You want to have a list of questions with you – six, seven or as many as ten questions will work. Keep in mind that you probably won’t use all of them. You want to use enough of them to show that you have put some thought into the interview, the company, and your career.
The most important question that you can ask will be your last question. It is, “Based on what we have spoken about here, I am an excellent match for this company and this opportunity, when can I go to work?”
But before you get to that question, here are some excellent questions you should have written down to ask: (Keep in mind that these are questions that are broader than specific ones you’ve already asked about the job itself.) Take notes!
I noticed, in doing my research that you have been with the company (two years, ten years, etc.). 5What brought you to the company and why do you like working here?
It is good to start out with personal questions that get people talking about their favorite subject – themselves. The answer to this question will set the tone for the conversational part of the interview.
What have you found to be the greatest personal rewards in being with the company?
Again, talking about someone’s favorite subject!
What do you think the biggest challenges are for the company in the near future?
I noticed, in doing my research that (the company has expanded, the company has lost money, the company had to restate earnings, etc.). How has that affected everyone?
By asking this question, you demonstrate that you have done your due diligence about the company. The answer to this may lead to some other questions. Don’t be surprised if when you mention these subjects that the interviewing authority is unfamiliar with them.
Why do people like working here?
Only ask this question if the interview seems to be going well on a personal basis. Don’t ask something stupid like, “Why do people not like working here?”
What trends do you see in the industry for the next three to five years, and how was this company positioned for them?
I noticed, in my research that your company’s competitors are (?) What is your company’s reaction (or position, or stance, etc.)?
This can be anything from the competitor’s growth, a competitor’s new product….. anything that shows that you have done research on the competitors.
Please remember, that no matter what kind of answers you get to these questions, you are still selling yourself. Even if you don’t like every one of the answers that you get, you still have nothing until you have an offer.
You may ask a different set of “qualification” questions after you get an offer!
So, if you are detecting things that you may not like or want in a company or a job, or you may not clearly understand, you will get a chance to get clarification after you get an offer. Just remember you have nothing until you have a job offer!
Don’t forget, that as the interview comes to a close, you absolutely have to ask:
Based on what we have spoken about here, I’m an excellent match for this company and the opportunity. When can I go to work?