Let us get back to our interview scenario, yeah?
You are sitting in the room with your interviewer, looking like a perfect model of a young business professional. Your clothes are wrinkle-free, appropriate and flattering, and you have been nailing every question the interviewer has asked. Things are going great. You are doing your best to come off as agreeable and professional, everything a company could want in an employee, and the interviewer seems to be buying all of it. This dream job is right within your barely-sweaty hands.
“I think we’re almost out of time, but before we wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?” The interviewer asks. You freeze. Hours of research have taught you everything you need to know about the company, their values, expectations, employee benefits, everything. You feel as though you have to ask something, so you stammer out one half-developed question like, “can you tell me anything about the expectations of this job?” The interviewer goes over a vague rundown of duties that had been listed in the job description, and you know you should ask another question or two, but your mind is blank, so you shake their hand and leave.
You walk out, and suddenly the most brilliant question comes to you, but the interviewer has already welcomed the next candidate. Your wonderful interview, in your mind at least, has been ruined because of one simple question. All the hard work wasted, and your chances tarnished.
“Do you have any questions for me?” This question seems to be a staple in most interviews. It gives the candidate one last chance to really make an impression on an interviewer and to decide if they are interested in the position. The quality of the question can help or hurt an interview, so here are a few things to keep in mind.
It is okay to ask about the job in question, but it is important to do so without sounding unprepared. Instead of, “what are the expectations for this job?” try “are there any expectations for this job that are not listed in the job description?”
Confident questions stand out. Forbes.com lists “can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?” as a Top-10 interview question. “Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes you will get the job. This question also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely,” it says.
Asking about the future of the company can be a big hit. Some employers will ask “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” and this is the opportunity to kind of turn the tables a little bit. Ask, “where do you see the company in 5 years?” Interviewers are going to know a bit more about the direction the company is headed in than the internet will, and (depending on the size of the company) they may even have a hand in the decision-making process. This question shows that you are interested not just in the company, but also in its future. By inquiring into that, you show that you are already invested in the job and where it is headed. This also gives you the opportunity to ensure that the company is one you want to be associated with.
Take the opportunity to explain why you are perfect for the job. If you ask a question such as “do you have any concerns about my fit for this position,” or “what qualities are you seeking in an ideal candidate,” you will have one last opportunity to really sell yourself to the interviewer. By asking the interviewer about their concerns and ideals, you open up the opportunity for one last bit of dialogue, reassurance that, yes, you are the best candidate for the job.
These quick tips can help you prepare for an interview, and below are a few links to articles containing more good questions that can prepare you in your job search (including the Forbes article mentioned above).