As you’ve no doubt experienced, the final question any hiring manager will ask you is: “Do you have any questions?” And, all too often, candidates give the worst possible response: “No.”
As a managing partner always on the lookout for great talent, I have interviewed hundreds of job candidates over the years and seen this fall flat time and time again.
A hiring manager is the person you will report directly to if you get the job, so the impression you make is essential to closing the deal. Not asking questions is a huge red flag, saying to the hiring manager that you are not particularly interested in the company or the job. That’s certainly not what you want!
One of the most important job interview tips I can offer is to prepare impactful questions ─ questions that reveal meaningful insights about the company and demonstrate your enthusiasm for both the organization and the role.
Here are five of the best interview questions to ask and why:
Question #1: I know that this company prides itself on X and Y. What have you found to be the most important parts of the company’s culture?
Why to ask: This question shows the interviewer that you’ve done your research and also conveys an interest in the company that goes beyond the position at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask this question, or any other question, even if you’ve done so in previous interviews for the position. I love it when candidates do this. It shows that you want to see if the company culture is consistent and want to hear multiple perspectives.
Question #2: What qualities are you looking for in candidates for this position?
Why to ask: The hiring manager will ultimately be your boss, so you absolutely want to know what traits are important to him/her. This question will give you the opportunity to reinforce why you embody the qualities the hiring manager is looking for and confirm for yourself.
Question #3: Is there anything that makes you think I might not be a good fit for this job?
Why to ask: This is a scary question but a very important one. It shows strength of character to be able to take constructive criticism. But, more importantly, is gives you the chance to address the concerns that might otherwise prevent you from getting the job offer.
Question #4: How have employees who have held this position previously grown their career within the organization?
Why to ask: Inquiring about long-term growth prospects show that you’re not only interested in obtaining a job but in building a career.
Question #5: What are the next steps in the hiring process? Is there anything I can do for you as a follow-up?
Why to ask: First and foremost, this question tells the interviewer that you are interested in the job and are eager to move forward. It will also let you know how to proactively proceed within the hiring process, whether that means touching base on the appropriate timetable, providing references, or sending a portfolio.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for the job. It’s a competitive job market, so if you want it, tell them. The one who asks for the job is more likely to be the one who gets it. When you get to the next round of interviews, carry the same energy right on through.
Now you know where to start preparing questions to ask in an interview. But don’t be limited by this list. Do your research and come up with questions that show hiring managers you’re the go-getter they’re looking to hire.
What questions do you ask in interviews? We want to hear from you. Share your interview experiences in the comments below.