It's a query that can give an ill-prepared job seeker pause: So, do you have any questions for me?
Interviewers will judge you by your questions. Almost all employers wrap up job interviews by turning the tables and offering candidates an opportunity to showcase how well they understand the role, how interested they are in the opportunity and what plays to their passions points.
When the time comes to flip roles and grill your interviewer about the potential job, it can be tempting to ask pressing questions about salaries, hours and workload. But asking questions about vacation time, salary reviews and benefits might be red flags — and worst-case scenario, they might cost you the job.
When asking your interviewer questions regarding compensation or scheduling, there’s an imminent risk of being perceived as self-serving. Questions that are more focused on achieving results, helping the company grow and showing how well you've researched the role are the most wow-inducing. The goal is to end with a bang and leave a solid impression.
We asked managers what they actually want to hear candidates ask during an interview. Below are a few of their responses.
1. "How has [the company you're interviewing for]'s product impacted you directly?"
"This question shows that the candidate wants to work in a place where people are passionate about what they do. They don't want to come to work just to get a paycheck. They want to know how employees interact with the product and how it has personally impacted their lives."
— Ragini Parmar, hiring manager at Credit Karma.
2. "How would my role affect the business in the short-, medium- and long-term?"
"First, this question demonstrates that the candidate isn't just thinking about themselves, but rather where they fit into the strategy of the business as a whole. It switches the conversation from being about what the company can do for them to what they can do for the company."
–- Erin Patterson, talent acquisition at Moxie.
3. "Why did you join [your company]?" In other words, a very polite version of "Why should I want to work here?"
"Top candidates are generally interested in what the interviewer found so attractive about the company they now work with. When a candidate wants to know why I dropped everything to join Spoon, they're really getting a read on whether or not the opportunity is truly compelling.This question specifically tells me that a candidate is thinking about the long-term future and isn't interested in just another job — a good indicator that they take their work seriously and will only move for the right opportunity. They likely want to know about the company's product story, current revenue, short- and long-term plans, culture and team in place.If hiring managers aren't prepared with honest and persuasive reasons why they joined their current firm, top candidates can quickly lose interest and move on."
— Colin McIntosh business development at Spoon.net, a web-based computing platform.
4. "What gets you out of bed every day and excites you to come to work?"
"I love this question for two reasons. One, it’s a little bold. It’s personal in nature, and I’m not interested in hiring someone with whom I can’t connect on a personal level. But it also is a great way for a candidate to get a sense of what it’s like to work with us — what the office environment is like, what we’re passionate about, what our values are. Plus, implicit in the question is that they’re ready and willing to also get out of bed excited and ready to work."
— Joshua Dziabiak, cofounder and COO of The Zebra, a digital auto insurance agency.
5. "What are the biggest trouble-spots you’re hoping the person in this position can help you with?"
"So much of job interviewing is focused on what's great about the job, great about the candidate, etc. It's refreshing to be asked what pain-points the person we hire will have to be able to handle. But remember, if you ask this question, be prepared to offer a few potential solutions or ideas for the issues raised by your interviewer. It's a really interesting question, but job seekers need to be ready to think on their feet once they ask it!"
— Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, a telecommuting and flexible job site.
6. "What are your organization’s strengths and weaknesses compared to your competition?"
"Candidates are usually evaluating multiple firms and making their own comparisons to figure out which one is the best fit for them. This is a savvy question because the candidate is asking for an assessment and perspective on what makes Deloitte strong, while also trying to see how objective we can be about our own organization."
— Patty Pogemiller, talent acquisition and mobility leader at Deloitte LLP.
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