Let’s set the scene; you are 80 minutes into a gruelling interview session.
The interviewer has thrown every possible job related question at you, from your skills to your qualifications, just for good measure they have even tossed in a few “Tell me about a time” questions to test your competencies.
You are feeling good about your responses and you feel that you and the interviewer have a really good rapport built.
The interview starts to wind down and the interviewer signs off with…
Do you have any questions for us?
You might be thinking, great, the interviewer is finished, this is finally over – I don’t want to waste the interviewer’s time so I’ll say I’m happy and I’ll be on my way.
This is not the correct approach.
Make no mistake, this is an interview question and you will be assessed on it.
Therefore you should rehearse ahead of time what your answer – or question even – is going to be.
That is why in this post I am going to give you some great questions for you to ask at the end of your interview. These questions are intended to make you seem engaged, knowledgeable, skilled and to leave a genuinely good and lasting impression with your interviewer.
But first, let’s take a look at some questions that you should absolutely not ask!
Questions YOU SHOULD NOT Ask At The End Of An Interview
Did I get the job?
99/100 hiring decisions are not made on the spot. So all you are doing by asking this question is annoying the interviewer.
In the 1/100 that they have decided whether to hire you or not they will tell you, you don’t gain any value out of asking this question but run the risk of leaving a bad lingering impression.
Do you do random drug tests?
It is incredible how many people think this is a reasonable question to ask. Sure most employers will not be bothered about what you do on your own time, but the ones that do will definitely not take kindly to a question like this.
Hint: if you need to know the answer to this question research the company online first and see what their current employees have to say.
How many days off do I get?
This is not a question for the interview. If days off (or anything in the advertised benefits) is not suitable to you then you should iron out these details when negotiating the offer – or if you need clarification then seek this prior to the interview.
What is it that I will be doing here? / What is it that your company does?
This shows a lack of research on your part. Prior to any interview you need to research the role and the company. How else are you expected to show you can do the job if you do not even know what the role or company do!
As an aside there is a difference between asking the above question and asking something like “What would an average day in this role look like?”, the latter is trying to understand more about the role specifics and company culture that is not easily researched, while the former could be answered by a google search.
How often will I get a pay rise?
Take one step at a time there chief. You haven’t got this job yet and you’re already saying you want more money (that is what the interviewer will hear).
Try and phrase the question to something like “How will my performance be assessed”.
Is the position remote?
I think any job that can be remote should be remote. That’s my personal view. But companies – for their own reasons – often do not agree with me. If the position is remote it will be advertised as such before you get to the interview stage. If you are only interested in remote positions then you should ask this question prior to the interview and avoid wasting anyone’s time.
Questions YOU SHOULD Ask At The End Of An Interview
One thing to remember when asking your question is that an interview is a 2 way conversation. Sure you are being interviewed to see if you are what the organisation needs, but you are also interviewing the organisation to see if it is somewhere that you would like to work.
What would the average day look like in this position?
This is a great question to ask as it allows you to plenty of chances to show your experience in the following discussions. It also shows the interviewer that you are really interested in the position.
Has the firm made any changes to how they operate as a result of COVID-19? – And do you envision any of the changes will be ‘rolled back’?
This question is good for your own peace of mind more than anything else. A lot of firms will have changed operating processes during COVID-19 and all of the various lockdowns. Now that restrictions are largely a thing of the past (at the time of writing this anyway!) some companies may be looking to wind these changes back.
You don’t want to accept a fully remote position only to be told that remote working was only a temporary measure and you will be expected to be in the office full time.
Are there any gaps in my skills/knowledge that I can work on to improve my chances?
It’s good to put your interviewer’s mind at ease. During the interview the interviewer may have noticed that there are some areas of the role that you are not as experienced in. By asking this question you can either show the interviewer that you have the necessary experience – perhaps you didn’t communicate all areas of your experience – OR you can assure the interviewer that you will be able to up-skill quickly.
I remember one interview I sat in on where the lead interviewer was hesitant as a candidate did not possess any PM qualifications. The candidate asked the above question and was told, quite honestly, that the interviewer was having reservations due to the lack of formal qualification. The interviewee – brilliantly in my opinion – stated that they will achieve the PRINCE2 foundation qualification prior to the job start and will achieve the practitioner qualification before the probation period ended. If he did not produce these documents he said he would happily resign with no hard feelings. The candidate did end up getting the role and sure enough was able to produce both certifications quite quickly, keeping his promise and his job!
What do you find most enjoyable [and/or least enjoyable] about working here?
This is a good question to ask to show that you are interested in the role. Take any answer from the interviewer with a massive grain of salt. Not many current employees are going to be that candid with you about the pains and tribulations of the organisation.
Can you tell me more about the team I will be working with?
Who you are working with will greatly determine how much you enjoy your role. You want to know how good this team is and how well you will fit in with their work style. Try to learn if the team is new or very experienced. If it is a new team then you might be being brought on to help train others (whether that is a pro or con is for you to decide)
How will my results be assessed? What does success look like for you?
Asking this shows the interviewer that you are already thinking about how you can perform well in your role. From the interviewer’s answer you should also be able to glean some information about salary reviews!
Will I be offered the room to grow in the role? What are the opportunities for advancement within the organisation?
This is an important thing to know if you are trying to turn this role into a career. If the organisation just wishes for a desk filler and has no intention of providing upward mobility it is best for you to know upfront.
Why is this current position available?
This is a good backdoor way of finding out what the workplace is like. If the position is available because the previous occupant moved up then it shows there is room for advancement. Perhaps the person quit because they couldn’t keep up with the pace (this will show you the work is demanding).
Have I answered all of your questions? Is there anything you would like me to elaborate on?
There’s nothing worse than missing out on a job because the interviewer was missing some piece of information.
Can you advise what the next steps are with regard to this application process?
Managing expectations is important and your interviewer should be appreciative of what the interview process is like for the candidate. If they are unable to provide you with a proper timeline of how the application process will progress then you have to question what it would be like to work this organisation.
What To Do If You Can’t Think Of Any Questions
It’s all well and good talking about questions you can ask at the end of an interview. But sometimes on the day your mind just goes blank. Or maybe your questions were already answered during the rest of the interview and now you are sat there with nothing to ask.
If this happens then don’t panic you can still produce an answer that will leave a good impression while not actually needing to ask any questions.
You can say something along these lines:
“Most of the questions I had have been answered during this interview actually! I was particularly interested in what we were discussing earlier about the projects that you currently have in the pipeline, they seem like something I can really hit the ground running on.
I am very conscious of the time and we are running close to the end, there’s nothing I have left to ask that would stop me from considering any offer, and I am sure you are very busy so we can wrap this up here and hopefully speak again soon?”
It’s not a perfect response by any means. But you are showing the interviewer a few things here; firstly you show that you care about your interviewer’s time and are empathetic to their needs and commitments. Secondly you refer back to earlier comments in the interview which shows you were engaged. Thirdly the wording of this response shows the interviewer that you did come prepared with questions but you managed to have these questions answered during the interview itself (efficient!). Finally you express eagerness in doing a good job straight away.