Why You Must Ask Questions After an Interview

asking interview questions

There is one major mistake many candidates make in an interview.

Want a hint?

It involves the questions you ask your interviewer.

Not only is this mistake a huge missed opportunity for you, but it can instantly kill the good impression you want to leave.

Okay, here it is:

At the end of every interview, the hiring manager will say: “Do you have any questions for me?”

You would be surprised at the number of people who say “No.”

You should never say “No!”

Why is “no” the wrong answer?

Think of this question as a test.

It may not seem like much. But it can make or break your chances.

After all your hard work, don’t blow it. For most candidates, it’s the one interview question they haven’t prepared to answer.

Here’s the deal:

“Do you have any questions?” is your interviewer’s way of gauging your interest in the job and the company in general.

Asking good interview questions shows you’re engaged. It lets them know you’ve done some research.

There is just no way you could know everything there is to know about a company and new job opportunity after only one interview.

So, they expect questions. Don’t disappoint them.

How do I know if it’s a good interview question to ask?

This is your time to shine. So make sure you ask good questions.

What’s a good interview question?

A good interview question does two things:


  1. It lets the interviewer know you put some thought into your questions.
  2. It increases your knowledge allowing you to assess further if this position and company are the right fit for you.

A hiring manager wants to know you tried. The questions you ask should not be so basic any customer would know the answer after a quick glance at their website.

Be a little strategic as you think about their business. Do some research and ask questions about how they run their business.

Even more important?

Never ask a question that has already been answered during the interview. Pay attention! Good questions demonstrate you’re taking the process seriously.

Don’t forget an interview is not only about the hiring manager getting to know you. It’s just as important for you to get to know the company. You need to know if the role and their culture are a fit. This is learned through questions.

You spend so much time at work, you need to make sure it’s a place you want to be. That it aligns with your goals.

Sample good interview questions

Remember:

Good questions demonstrate your interest and advance your knowledge. They let the interviewer know you have done your research. Finally, they provide you with good information to determine if this job is a good fit.

Here are some categories of interview questions to ask:

1. Ask About the Role

There is a lot of general information already available to you. The job description is posted publicly and provides a lot of the basics. You can dig into this for more details when you’re asking questions.

The recruiter will likely provide additional highlights about the job on the first call. This information typically covers what the hiring manager has told them is most important.

Spend some time reflecting on it, and you’ll identify areas where you can learn more.

Here are a few sample questions from this category. You’ll see you can include this line of questioning regardless of who you’re interviewing with.

Interview questions to ask the hiring manager:

  • What are your expectations for this person in the first 6-months?
  • At the end of year one, what does success look like for the person you hire into this role?

Interview questions to ask the recruiter:

  • What are the primary goals or challenges I would be tasked with right away?
  • Based on the team dynamic, what skills or traits do you believe a candidate will need to have to be the right fit and be successful?

Interview questions to ask team members/peers:

  • In what ways would our roles collaborate?
  • What is the biggest challenge you believe this role will initially face?
  • Tell me a little bit about the boss’s leadership style.

Interview questions to ask a client:

  • How does this position (or team) support/collaborate with you?
  • Are there gaps or concerns from the past you feel need to be addressed?

2. Ask About the Company

Don’t just assume you know the company. Read about its history. Check out its financials. Are there any press releases related to things leadership changes, new products, litigation, or community service?

It’s important to understand the culture of the company:

  • How do they treat their customers and employees?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement down the road?
  • What is it like working there every day?
  • Is the leadership team appreciative and inclusive?
  • Is there work-life balance?

There will be both positives and negatives as you dig into everything. This is true of any company. Your job is to determine if the positives outweigh the negatives.

  • Is this a place you could see yourself working?
  • What more can you learn from the people who work there?
  • Are there questions you can ask about the research you did?

Here are a few sample questions from this category. With a slight change to the wording, you can ask similar questions of people in various roles.

Interview questions to ask the hiring manager:

  • What are some of the long-term goals of the department?
  • Can you share some of the challenges the department faces and how you’re working towards a solution?

Interview questions to ask the recruiter:

  • Can you give me your perspective on the company culture?
  • As a recruiter, you’re constantly selling the positives of the company. What do you find is the biggest concern new employees have when considering a role with the company?

Interview questions to ask team members/peers:

  • Why did you join the company when you did?
  • Tell me a little bit about the team culture/team dynamic.

Interview questions to ask a client:

  • Tell me a little bit about your career since joining the company.
  • How has the new CEO change (assuming they had one) impacted your department?

3. Ask About the Process

Your final question for the hiring manager and/or recruiter should be to understand what comes next.

Knowing the timing of their decision and if there are additional steps helps set your expectations. It also guides your follow up process. You don’t want to be the person that stalks the recruiter after the fact or just waits with no end in sight.

The bonus for a lot of our sample questions is they give you another opportunity to sell yourself.

When the hiring manager tells you about a challenge in the department and you’ve had some experience that can help them solve it:

Remind him at this point! Tell a quick story you haven’t shared yet that shows your experience and how it would benefit the company.

What interview questions should you not ask?

Just as important as asking good questions:

Avoiding questions you shouldn’t ask.

Here are some examples:

  • Never ask about the salary
    This is a question the recruiter or hiring manager should lead with. Going into an interview, it’s a great idea to research salary ranges in your geographic location.Here’s a rule of thumb:You should have an idea of where their offer will be. But you should never be the one to bring it up.Even if salary is your primary concern, you never want the company to know that! Lead with your interest and experience. You can negotiate and discuss salary later.
  • Never ask about the benefits being offered
    This information is likely available on their website. Most companies offer standard benefits packages. So this question will be viewed as a space waster.After an offer is extended, the recruiter will likely share all those details with you. It is perfectly acceptable to ask any benefits-related questions at that time.
  • Never bring up or ask about time off
    So many candidates come armed with a list of dates they will need to request off. All these questions do is make the interviewer question your interest and commitment.It’s not worth mentioning any time off until after they have extended an offer and want to discuss your availability to start.
  • Be careful asking any questions related to promotional opportunities
    Find other ways to understand whether they grow talent internally. Ask about training programs, mentor programs, and development opportunities.When you begin asking about promotions before you’ve even secured the job, they will really question your commitment and whether you’re the right hire. No hiring manager wants to bring someone on board who plans to leave in their first year of employment.

Final thoughts

As you prepare for your interview, don’t forget to take time to prepare your list of questions to ask each interviewer.

You should have a list of 5-7 questions (at a minimum) for each interviewer. If you meet with someone more than once, ask them more, new questions.

Pro tip: Write your questions down before the interview!

You can take a nice, professional notebook into the interview with you. List out your interview questions so you don’t forget any. Reference your list and take notes. It will impress your interviewers.

Finally, don’t ask the same questions to each interviewer.

At the end of their interviews, they will compare notes. You don’t want to be the candidate that asked every person the same question.

For clarity: It’s OK to ask questions that will yield you a different response from each person (like why they joined the company, or how your roles will interact). But don’t just rattle off the same handful of questions to each person. That will kill your chances immediately.

Ultimately, ask good questions. Demonstrate you’re interested and engaged. Show you put forth effort for research.

Never say you don’t have questions! Follow this advice, and you can’t go wrong!

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