As your interview comes to a close, you breathe a small sigh of relief, happy that this stressful situation is almost over. Your interviewer then asks if you have any questions. Resist the urge to say ‘no,’ and proceed to high-tail it out of there. Sure, you want to leave so that you can reduce your stress level, but it’s never wise to exit without asking a few questions first. Know that at the end of your interview, you will always be asked if you have any questions. There’s no way around it, so just do the best you can to be prepared.
Career expert Mike Simpson said a job interview is similar to a date. There should be some give and take as you learn about each other and whether you’d be a god fit. “Dating is a two-way street and the goal is to learn as much as you can about your potential partner through a give-and-take approach to dialogue. Did you know a job interview is a lot like a date? Like any good date, shouldn’t you try to learn a little bit more about the position and company before you decide to accept the job if they offer it to you? Of course! How else are you going to find out if it really is a job you want to do?” said Simpson.
Your questions could make or break your chances of getting the job; use this time to your advantage and ask questions that will make the hiring team take note of you. It’s important to be prepared for questions your interviewer may ask you, but it’s also just as important to be armed with questions to ask your interviewer. Here are four questions you need to ask if you want to make a good first impression.
1. What’s the biggest change your group has gone through in the last year?
Also ask if the company feels like things are getting better or worse and how they plan to handle either scenario. Ask how the company is changing so you can gain a better perspective of its goals and values. The interviewer’s answer will offer insight into what type of employee they’re looking for. Career expert Marc Cenedella said it’s important to show an interest in where the company is headed and learn how you can help them get there. “By asking these questions, which focus on the needs, traits, and preferences of your future boss and future employer, you’re demonstrating that you are somebody who is genuinely interested in their well-being. And the more interest we show in others, the more commitment they show to aiding our cause,” said Cenedella.
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2. What new skills can I hope to learn here?
This question shows you are eager to continue learning. It shows you won’t become complacent and stop bringing value to the company because you got too comfortable to care. Employers don’t want to hire someone who eventually becomes a flat liner, so do your best to ask questions that demonstrate you’ll will do what it takes to continue to grow and add value. Brian Honigman, CEO if Honigman Media, said this question says a lot about a candidate. “… I’ve always secretly hoped to hear this question. It signifies a few positive things: the applicant acknowledges they don’t know everything and it signals both humility and potential. This individual is actively seeking knowledge and using that as a criterion to judge opportunity. They know that skills are important, not just knowledge,” said Honigman.
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3. What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days, 60 days, and a year?
Don’t be in the dark about what is expected of you. The worst thing you can do is get the job and then totally miss the mark because you didn’t ask the right questions. Learn what the hiring manager is looking to accomplish through your role and excel at it. “Find out what your employer’s expectations are for the person in this position,” said Pamela Skillings, career expert and founder of Big Interview.
4. What is a typical day like?
Don’t forget to ask about basics. The answer to this question will help reduce the chance of being taken by surprise. For example, if everyone is expected to attend a weekly staff meeting on Mondays at 8:00 a.m., it would be helpful to know that information if 9:45 a.m. is your typical start time. Simpson said if he hadn’t asked his future employer what a typical day would be like he would have been unprepared.
“Having the day laid out for you from beginning to end is a smart way to get a quick overview of what is expected of you outside the job description. I was hired for a job once where all the employees were expected to participate in a group physical activity before starting our day. Had I not asked about a typical day I would have been completely unprepared for my first day and unable to participate. Not a great way to start out a new job!” said Simpson.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- 5 Questions You Should Not Ask During a Job Interview
- 4 Toughest Job Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)
- Job Stability? 5 Types of Employees That Companies Don’t Want Anymore