Most job interviews end with a variation of the same question: “Is there anything else you’d like to know about this job?” This is an opportunity you shouldn’t fumble. An insightful and intelligent query will help you to stand out from other candidates. It lets the interviewer know that you’re genuinely interested in the business and have given the position considerable thought. Here are 12 questions that you should consider asking, courtesy of Search Party and JobAdvisor CEO Ben Hutt.
“Just as your potential employer needs to make up their mind about your fit in terms of skills and culture, you need to be sure that you’re making the right decision for you as well,” Hutt explained to Lifehacker. “That’s why asking questions in an interview is really important.”
In addition to helping you assess a job’s suitability, asking the right questions can also improve your changes of actually landing the job. When a prospective employer invites you to ask questions of your own, they’re not just being polite: the genuinely want to answer any and all queries about the position and the wider company. Coming up blank or only asking about holidays/salary isn’t going to be viewed favourably. As Hutt explains:
“Beyond understanding if a company is right for you, your other goal is to get them to hire you. This is where asking questions can also be helpful. Do some internet sleuthing beforehand and ask some specific questions about the company.”
“Try to focus on positive things like interesting news coverage or recent product release. This shows that you’ve done your research and will set you apart from other candidates who prepare less than you.”
So what are the top questions to ask? According to Hutt, the most valuable questions fall into one of three main categories: work culture, career development and personal. Here are some examples of each.
Questions about work culture
“Making a judgement on cultural fit is probably the most important decision you’ll have to make if you’re offered the job,” says Hutt. “You should check out the company’s JobAdvisor profile before you even accept the interview to get an idea of what it’s like to work there. The actual interview gives you an additional layer of insight, though. You’re speaking to a current employee — who better to ask about daily life and what makes the company tick?”
- “How would you describe the company’s internal culture?”
- “What do you most enjoy about working at this company?”
- “Your JobAdvisor rating was X out of five, why do you think it is this high/low?”
- “How do you measure and celebrate success in this role?”
Questions about career development
“Depending on the maturity of the business you’ll need to ask different questions, but in all cases you should ensure you get a good sense of where the business is going, and how your role can grow. It’s really important that the company’s needs and expectations are aligned with your personal goals and motivations.”
- “What training programs do you have in place?”
- “What career paths stem from this role?”
- “If I started tomorrow, what would my most immediate challenges be?”
- “What is the average retention rate for this role/company?”
- “Ask about something you’ve seen in the media, for example, ‘I saw that earnings last week were up, what do you think this means for this role/team?’”
Questions that relate to yourself
- “Do you need any more information about me, my previous roles or specific experience?”
- “Do you have any questions about my experience (name a few examples you talked about during the interview)?”
- “Do you think my experience has any gaps?”
Asking smart questions shows the interviewer that you are prepared, excited about the role and have an inquisitive mind. It’s a signal to the employer of your likely behaviour should you join their company. Don’t treat it as a formality — the questions you pose to the interviewer can be just as important as the answers you give.
This article was first published in Lifehacker on 2 May 2016.