A classic recruitment scenario: your job interview gets close to an end and the interviewer asks if you have any questions. You may think that a polite ‘No’ is a good way to show you’re happy with the role and not fussy about the eventual downsides of the job specifications. However, that could be interpreted as disinterest and there is a better way to secure a job offer.
Job interviews are not interrogatories but rather (unusual kinds of) conversations. While the interview is designed to enable the interviewer to assess a candidate’s suitability for the role, candidates should also consider it as an opportunity to investigate whether the company and the role are a good fit for them. It’s important that you engage with the interviewer to ensure you’re actively gathering information about how the role could enrich your skillset and you as a person. So what are the best questions to ask at the end of an interview? Keep reading.
Bonus point: if you’re interested in the role, asking questions is the best way to show your enthusiasm and connect with the interviewer through a friendly exchange. In any case, prepare two to three questions to end your interview on a high note, stand out, and make a lasting impression on the recruiter.
That being said, not all types of questions will help you secure a job offer and some might even take it away from you. Follow our guide for Dos and Don’ts.
The right questions to ask to gain additional information and create a connection with the recruiter
> ‘How did you come to work for [insert name of the company] and why have you stayed?’
This question is focussed on the experience of the hiring manager as being part of the company. It will allow you to both create a bond with the recruiter and get an insider point of view on the value of the company’s missions. Here’s a variant: ‘What is your personal experience of working for this company?’. Another insightful same-type question to ask is ‘What is the one thing you would improve about your company?’.
> ‘What new skills can I hope to learn here?’
This question shows that you are not simply looking to apply your existing skills to the role but are also focussed on growing as an individual by learning new things and broadening your expertise. A good variant is ‘Can I shadow an employee or get a mentor?’ which shows you’re looking to learn from their team and adopt their working style.
> ‘What expectations do you have in terms of impacts from someone in this role in the first three months?’ Asking about expectations from the recruiter will allow you to have a more strategy-focussed approach at work and is a good way to show that you care about the improvement of their company’s results thanks to your work. You can also ask: ‘What factors and metrics will you use to measure my success in the role?’.
> ‘How would you describe the work culture of your company?’
At Live Digital, in order to help businesses grow we do not recommend employers to hire a candidate because they fit in with their company’s work culture–read Why You Shouldn’t Hire for Culture Fit to find out more. However, as a job applicant you want to make sure the environment of the company you will be working for feels comfortable and satisfies your needs in terms of wellbeing. This type of question will help you determine whether the company is a good fit for you.
> ‘Is there anything I can help to clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?’
Obviously quite a bold move, and also a question that may not be wise depending on the atmosphere of the interview. But this is an opportunity to show you’re eager to get the role and willing to discuss your weaknesses and find ways to improve. You can also ask: ‘From what you have seen today, is there anything you think I could have improved upon, or any reasons why you think I am not suitable for this role?’. The interviewer will be pleased to learn that you’re open to receiving feedback.
Staying away from the not-so-great question topics and phrasings
> ‘What do you think about [insert some specific detail you learnt about how a type of data may impact the ranking of companies like theirs in stock markets]?’
You may want to prepare very specific and insightful questions to demonstrate your interest and knowledge in the company’s field (or impress the hiring manager). However, these are likely to disconnect you from your interviewer. Indeed, if they are not sure about what you’re referring to, you may end up having to explain and answer part of your question before they can give their opinion–thus damaging the quality of your interaction.
> ‘Would you say that I will integrate well with the rest of the team?’
This is an example of questions that can be answered by ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. While their topic may be relevant, these are likely to prompt a short and non-descriptive answer, which won’t provide you with enough information or add value to your application. Likewise, avoid questions that have an obvious answer. The above question is better phrased as ‘What is the work culture of your company like?’. This will provide you with an informative description.
> ‘What are the working hours?’
This type of question won’t make a good impression on the recruiter because it suggests that you’re more interested in what you’ll be able to do outside of your role than on what you can achieve through your work. It also won’t help you engage with the interviewer. Instead, if you want to learn more about how the role is structured and connect with the interviewer, ask how this position has evolved since it was created.
> ‘Do you offer any employee benefits?’
In general, take the ‘me’ out of your questions. If the recruiter has not asked how you feel about the benefits (or lack of benefits) offered by the company, or about the salary you would like to get–do not mention these. You will have the opportunity to negotiate your income and benefits once you receive a job offer.
> ‘What were the initial qualifications that led you to get your job position?’
While it is important that you ask about the experience of the interviewer in the company to build a relationship with them, avoid personal questions–including topics relating to their past work experience and their current benefits. You want to engage with the interviewer without being inquisitive about their private life.
Asking questions to the recruiter at the end of your interview will help you stand out from other candidates, secure a job offer, and strengthen your decision about whether you’d like to accept a job offer from this company. We hope this guide helps you take your interview to the next level!
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