Many candidates don’t realize that an interview is a two way street.
That said, there are rules that the candidate needs to follow when it comes to asking the interviewer questions. Most interviewers will provide an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions. This usually occurs near the end of the interview.
Should you prepare your own questions to ask when given the opportunity? The answer is an emphatic yes.
Why you should prepare your list of questions
Reasons to ask good questions
1. It shows the level of interest
If you do not have questions prepared in advance it will send an message to the interviewer that you either don’t care, are not that bright, are ill prepared, have no independent thinking process, or a combination of these.
2. What questions you ask? Types of questions may determine your match
Based on the questions you ask, the interviewer will make judgments.
Have you taken the time to do your research about the company? Are your questions interesting or are they dull questions pulled off a list of questions on the web about what you should ask? Are you asking about salary? Hint – you shouldn’t be.
3. How many questions?
There is no set number of questions to ask, no magic formula, it depends on what it is you want to know.
That said, you don’t want to have too many questions because there likely won’t be adequate time. Having a list questions is great but prioritize them from most important to least.
On average you can expect to have enough time to ask about five questions.
4. Be relevant to the process
If this is the first interview, then ask questions that are relevant at this point.
If this is your second interview you already have the basics so now you can ask questions that are more probing. If your meeting is an all day one, with different interview teams, you may have a group of questions for each interview team.
5. Homework done
Show the interviewer you have done your homework and your research.
For example, ask a question such as “I read on your company website that employees just did a presentation at the XYZ seminar. Is that an opportunity that will come with the position I am interviewing for?”
6. Researching the company beforehand
It’s a good idea to learn the nature of the business of the company you are interviewing for, and you should also be familiar with any relevant terminology. Government agencies and non profits organizations are not considered companies. Educational institutes an seldom for profit and are usually known as universities, colleges, schools, etc.
Tips for Questions to Consider
1. Be flexible
Some of the questions you have may be answered at some point during the interview, so you can just move down your list to your next question.
You can say something like “I was interested in knowing about …but you’ve already answered that during the interview.
2. Don’t ask the wrong ones
Make sure that you are not asking questions that have answers posted on the website or other literature.
This would show that you were not prepared for your interview and did not do your homework. The employer could see this as a waste of their time.
3. Don’t ask about benefits or salaries.
Let the interviewer be the one to address these subjects. Try to word your questions so they are open ended. This means they can’t answer with a simple yes or no. Some of the best questions are behavioral in nature. For example, you might ask how a specific task is done.
Avoid common questions, instead opting for intuitive questions that can establish a dialogue.