Congratulations! You have been chosen to come in to interview with the company of your interest. During or at the end of the interview, the hiring manager or HR representative may ask, “Do you have any questions?” If you want to stand out and make a positive impression, your answer should be “Yes!”
Come prepared with questions that you do not see addressed on their website or job posting. The purpose of the interview is not only for the company to assess you as a candidate--but also for you to decide and get a good perspective if the position is mutually beneficial and fits your career goals.
Here are great questions to ask:
- What does your company aim to do?
Your interviewer should be able to articulate clearly their company’s mission and vision for the future. Mission and vision statements are usually found on the company’s website. If you are unclear or would like to know more, ask a follow-up question or two.
If you believe in the product or service that the company provides and find the position to be meaningful, you will more likely be engaged and feel fulfilled. Taking on a position that isn’t compatible with your own personal goals may end up making you feel like it’s a “job” instead of a career. Why settle and feel that way when you can be your best self and work for an awesome company? After your interview, ask yourself “Does the company mission and vision align with my own values and purpose?” If yes, then the position may be a good fit for you.
- Where do you see the company in the next few years?
Find out where the company is headed. Is the position open because of turnover, or because of growth? I bet you’d be more interested if it’s the latter. Growth is a good predictor of many possibilities within the company. Unless your goal is to be a change agent, you may want to invest your time and energy in a company that provides opportunity for both you and the company to grow together.
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- How would you describe the company’s culture?
What team-building and philanthropic activities does the company participate in? How is the company involved in the local community? Is the company driven by data, performance, or results? Find out what the typical work day is like. Does the position require a lot of teamwork, or would you be working more independently? If you find that the company sounds like a good cultural fit for you, chances are you will be more productive and enjoy coming to work every day--which benefits both you and your new employer!
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- What do you enjoy about working for this company?
Remember, the interviewer could be your future colleague - or supervisor! His or her answer can provide you with some perspective of the relationships and teams within the company. You may learn more about some of the activities or opportunities not mentioned already. Additionally, it is a great idea to turn the focus on the interviewer to show your interest in getting to know him or her.
- What are the next steps after this interview?
Companies conduct their recruiting and hiring process in different ways. It’s good to find out if you should expect to hear from them regarding a second interview by email, phone, or text. Let them know you want to be prepared and do not want to miss their update about the position.
Last but not least, impress the interviewer by asking to elaborate on information from the company website. For example, you can ask “I saw on your website that you ______. Can you please tell me more about that?” This gives you a competitive edge against other applicants because it shows that you have been doing your research on the company and are serious about your job hunt. Interviewers are turned off when applicants come in with no knowledge or curiosity, which your interviewer may see as a lack of initiative on your part. By doing your research and asking questions, they can see that you are being selective of the positions you are applying for.
At the end of your interview, be sure to thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Back it up with a solid eye contact, and a firm handshake. Set yourself apart from the competition with great questions and good manners.