Say What? Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

So everyone always says, make sure your interview is a conversation, make sure it flows, make sure you ask questions. But when your mind is going, did I get the job? did I get the job? did I get the job? at a mile a minute, it makes any intelligent questions you might have had fly out the window. So you’re just left sitting there in that highback chair, smiling like an idiot, and shaking your head silently, “no, I don’t have any questions for you.”

This is exactly why you should make a list of questions to ask beforehand. Your questions should show you researched the company and relate to the interviewer.

Asking the right questions is a valuable asset at any company. Here’re a few sure to impress:

Why did you choose to work here? What do you like most about your job?

Start off by letting your interviewer talk for a bit. It gives them a break from scrutinizing you and lets them talk about themselves. People love giving their life story, and your interest will invite them to open up. Don’t be afraid to interrupt at small pauses with follow-up questions or comments, connecting their experiences to yours.

Can you describe the corporate culture?

This question shows that you care about more than salary and the work you do. No, you care about the same thing the interviewer does– how you will fit in at the company. Sharing the same concern as the interviewer puts you on equal footing while giving you an edge in company research for future applications or experiences.

How have you recognized your employees in the past?

It may seem like a stupid question at first. This diamond in the rough is a more subtle way of asking about career advancement. The interviewer is basically giving you the key to doing well at the company if you get the job, plus you get brownie points for showing an interest in performing well at the company. It’s a great way to show ambition without coming off as arrogant.

What are the company’s current goals?

This question is a great opportunity if you play it right. As the interviewer explains what they’re working on, make sure to show sincere interest, interjecting politely with questions and suggestions of your own. Here you’re not only showing interest in the company’s future, but in how you can help the company accomplish them.

What are the next steps?

Always ask what you can do next. Thank you notes are a given, but any other sort of follow-up you could make with your interviewer will prove invaluable as they make their final choice. Their response could also give you a timeline of when you can expect to hear feedback or a decision.

The Biggest Don’ts

There are certainly some questions that you should stay far, far, far away from. Anything related to salary, benefits, office space, vacation days, and future promotions will come up when you’re negotiating a job offer, not before you’re hired. Mentioning them makes your priorities seem out of line. Also avoid questions that start with “why,” because they tend to put the interviewer on the defensive, and the last thing you want to do is attack the company. Begin with “what’s your opinion on…” instead.

With these awesome questions, it’s easy to keep the conversation going and make the right impression.

photo credit: clagnut via photopin cc

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