The most important interview question:
“Do you have any questions for me?”

September 9th, 2010 | Interviewing | No Comments »

We know you’ve heard it before: an interview is a two-way conversation. Your aim is to find out as much about the company as they’re trying to find out about you. The problem is, once you get to the “Do you have any questions for me?” question, your mind goes blank. Maybe you’re shy or maybe you’re just nervous. Maybe you’ve spent so much time preparing to answer all the other questions, that once you get to this point, you freeze. But this is no time to look like a deer in headlights: This is the most important interview question!

Why it’s important

Of all the common interview questions, the chance that this one is asked is almost certain. Interviewers just expect that candidates will have questions. So why is it important that you do, instead of saying, “No, you’ve answered everything for me!”

• Asking questions shows that you’re actually interested in the position and the company. Failure to ask anything may suggest that you’ve lost interest.

• You need to make sure that this company is truly a good fit for you. Ask questions to delve deeper into the company to determine if this is the place you’d love to work for years to come.

• Did you stumble over previous interview questions and answer badly? Ask questions to clarify earlier answers and redeem yourself.

What not to ask

Further below, you’ll find a list of valuable questions you can use to your benefit. But first, keep these few points in mind:

• Avoid questions regarding salary, benefits, and vacation time. These types of questions make you appear money-motivated rather than genuinely interested in the position and the company.

• Pay close attention throughout the interview to make sure you’re not asking questions that have already been answered. You don’t want your thoughtful questions to backfire.

• It’s easy to read our questions or search for more on the Internet, but make sure the ones you pick are relevant and that you’re actually interested in the answer. Otherwise, you’ll appear unoriginal and dull.

What to ask

The best questions are open-ended, relevant to the interview and company, and show you’ve done your homework about the organization. Check out some of our examples:

• What are the corporate culture, mission, and values, and how do they manifest themselves into everyday work life?
• Considering that the first 90 days are typically the hardest for a new employee, what challenges can I expect within the first 3 months?
• What are the most important aspects of this position?
• Why do you like working here?
• What are the goals and plans for the company for the next 5 years, and how does this department fit into that picture?
• Your company has been around for 32 years; how do you see the future for the company?
• What does a typical day in this position look like?
• How will I be evaluated in this position, and how often?
• How does your organization show it values its employees?
• How much opportunity will I have to see the end results of my efforts?
• What is the next step in the interview process?

Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

Related Links

Interview questions to prepare for

Interviews: How to be un-stump-able!
Before the Interview: 4 Tips to Triumph

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