Always ask questions in an interview! Not asking questions signals many red flags to the employer that can range from bad to worse:
Although it is very important to focus on your interview answers, do not forget about asking questions. Treat the interview like a business meeting. You are invited to meet with the employer and have a conversation about the job opening. During this conversation, you will discuss how your skills will benefit the position, while the employer will pose questions and raise potential concerns. When appropriate, you will also have the time to pose questions to the employer.
Both you and the employer have the same goal: to determine if the position is right for you. If you leave this decision to be solely the choice of the employer, you may end up taking a job in an environment for which you are not well suited. In the long run, a poor decision can be very expensive for the employer and the candidate. Take time to give strong consideration to the job and prepare your questions for the employer in advance. Research as much as you can about the company by reviewing their website, news, publications, and social media. Use the interview to not only promote your skills and experience, but also determine if the job is right for you.
It is appropriate to ask questions along the way, during the interview. That will keep the conversation more natural and less one-sided. Near the end of the interview, when the employer asks, “Do you have any questions?” try to ask at least two. If you’re not sure which questions to ask, use some of the examples below to develop your own:
This important question can determine if there is a formal training procedure or if you will teach yourself along the way.
This question is straight forward and takes a lot of confidence, but can result in the interviewer speaking as if you already have the job. (For example, if the interview is going very well, he or she may say, “No, you are a great fit for this role!”) It also serves as a way to clear up any remaining concerns.
This information will complement the research you have done and fill in any gaps. You will know what to focus on immediately, if hired.
Similar to the previous question, this will ensure your goals and priorities are in line with the employer’s.
The most important question! Do not forget to ask this as you begin to close the interview. You don’t want to be left wondering if you were supposed to follow up, or when you are expected to hear back from the employer.
These questions serve as a guide. Do not ask questions that have already been covered in detail during the interview. Take a personal inventory and determine what is most important for you. Ask questions on culture and objectives, but avoid all talk of pay, benefits, and perks, until you are further in the interview process (or when the employer raises the topic). Focusing on money alone may detract from your candidacy and cast you in a negative light. Interview preparation takes time, but the more you prepare, the more confidence you’ll gain, and the more memorable your interview will be!
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