“Do you have any questions for us?”
It’s the point during a job interview that makes every candidates’ pulse quicken. You know not to ask about salary or time off before an offer is made, and you know not to ask questions that show you haven’t done basic research (like, “What does your company do?”). But not asking questions at all can make you seem disinterested and unprepared. What do you do?
We asked local hiring managers who shared with us some of the best questions job candidates have asked them over the years. In short, they each recommend using the opportunity to find out more about the hiring company’s culture or how they measure success. You can follow their advice by asking some simple, yet forward-thinking questions. First, the big picture:
An HR manager for an Austin digital marketing firm told us “after we discussed our company’s mission, I was asked, ‘What are you doing–individually and departmentally–to achieve your company’s mission? What can I do in the role you are hiring for to achieve the mission?’” Questions like these show that you’re serious about fitting the culture and helping the company succeed.
Then, move into more team-specific and shorter-term success measurements.
“A candidate once asked me, ‘What three things would make you think you made the right hiring decision six months from now?’ I was actually stunned for a moment and have been ready to answer that question ever since, although no other candidate has asked,” says an Austin-based service director for a software company.
When asked by Built In Austin, Spiceworks Senior Recruiter Celyna Peterson suggested getting granular when it comes to finding out what your job will entail. She recommends asking, “What are some of the more immediate projects/initiatives that need to be tackled upon starting the job?”
Mark Nies, CreditCards.com director of talent acquisition, recommends asking, “What type of training and professional development programs does your company support?” As he explains, the question “shows an eagerness to continue to learn, grow and improve…professionally.”
And if you sense things might not be going well, some hiring managers appreciate candidness.
“The most surprising question I ever got was, ‘Do you have any concerns about me at this point?’ It was from someone with a graduate degree willing to work as an unpaid intern for our nonprofit. I appreciated the question because we were able to then talk frankly about why on Earth he’d want the job when he could find a paid position elsewhere. Our resulting discussion about company culture and what he wanted to learn from specific people convinced me he would take the position seriously. And he did,” confesses an Austin communications specialist.
Of course, not every question is appropriate for every situation. It’s important to pick no more than five questions and tailor them to fit the right time and situation. For more ideas, check out these resources:
- The Cut’s “5 Questions You Should Ask at Your Next Job Interview”
- The Balance’s “Best Questions to Ask in a Job Interview”
- Glassdoor’s “The 45 Questions You Should Ask in Every Job Interview”
- Business Insider’s “28 Brilliant Questions to Ask at the End of Every Job Interview”
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