Candidates often wonder whether or not they should ask questions at the end of an interview. The answer to this question is an overwhelmingly resounding YES – you should ALWAYS ask questions at the end of an interview! But wait, don’t go anywhere just yet… There’s a lot more to it than that. We disclose some insider secrets of what hiring managers really want you to ask them.
Imagine right now; you’re coming towards the end of a job interview. You prepared well for everything you’ve been through so far to get this job. You’ve answered everything with a level of expertise that’s sufficient to be worthy of a job offer. Then one of the panel asks you;
“Is there anything you would like to ask us?”
Many interviewees trip themselves up at this point. Whether they freeze with stage fright or think it’s impolite to question an interviewers authority, either way, they clam up and respond with something like;
“No, thank you. I think you’ve explained everything well.”
There is nothing worse for an interviewer than meeting someone who seems like a fantastic candidate but doesn’t have anything to ask them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first, informal telephone chat or one of many face-to-face sessions, candidates should always ask something at the end of every stage of the hiring process. Here’s why.
What it Says to an Interviewer When You Have no Questions to Ask Them at the End of Your Interview
When you don’t have any end of interview questions prepared, it tells the interviewer several things about you:
- You haven’t prepared enough
- If they hire you, you might make mistakes in your job because you’re too shy to ask others for advice
- You’re not interested in the role enough to consider what working life might be like at this company
- You’re arrogant and therefore, don’t need to ask anything because you think you know it all already
- You’re not a good fit for this role because you’re not inquisitive enough
Some of the above may sound incredibly harsh. However, they are among the real reasons hiring managers have given us for rejecting interviewees who didn’t ask them anything.
On the flip side, having a few humdingers prepared to ask a hiring manager demonstrates to them that:
- You’re putting a great deal of thought into your next career move, and you are interested in this job
- You have a willingness to learn
- You’re considering whether the company culture might make this an environment where you can thrive
- You have an inquisitive nature, and you’re not afraid to ask others for advice
- You’re considering whether or not this company might be a good fit for you long term
Good Questions to Ask in a Job Interview
The best questions to ask at the end of an interview are ones that make the hiring manager believe that you are considering how well you might fit in. Here’s a little insight into why certain topics are better to quiz your potential new employer with than others, along with a few examples.
On The Job
Be careful when asking anything about the job description or your day to day responsibilities. You may initially walk into the meeting room with many queries around this subject. However, they may be answered throughout the course of your conversation.
If this is the case, don’t ask the panel to repeat themselves for the sake of asking something. Doing so will give the impression that you haven’t been paying attention, which may be a red flag not to hire you.
If you specifically want to know something about your daily life in this role that hasn’t already been made clear, of course, this is your opportunity to ask. Although if all you want to know focuses on what the job entails, you should definitely prepare a few backups.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges someone coming into this team would face?
- Has this position been newly created or is it to replace someone who is leaving?
- What can you tell me about the strengths and challenges within the team I will be joining?
Long Term Plans
It is not uncommon for hiring managers to ask if you have a five-year plan so why not ask what the company’s future plans are? Not only is it fair for you to ask the same, but if you do, it shows you’re planning for your career.
- Can you please tell me a little more about the company’s long term growth plans?
- What are the most important business goals for the next five years and how do you expect my team to contribute towards them?
- Are you expecting to launch any new products or services in the near future and if so, how will my team contribute to them?
Their Personal Experience
You will no doubt want to assess whether you might achieve your career goals with this employer. However, it is wise to avoid quizzing hiring managers about a specific career trajectory. Mentioning a particular job title that you hope to have in future could rule you out as a contender if it does not align with their plans.
However, a different way of assessing your career advancement potential is to ask the panel about their most significant achievements while working with the company. This shows an interest in your career development potential while keeping your options open.
- What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
- What has been your proudest achievement during your employment here?
- How have you seen the company change in the time you have worked here?
Quiz them About their Company Culture
A great question to ask in an interview is what the panel like and dislike about working for their company. After all, they are employees of the business and will no doubt have strong opinions!
Their answer could give you some great insider information to help you decide whether or not this is the right role for you. After all, hiring is a two-way process. Therefore, it is as much an opportunity for you to find out about them as it is for them to find out about you.
- What are your company’s values and what do you look for in prospective employees that will bring those values to life?
- Do you ever do anything socially as a company or within the teams?
- How would you describe the working environment within the office?
Their Ideal Candidate
Asking an interviewer about their ideal candidate may seem like a brave thing to do. Although, this line of questioning will give you an insight into what they’re looking for. It will also allow you to assess how well your skills and experience align with their requirements. If you are unsuccessful this time around, their answer might help you improve your future chances of a job offer.
- Can you tell me the skills and qualities you think a person must have to do well in this position?
- What do you expect the successful candidate to achieve within the first three months of accepting an offer of employment with you?
- How would you say I compare with other candidates you have interviewed for this position?
Your Last Chance To Impress
Before you leave, asking ‘wrap up’ questions will enable you to assess your chances of getting hired. Furthermore, they present the opportunity for you to fill the panel in on any information they may be lacking about you.
- What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
- Is there any other information I can tell you that might help you make your decision?
Things You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview
While some questions might make a hiring manager’s hair stand on end for the right reasons, others have the same effect for the wrong reasons! While there is no such thing as asking the wrong question, there are certain topics that should be avoided if you want to be offered the job after your meeting.
Asking for Career Advice
For example, you should never ask for any kind of career advice in a job interview situation. While it might seem like a smart move, it could make you come across as amateur and naive. Alternatively, you could inadvertently disclose a lack of awareness surrounding something about your chosen career that you should already know.
T’s and C’s
If and when the company decides to make you a job offer, you will get the chance to talk about salary and holiday pay. You should never mention anything to do with salary, holiday pay, time off or start and finish times unless the hiring manager brings up the subject first.
Closed questions are those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. While it’s not bad etiquette to pose these kinds of queries, you won’t gain much by asking them. Not only that, but they are unlikely to impress the panel either.
Save the Above for a Recruitment Consultant
If you do have certain deal-breakers that determine whether or not you might accept a job offer, working with a reputable recruitment agency can prove invaluable. While it’s unacceptable for you to negotiate T’s and C’s in an interview room, a recruitment consultant can offer advice on the best way to go about getting what you want from your next employer.
Recruitment consultants can also quickly answer any yes or no questions that hiring managers may find irrelevant.
Is There Anything Else?
We hope that after reading this article, your mind is overflowing with awesome things to ask at the end of your next job interview! We wish you the very best of luck, and if there is anything we can help with, please don’t hesitate to ask.
If you did find this article useful, please feel free to share it on social media. That way others can find it and benefit from it too!