When preparing for a job interview, many people prepare themselves to answer questions, but overlook the opportunity to ask questions in return. It’s actually more than just a great opportunity – I consider it a requirement. It worries me if you don’t want to know more about the company and position you’re hoping to land in.
This week, while conducting a series of mock interviews at a nearby college, I noticed how few people come to their interview with questions. It is inevitable that at the end of an interview, the employer will ask you if you have any questions. “No, I can’t think of any” is the wrong answer. You worked so hard to get an interview with this person, and now you just ended the conversation prematurely.
For the people who do ask a question at the end of an interview, they tend to always ask the same two questions:
- What’s a typical day-in-the-life?
- How much is the salary?
The first one is a valid question, but if you want to stand out, you’ll need another one as well. The second is understandably something you want the answer to, but it’s not something you ask in the interview. If the interview goes well, then the employer will make you an offer, at which point you’ll know the answer. You want to avoid questions that you can get the answers to without asking. For instance, anything that can be answered by visiting the website is not something you want to ask.
Here are some questions to try:
- What’s the company culture like? (What you’re trying to gauge with this one is: Are employees happy and supportive of one another?)
- What’s one of your favorite projects/campaigns you’ve worked on?
- What problems do you face in your industry? Where do you see need? What issues in your industry do you think need a fresh perspective?
- What problems do you face within your company that need a new perspective/upgrade?
- How did you end up at your company?
- How long do most employees stay at your company? (You want to gauge whether or not there’s a lot of turnover. If so, why?)
- Where do you see the company going in 5-10 years?
- What’s the opportunity for growth within the position I’m applying for?
- How many people would I be working with on a regular basis?
- To what extent do the different departments interact with one another?
- What’s one of the biggest mistakes that new hires make?
If you have other questions that have generated interesting conversations for you during an interview, share them with us in the comments! Or, if you try any of these out, I’d love to hear how they work out for you.
Morgan is the social media strategist at Media Two, an interactive advertising agency in downtown Raleigh. In her role at Media Two, Morgan Siem helps businesses, both B2B and B2C to leverage social media channels to meet their business goals. Morgan has worked with clients such as Microsoft Office for Mac Business Unit, Entertainment Publications, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Kindermusik International and Special Olympics of North Carolina. Morgan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2009 with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in Spanish. Follow her on Twitter.