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Asking Questions at the End of the Interview Shows Interest
Many interviews end with this key query: “Do you have any questions for me?” This is a tool for the hiring manager to gauge how invested you are as a job candidate, and it’s an opportunity for you to learn more about the role, as well as measure where you stand in the hiring process.
Why Managers Ask
Hiring managers ask this question as a way to wrap up an interview and get final insights into what the candidate is thinking. Detailed queries demonstrate your interest and open the door to a less formal interview structure in which you’re having more of a conversation than an interview. Both parties have the chance to interject, ask follow-up questions and get a feel for each other outside the confines of a structured interview.
Why You Should Answer
If you don’t ask any questions, you run the risk of appearing uninterested; you also miss the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of what the company is all about and what the position entails. The majority of an interview is based on the hiring manager asking you questions, and this is an opportunity to turn things around, showcase your interest, your enthusiasm and your knowledge of the organization.
“Can you tell me more about the corporate culture of the organization?”
This query will let you know if the company is straight-laced and business-like, or casual and laid-back.
“What do you like most about working here?”
Learning what a decision maker thinks about the company will give you key insight into the perks of being an employee.
“Why did the last person who held this position leave?”
This query helps you identify potential red flags. For example, if the response is, “The workload was too much for her,” it might give you pause, or space to ask whether changes have been made since the last staffer’s departure.
“What’s your turnover rate like?”
Understanding whether people stay with the company long-term or leave quickly will help you identify general satisfaction and morale levels, as well as determine if there’s room for upward advancement.
An interview can fly by quickly, and as it draws to a close, you may feel like you didn’t get a complete picture about one area or another. This is the time to ask specific questions or clarify points that were brought up earlier. For example:
- “You mentioned that there are a lot of professional development opportunities for employees. Could you tell me more about that?”
- “Can you describe what an average workday looks like?”
- “You mentioned the potential for travel—can you tell me more?”
- “You touched on some of the computer skills the person in this role needs to know. Can we go over those again?”
This is also a good place to reemphasize your skills or elaborate on areas you didn’t fully get to address in the main portion of the interview.
Note: This is a good time to impress the hiring manager with your knowledge about the company or the position. For example, “I read about the company winning a workplace excellence award last year. Can you tell me more about that?”
Turn the Tables
Another good question is, “Do you have any further questions for me?” This final bit of the interview can help you determine the interest the company has in you. They may ask you to elaborate on certain elements of your resume or follow up any areas of the interview that might not have been fully explored. Some more pointed ways to ask this question:
- “Do you feel I’m qualified for this position?”
- “Is there anything about my work experience that you’d like more information about?”
- “Have I fully addressed all of your questions?”
- “Are you still interviewing other candidates?”
- “When do you plan to make a hiring decision?”
Questions to Avoid
Asking questions about salary during the first interview round, and before the hiring manager brings it up, is considered bad form. It appears you’re more interested in the salary range than you are in the position itself. The same goes for vacation, sick time and maternity leave. While these are all legitimate questions, and things you’ll need to know before accepting a job offer, leave them for a second interview when both the company and you are getting serious about your intentions.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.