At some point, usually at the conclusion of the interview, you may be asked, "Do you have any questions?" A common answer to this question is, "No, I think you've covered everything very well." This is the wrong answer! You have passed up your opportunity to ask some critical questions that may make a difference as to whether you want to work for this company.
Here are some rules and basic questions to consider asking when asked if you have questions:
Rule #1 - Ask questions. This is a critical time for you to find out insider information about the company or position.
Rule #2 - Formulate your questions based on information you hear during the interview. Paying attention to clues and listening are the keys to asking intelligent questions.
Rule #3 – Bring a list of potential questions to ask, at least four or five, as a back up. Q#1 - You've been discussing your system, could you tell me what has been tried in the past to deal with the problem? (Listen carefully to the answer given as this may be your chance to inform the interviewer of our past experience with the same type of problem.)
Q#1 - There are a lot of companies laying off right now. How has this company been able to maintain the workforce and continue to hire new employees? (You've done your research and know some of the reasons, but are interested in the insider point of view.)
Q#2 - Could you tell me about the way the job has been performed in the past? And, what improvements you'd like to see happen? (This is an opportunity to convince the interviewer that you have what he/she is looking for by giving a specific, similar past experience story.)
Q#3 – How would you describe the culture or spirit in this company? (One of the interviewer's concerns is whether you will fit into the company culture. You need more information to see if this would be a good environment and fit for you.)
Q#4 – What are the challenges I would face in this position over the next three months? (Your first 90 days on the job is a critical time for any new hire. You need to know what will be expected of you as you start your learning curve.)
Q#5 – When I responded to your question regarding my past experience handling stress, you commented that you have your share of that here. Could you tell me more about the stress level here? (Clues are given and problems alluded to during the interview – listen carefully and turn up your intuitive. Ask questions if you need clarification.
Q#6 – May I ask what your background with the company is? (There's a big difference between showing an interest in someone and grilling them. Interviewers don't like being cross-examined. Ask friendly questions and be alert to clues regarding this person's satisfaction with the company.)
Q#7 – How would you describe your management style and interaction with your staff? (You may need to read between the lines here. Make sure this manager's communication and style fit with your ideas and values.)
Q#8 – Ideally, what qualities will it take to get this job done? (This is a chance for you to sell yourself, and tell once more why you are such an excellent fit for the position – the added-value you would bring to the company.)
Q#9 – I am very interested in pursuing this job, or possibly other job openings within your company. What is the next step in the hiring process? (It is best to find out what the hiring plan is so that you will know the sense of urgency and how to follow up.)
The types of questions you ask will be determined by the conversation and types of questions asked of you during the interview. Pay attention to the interviewer's body language to determine how many questions to ask – relaxed and willing to talk, or in a hurry and running late? Lastly, make sure your questions are succinct and to the point, demonstrating your knowledge and interest.