A job interview is a two-way street: the potential employers are asking to the candidates questions about them and their skills while the candidate is assessing if the job and company suits its expectations and aspirations.
For candidates an important moment to discover more about the company and the job is when the potential employer asks if they have questions.
These questions are a crucial point of the interview because not only candidates can understand better their fit with the company but also because when they do not have any questions it can be interpretated as a lack of interest or preparation. Indeed it is good practice to prepare topics that you’d like to talk about during the interview.
Candidates must prepare at least two questions that demonstrate:
- interest in the position,
- that they have autonomously researched the company and industry
Keeping in the mind that the best questions to ask are focused, open-ended question and should displays commitment to understand the possible prospects as a candidate. Plus, it will also be an opportunity to respond to any potential concerns.
Moveroever, asking questions is a good opportunity to learn about the company culture and the specific day-to-day responsibilities of the job so that, should you be hired, your first moments in the position will not be accompanied by major surprises.
You can ask questions about multiple topics to demonstrate your curiosity and interest in all aspects of the position.
- Why is this position available?
- How many people work in this office/department?
- Could you describe the culture of the company to me?
- Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
Remember: talking about benefits might not be best in the first interview and it is better to wait until further steps of the interview process to negotiate with the hiring manager or an HR representative.
Questions to avoid:
- “Yes” or “no” questions: questions with a yes/no answer are usually answered by searching the company’s website. It is better to ask questions that will create a dialogue with the employer.
- Don’t ask personal information: questions must be public information and not personally related to the interviewer.
- Don’t ask about promotions: while candidates can ask about the company’s growth, asking about promotions might suggests that the candidate is not interested in the current position
Your inquiries to interviewers during this interview can be a bit more specific than your questions in the first interview. Moreover, it’s more appropriate and reasonable to ask questions about salary, culture, and opportunities available for employees because having a second interview is a sign that the company has serious interest in you as a candidate.
- What are the biggest opportunities facing the company/department right now?
- What do you like best about working for this company?
- What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
In this second interview, you want to go beyond demonstrating that you are a capable candidate and in fit with the position: show that you are the best possible candidate for the position.
To do so, use what you’ve learned from the first interview about the responsibilities you’ll handle in the position and the company’s needs overall, to show that you are knowledgeable about the organization.