The Secret of Asking Questions During Interviews

November 22nd, 2016

You’re in an interview and it’s going great! You told them about yourself, discussed strengths and weaknesses with ease and tact, and you even aced the behavioral-based questions with applicable examples from your past employment. Phew! You’re just about to give yourself a well deserved pat on the back when out comes a question you weren’t prepared for. “What questions do you have for me?”

We’ve all had that panic moment. Actually, I had an interview once where I had finished speaking with the executive director and thought (with fairly good reason) that I was done. And then, surprise! I was suddenly having an impromptu meeting with a director of a completely different department and had absolutely no questions ready for this individual. Well, the good news was that I still got the job! So it’s not necessarily true that not having questions is an automatic disqualification. But with that said, it’s still certainly ideal to have something ready to go!

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When it comes to questions, it’s always better to have too many—-mostly because some of your questions will be answered during the course of the interview conversation. Also, don’t stress yourself out by trying to remember the questions. It’s more than acceptable for you to have a notebook and pen to not only jot down items of importance but also so you have your questions written down and won’t forget them in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, writing notes as the interviewer answers your questions shows that you do actually care about the responses and the information you’re receiving.

Great things to ask during an interview
What do you love most about the company you work for?
What does a typical day in this position look like?
What are you looking for in a candidate?

Things to avoid during the initial interview(s)
Basic questions about the company
Doing so implies that you haven’t done any research on the company, which makes interviewers wonder why you have interest in a company that you don’t know much about. Instead, do some research on the company and then ask questions based on the information you found.

Salary, benefits, paid time off, etc.
If the interviewer brings it up, then certainly discuss it. But if they don’t mention it, it’s best saved for a later part in the process and let this interview be all about the opportunity itself.

How long before you can bid on other jobs?
It’s great to be excited about the chance to grow with an organization! In an interview, it’s a good idea to ask about the advancement opportunities. When wording your question, just avoid asking for specifics about how long you have to stay in the current role. It can make an interviewer feel like you don’t really have interest in the job and want out as quickly as possible.

In short, the best questions are those that show you have interest in the company and that you’re very interested in learning more. And it’s ideal if those questions show that you have done your homework on the company and have really given a lot of thought to this position and the opportunities. The ideas given here certainly are just the beginning. Good luck and happy interviewing!

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter

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