The chance to ask questions of your interviewer is usually towards the end of the interview. So what you ask, how engaged you are, the message that your questions convey - these things can either reinforce your strength as a candidate or undermine all the good work you've done up to that point.
That's why before you go to any job interview it's essential that you take a few moments to think of some great questions to put to your interviewer. Here are some ideas to get you started in your preparation:
Questions that demonstrate how excited you would be to join the company and how interested you are in what they do
It's important here to make the distinction between appearing desperate and appearing excited and engaged. The former is bad, the latter good. Ideally you want to also learn things about the company and the position that will help you to sell yourself in subsequent rounds of interviews. Good examples would include:
- "If you were to make your ideal hire for this position, what transformation would you hope to have seen in your department / business six months from now?"
- "If we were to ask a handful of your staff what it is that really excites them and challenges them about their roles here, what do you think they might say?"
- ... plus any question that shows you have done more than a cursory bit of research into what the team does or who the key team members are is likely to be well received and make you stand out from other candidates.
Questions that signal your ambition and desire to succeed
- "What do you think are some of the common traits of new joiners who've really gone on to excel at this company? What have they done that has really set them apart?"
- "What career path do you envisage for a successful hire and what would you advise your hire to do to maximise their chances of success in this company?"
Questions that help you to connect with your interviewer
Let's face it, one aspect of whether an interviewer looks favourably on your performance will be whether or not they warmed to you as an individual. What questions might you ask that would help you to connect with them? Remember people generally love to talk about themselves... Examples of questions you might ask include:
- "If you don't mind me asking, what was it that made you choose to join this company rather than any others you were considering?"
- "I'd be intrigued to know how you hope to see your career progress here in the coming years and what challenges you've had to overcome to progress to where you are today?"
- "If there's any advice you could give to a new joiner based on your years of experience here, what would that be?"
Hopefully these questions will have started you thinking about how you can end your next job interview on a really strong note. The good news is that preparation is the key, if you just invest the time and intelligence to craft some good questions then your interviews are much more likely to end with you having strengthened rather than undermined your candidacy.