You’re at the last leg of your interview. You’ve answered all of their questions, because you’ve done your homework, and you’re confident you’ll hear back. Just as you prepare yourself for the inevitable handshake from the interviewer suggesting the end of the conversation, you are faced with a reverse question: “Do you have any questions for me?” And that is arguably the trickiest question of all. How do you answer, in order to sound smart — and not blow your chances of landing the job?
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Resist the urge to ask about the parking situation or benefits. These are valid questions, but just hold on to them until you receive the job offer.
It helps to make a list of questions that will help you get information about working for the organization. Depending on the role of the person interviewing you, your questions can vary. If you are interviewing with:
- The Hiring Manager: ask questions about the job, the desired qualities, and the challenges.
- Human Resources: ask about the company, culture, and the department.
- Management: ask about the industry or current and future plans for the organization.
Having said that, here are a few sample questions that can help:
1. From your interview: In most cases, the questions you need to ask will stem out from your own interview with the interviewer. What have most of his/her questions been around? Cost-effectiveness, brand management? Ask a question related to that. “Through this interview, I’ve noticed that most of your questions have been around building a brand strategy. Could you tell me more about the current situation and what would be the first challenge for me in this role?”
Notice how you’ve already made the interviewer picture you in this role?
2. The current news about the organization: Do your research about your role and the organization. If the organization is in the news for something and that is directly related to your role, ask about that: “Congratulations on your acquisition of XYZ Inc. Your team must be very busy with the re-branding and PR. Has this acquisition posed any significant challenges to your team?”
This shows that you are up to speed with the company’s news and are interested in the organization.
3. Success on the Job: “How would you define success in this role?” or “What are the top priorities for this role?”
This way, you get to understand the priorities and how they are assessed. You also have the interviewer thinking that you are driven.
4. Personality traits: “What would you say are the most important personality traits someone needs to do this job well?”
As Kelly Gregario notes in PR Daily, “The answer to this question will be very telling. You can translate “creative” and “intuitive” to mean you will be on your own, while “patient” and “collaborative” could mean the opposite.
Not only will this question allow you to feel out whether you’ll be a good fit, it will get your interviewer to look past the paper resume and see you as an individual”.
5. The Interviewer’s Experience: “Do you like working here?”
Kelly writes, “A good sign is a confident smile and an enthusiastic “yes,” paired with an explanation as to why. Consider it a red flag if he shifts in his seat, looks away, coughs and starts with “Well…”
This questions helps you understand how your interviewer feels about working here, giving you feelers of whether this is the right place for you.
6. Culture: “Can you tell me about the team I will be working with?” or “How does the typical work day look like?” or “What is the busiest time of the year?”
These questions help you assess the culture of the organization. How does the team work? How busy is the day? What do work hours look like? How stressful is it working here?
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