge plus.
7. What tools do you use to measure employee success? (What you are really asking: How will I know if I’m doing well/on track for promotion?)
This could be anything from time tracking software tools to very involved performance evaluations. Some jobs are big on paperwork/process–others are not. Determining how (and how often) projects and successes are measured may give you insight into how that would work with your personal style as well as potential tracks for promotion.
8. How many other candidates have applied for this position? (What you are really asking: What are my odds of getting this position?)
You may need to gauge if this is something you care to or want to ask. I always like knowing what I’m up against to get a better idea of how long the process my take and who is involved in the decision making process.
9. When is the projected start date of this position? (What you are really asking: How much time do I have between this job and my current one?)
9 times out of 10 the answer will be yesterday. But it is important to determine what type of timeline you’ll be working with as you transition from your current job into the next. Likely you will be giving your current employer notice so you will need to plan accordingly. You may also need/want to take a week or two off between starting your new position. However, any start date negotiations should be done after they make you an offer.
10. What is your favorite part about working for this company? Do you think I would be a good fit for this position? (What you are really asking: Do you like your job? Do you like me?)
Be excited about the potential of this position and don’t be afraid to put your interviewer on the spot. They work there too. As your first insight into what the company atmosphere is like find out how they fare in their role too. If they seem happy that’s a great sign. Sometimes I even take it a step further and ask how long they have worked for the company and what their personal background is. People love talking about themselves. Remember that fact. And if you come across as genuine and eager to learn more you may find the interviewer telling you how likely you are to be selected for the role.
Don’t be afraid to share and express you career goals. Just don’t vastly deviate from what the job is that you are apply for. However, the more upfront you are about what you are looking for, the quicker you will be able to determine if the job is the right fit for you. As you are thinking about your long-term goals, see if you can gauge from the interviewer if there are opportunities for you to explore these future career endeavors. At the end of the day, do not be afraid to ask the questions that benefit of your long-term happiness and job satisfaction.
And last but not least — say Thank-You. Our most precious resource is time, so thank the interviewer for their time, expressing how much you look forward to speaking with them again. It’s simple, but very meaningful. Your graciousness and humble attitude could mean more than any verbal answers you can give.
It’s also always a good idea to write a handwritten note or Thank-you card and drop it in the mail the next day.
Are there any you would add to this list?