Nilza works as a remote career development and curriculum professional. She's a certified CDF with NCDA and has an M.Ed in Student Affairs.
When I first started job searching near the completion of my undergraduate career, I was horrible at answering one question nearly every interviewer is guaranteed to ask:
“Do you have any questions for us?”
I would fumble to create questions on the spot, defaulting to surface-level or hiring process, and timeline questions. Though asking something like, "what are the next steps in the interview process?", was informative from an interviewing perspective, such a question did little to help me learn more about the employer or the position. Sometimes, I replied with the worst possible response, simply saying “no, not at this time”, and missing the opportunity to engage my interviewer.
A novice interviewee may not realize this question is GOLD. Replying “no” or asking ill-prepared questions is a missed opportunity to connect with the interviewer. Going into an interview prepared with questions to ask an interviewer is a chance to display what a standout candidate you are. The questions you ask will also help you get to know more about the position or company you are considering for employment.
Keep the following tips in mind when you need to create questions for your next interview, and NEVER leave an interview without asking at least one question.
Tips for asking your interviewer questions:
- Do not be afraid to write inquiries down on paper and pull them out during the interview. Doing so displays you have truly reflected on the position you are applying for and came prepared to learn more about it.
- Ask the interviewer(s) about their personal experience with the company or interactions with the position you are interviewing for. This is your chance to get an inside perspective of what it is like to work for the company. Do not be afraid to ask about the challenges and benefits of the position, or about working for the company.
- Look into the company and position you are applying for to create pointed questions that reflect the research you have done. Having been an interviewer on many occasions, I can assure you there is a space on almost every interview sheet where the interviewer can jot down the questions you asked. When you ask questions that reflect you have researched the company, you have displayed an effort to engage in the interview process. For example, find out some of the values of the company. If one of them is sustainability, you could ask: “I saw your company values sustainability. That’s a personal value I share too. Can you tell me some of the ways the company is working to achieve this value?” OR, “What are some ways I’ll be able to assist in preserving this value?”
- Do not be afraid to be curious and ask about the culture of the workplace or what a daily schedule of the position you are applying for looks like. This is one of your last opportunities to ensure you understand the position and what you would be doing.
As you prepare questions, remember it is unnecessary to ask more than three to four questions within an interview session, as you do not want to bombard the interviewer. This is the last question you are asked so it is your last chance to make an impression. If you ask relevant and insightful questions you will leave having given the interview your best effort.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 Nilza Marie Santana-Castillo
FlourishAnyway from USA on May 21, 2018:
An excellent perspective. As someone who has interviewed many people in an HR capacity, I can echo that the lack of questions demonstrates zero preparation and curiosity about the company and position.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on September 11, 2017:
I'm long past my interview days, but I found your article extremely insightful and useful for anyone who is going on job interviews.
I especially like how you made it clear to always ask at least one question, but you also mentioned something that I never though about: That is that the last question you ask will leave a lasting impression. Planning a last question ahead of time is an important consideration that can make one stand out among other candidates for a job.
kellyks on September 04, 2017:
Being an HR professional I also ask such questions to most of the candidates who appear for interviews. And this is a very popular question but most of the candidates don’t really know as to what they should ask. You can definitely ask about the future plans of the company and about your role in the company. The most important thing you can ask about their feedback on your interview. I believe if you are not coming up with a smart question, it is better not to ask anything.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 03, 2017:
Great article. I enjoyed reading it. I've been an interviewer and I've found the candidate that demonstrated the skills you wrote about tended to win the job. Also, one thing I discovered when conducting interviews in groups was that the interviewee needed to know who to ask the question to during the interview. Otherwise, it could be embarrassing. Keep up the superb work. Thank you.