“Do you have any questions for me?” – is a commonly asked question as an interviewer comes to the end of her/his questions of you. How you respond is very important – and can leave a lasting impression – good or not so good – with the interviewer.
When asked this question, you have a great opportunity to gain additional information and insight into the position for which you are interviewing. And it is a time you can further reinforce with the interviewer why you are an ideal candidate for the position. But it is NOT the time to respond: “No, I do not have any questions.” Or “No, you already answered all my questions.” A “No” response is a total turn-off for the interviewer. If you do not have meaningful questions to ask, it can show the interviewer that you lack interest in the position and the company. So, come to the interview prepared with 6 or 8 questions to ask, knowing that you’ll probably have time to ask only 4 or 5 questions. You may ask, then why come with 6 or 8 questions? In case one or more of your questions are answered in the course of the interviewer asking you questions, you’ll still have a few questions to ask her/him.
And “YES” it is OK to have your questions on a piece of paper that you refer to as you ask them.
What are some examples of questions to ask?
1.How are the values and corporate culture of the company lived on a day-to-day basis here?
2. If by your research you learned that the interviewer joined the company one year ago – What expectations did you have when you joined the company a year ago when you started here? Have they been met?
3. If you have learned that the interviewer has been with the company for a number of years (say 8 or more) – What is it about working here that has kept you here for 8 years?
4. If it is the hiring manager who is interviewing you – What is your management style? How do people who report to you know what your expectations are of them?
5. Ask why the position is open. If their response is:
– “It is a newly created position.” A good follow-up question is: Why was it created?
– “The person who was in the role was promoted.” That tells you something positive about the organization.
– “The person in the role was fired/resigned.” You might want to politely ask about the circumstances that led to the departure. If you learn that previous individuals in the role also left after about one year, you may want to rethink your level of interest in the position.
Even if there has been some discussion about the 30/60/90 day expectations of a new person in the role, you might want to ask – as your final question – “Let’s assume you hire me, and you and I are meeting one year from today for my first annual performance review. As my boss, you begin the discussion by saying: ‘Mike, you have done a great job this first year – in fact you have hit a home run . . . no you have hit a grand slam home run.’ What would I have done for you to feel that way?”
Why this question? For a few reasons: 1) it puts things in a very positive light – you were the candidate of choice and you have now been with the company for a year. 2) It shows you welcome feedback. 3) It shows you are focused on results.
If you ask this question, be prepared that the interviewer may not have a fully articulated, clear answer, because she/he may not have given any thought to that question in preparing for the interview. But that does not mean that she/he won’t be impressed with your question.
At the end of your questions, express your thanks and gratitude for being invited in to meet with the hiring manager. And, if at this point you truly feel this way, you might add: “Our discussion and your answers to my questions have been very helpful and, as a result, my interest in the position and the company has increased since I walked into your office an hour ago.” Express your thanks again and perhaps conclude by asking: “When can I expect to hear back from you and what will the next steps in the process be?” And don’t forget to send the Thank You note!