In order to excel in any job interview, you need to know how to answer questions as well as ask them. If you know what to ask too, you can avoid taking a job you end up disliking. That means learning as much as you can about the workplace environment, co-workers, and your boss. Not only should the employer obtain details about you, you should be able to source information about the company where you believe you want to work.
The primary topics covered in this article include the following:
- Why It Pays to Ask Questions
- Turning the Interview into a Conversation
- Questions to Ask at the Beginning of the Interview
- Asking Job-related Questions
- Asking Questions about the Company
- Asking Questions at the End of the Interview
- Sending a Thank-you Note
Why It Pays to Ask Questions
Also, you have to keep this in mind – if you do not ask question, you, yourself, will not appear to be interested in the job. So, an interview should represent the type of discourse where both parties benefit from the exchange. By initiating the conversation with some inquiries of your own, you will make the following kind of impact.
- Asking questions leaves a positive impression with the employer or interviewer, which is especially important if several candidates are being interviewed at the same time.
- Posing questions also shows your interest in the company as well as the opportunity that is being offered. For example, if you ask a question about a new product that has been announced, you are showing that you definitely have a regard for the business or practice.
- Asking questions also, as noted, helps you obtain valuable information – details that will assist you in deciding if you are a good fit for a company.
- You can also ask a question to divert the interviewer’s attention from a question you may have just answered. However, this type of questioning is typically reserved for a future interview and not during a first interview for a job. For example, it is always a good idea to ask a question if you had to explain, for example, why you were laid off from a job. This keeps the interviewer from concentrating on any negative aspects about an applicant’s job history and helps return his or her focus to the interest conveyed by the applicant.
- In addition, asking a question may also turn the interview into more of a dialogue than a type of grilling.
Turning the Interview into a Conversation
Therefore, asking a question is always helpful – that is, as long as you know what to ask. Therefore, it is important not to ask “yes” and “no” type questions, or interrogatives that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” So, you want to ask open-ended type questions. That, way you can open up the dialogue and make the conversation more amiable for both you and the employer. Ask a follow-on question when you receive an answer. That way, you can turn the interview into a type of discussion.
Questions to Ask at the Beginning of the Interview
Once you have met the interviewer or your employer and answered some of his or her questions, you may want to ask some of the following questions:
- How long have you worked for this company?
- How long have you been employed in your present job?
- What do you like the most about working here?
If the interviewer will be your boss, you may want to ask him or her about their management style. The aforementioned questions are helpful to ask then if you are meeting an interviewer for the first time. If you return for a second interview with the same person, it is not necessary or smart to ask him or her the same questions. If you do, you may as well look elsewhere for a job.
Asking Job-related Questions
Once you become acquainted with the interviewer, you can pose some questions that are related to the job itself. Narrow down your selection to questions that will help you determine if you will like the job and be able to do well at the work. For example, you may want to ask the following:
- Where is the job location? (Ask this question if you are not sure about where the main work activity will take place.)
- What can you tell me about the job that is not included in the description?
- What are the prospects for job growth?
- Is there on-the-job (OJT) training?
- Why is the job open? (Typically, if the job is a new position, it is a good sign. If the job is open to replace another employee, ask what happened to the previous employee. Did he or she quit or where they promoted?)
- What is the toughest part of the day in this job?
- Is overtime expected or accepted in this job?
Asking Questions about the Company
If you ask questions about the company, don’t make inquiries that can easily be answered on the employer’s website or through a Google search. However, you can ask the following questions without too much worry.
- Can you tell me anything about your business that is not well-known?
- What is the key to succeeding in a job in this company?
- When and how is any feedback given to an employee?
- If a performance report is written, what is the time between reports and who writes them?
- How many employees have left in the past year?
- If there is turnover, what is the main reason for it?
Asking Questions at the End of the Interview
Questions reserved for the end of an interview might include the following:
- What happens next in the interviewing process?
- Who should I contact for inquiring about my status?
- What is the best method for staying in touch? (E-mail or telephone)
- When will I hear back from you?
- When do you anticipate on making an offer?
- If an offer is made, when would you want me to begin work?
Sending a Thank-you Note
After your interview, make sure you send a thank-you note. By thanking the interviewer, you are showing you have good follow-through as well as professional courtesy. It also underscores your interest in the position. You can also include any information that you overlooked in the interview when you write a thank-you. E-mailing a thank-you also shows your skill in written communications. When you ask questions and show this kind of business decorum, you will gain more than you will lose both personally and professionally.
So, what questions do you think you could add to the above lists of questions? What kind of jobs do you think would encourage you to ask more questions?