We’ve all been there: the dreaded job interview. No matter how prepared or confident you are, it’s hard not to feel at least a little nervous. When the time comes, you sit there, plaster a smile on your face, and try to answer the questions as best you can. Then the interviewer says “I think that’s all the questions I have for you, do you have any questions for me?” – at that moment, you think it’s over and feel a sigh of relief.
Well, not quite yet.
At that point, only half the interview is done. It’s now time for you to become the interviewer. We all heard this before and it’s true – the worst thing you can do at a job interview is not ask any questions. One, it shows that you’re not interested. You didn’t take the time to do any research about the job, the company, or the industry. Second, you should have questions- an interview is just as much about you finding the right job as it is about the company finding the right person.
Here are a few simple questions that I always ask at a job interview:
- What are the day to day responsibilities of this position? The interviewer may only discuss the job at a top level. It’s important for you to understand what a typical day on the job look like.
- I’d love to learn more about you- could you talk a little bit about your career and what brought you to this company? I find that interviewers love to talk about themselves so give them the opportunity. This question is also a great way to learn more about your potential boss and their career path – because one day, it might be you!
- Where do you see the company in 5 years? 10 years? It’s important (for me at least) to see a long term future with the company. It’s important to ask about their goals and how they want to grow. It’ll give you a better understanding of the role you will play.
- How would you describe the company culture? This is one question I’ve failed to ask in the past and it’s come back to haunt me. The culture and politics of the company will play a big part at any level of the company.
- I recently read that the company did XYZ, I’d love to hear more about it. Ok, so this isn’t the exact question that you should ask but my point is that you should ask something specific about the company you’re interviewing for. Do your research, find any recent news articles, etc. It can be anything big or small, just something to show you took your time to look into this company. And of course, keep it positive. You don’t want to ask the interviewer why sales were down X% last year…
Be sure to prepare a long list of questions because chances are, you will already cover some during the interview. And even if you don’t have anything you want to ask, make something up! A dumb question is better than no question (well, most of the time…).
What is a question you think should be asked at every interview?