CLEVER QUESTIONS TO ASK INTERVIEWERS | QUESTIONS TO ASK HIRING MANAGERS AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW

“So do you have any questions for us?”

In this video, I’m going to dig into this critical part of your job interview, why it’s a golden opportunity you can’t let pass you by, and questions you can actually ask your interviewer that aren’t cliche and will show that you’ve been really listening during the interview.

What’s the Purpose Asking Your Interviewer Questions At The End Of The Interview?

Why do we want to ask questions at the end of the interview? 

First, it can be another opportunity for us to show that we’ve really been listening to the interviewer. If you’re really skilled at these questions, you can replay to them something they said by weaving it into a question.

Second, it can show that you really did your homework on the company. You can weave in something you discovered in your research about the company, and also weave it into your questions.

Both of these factors just further reinforce your interest in the role.

And finally, but most importantly, you can gain some insights into whether or not this role and this company is for you. Is it truly a fit? 

The whole saying “you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you” is cliche, but, true.

What To Avoid When Asking Your Interviewer Questions At The End Of The Interview?

The main thing you want to avoid when asking your interviewer questions at the end of the interview is to not ask any questions at all.

When your answer to “Do you have any questions for us?” is “Nah, I’m good,” you’re doing it wrong.

I would also not recommend bringing up the subject of salary and compensation at this point. If this hasn’t been discussed yet, it will as you’re further along in the process. Let the recruiter, talent acquisition professional, or hiring manager bring it up.

What Types Of Questions To Ask Your Interviewer At The End Of The Interview?

First, I don’t want you to stress out over asking the RIGHT questions at the end of the interview.

But when you do ask questions, I recommend asking questions that either give you insights into 4 areas or the 4 Cs which are:

Company and Culture

Critical Success Factors

The C-word that’s on everyone’s mind right now that I can’t say or get demonetized

Communication and Closing The Deal

I also want to encourage you to ask open-ended questions.

These are questions that typically start with what, how, and why and shouldn’t result in a yes or no answer. 

Asking Your Interviewer About Company And Culture

Before you sign your future offer, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into.

There are some stealthy question you can ask your interviewer to get some insights into the company culture including:

“What’s your favorite part about working for this [company name]?”

You could make this even more specific by asking what their favourite part of working for their department or team is too which would be especially helpful if you’re interviewing with the hiring manager as you’d be joining their team.

Or you could ask a question even more pointed and put the interviewer in the hot seat and ask them:

“What has kept you at [company name]?”

This way we’re not flat out asking “can you describe the company culture?” 

You can really flex your research muscles, and show you’ve done your homework when asking about culture by using a question format like:

“I read [company name’s] press release on recommitting to [diversity and inclusion]. I share this value too. How is [company name] taking steps towards making this happen?”

This type of question not only shows you’ve read up on the company, but also indicates your alignment with the company’s values too. 

Asking Your Interviewer About Critical Role Success Factors

Next, you want to ask a question or two about being at your best in the role itself.

Some of the questions I’ve seen suggested her include:

“Why is this role open?”

Or

“What does the ideal candidate for this role look like?”

These answers should be clear to you already. If you read the job posting, and I know you did, the business need you’d be filling if you were to take this role, will be clear. Further, so would the aspects of the idea candidate. I mean, you understood it well enough to tailor your resume to get to the interview…right?

Instead, let’s go for some more inspired questions that again, show you’ve either done your homework or are really, really listening:

“I’m really excited about the [initiative or project] that you mentioned. In the [role you’re interviewing for] role, how would I contribute to its success?”

This is a double-whammy question because it also lets you follow up immediately and reinforce your skills and strengths, so after they answer you could mention:

“That sounds great and something I’d love to bring my [core skill] and [core skill] skills to.”

If they didn’t mention a specific project or initiative, you could ask them to reveal it with a question like:

“What initiatives or projects do you have on the horizon that you’re excited about?”

And when they tell you, follow up with: “How would I help make that a success in the [role you’re interviewing for] role?”

And finally follow up with:

“That sounds great and something I’d love to bring my [core skill] and [core skill] skills to.”

Or, you could also remind them of a time that you already did what they want to do with:

“That’s great, and as you know, I [success metric you achieved] on a similar type of project at [employer name].”

Like “That’s great and as you know, I launched a new award-winning digital banking app during my time at CIBC, so I’m excited to bring my insights to the table.”

Finally, rather than asking what the ideal candidate for this role looks like, because you already know, you could ask a question like:

“If I were to step into the [role for which you’re applying] role, what would you like to see me prioritize in my first year with the team and company?”

This is a big, meaty, open-ended question that could go a number of ways.

They might tell you what is on their agenda in terms of priorities and how they need you to help.

They could give you a peek into the complexity of onboarding for the role and what you need to focus on.

Or they might give you some insight into areas of development for yourself if they might think there’s a qualifications gap. 

Asking Your Interviewer About C—D

This is a topic on everyone’s mind right now and it’s fair to wonder how the company you’re interviewing with navigated this.

Did they fly by the seat of their pants? Did they fumble and learn? Or did they successfully keep their employees fully engaged and feeling safe?

Also, by asking about how the company dealt with the word that shall not be uttered, this can give you an idea of the company’s policy on remote work.

So consider asking:

“With the pandemic, how did [company name] enable your team to continue doing their best work?”

You could also gain some insights into what your own onboarding experience might look like by asking:

“How have you seen new hires most successfully onboard and get up to speed since the pandemic started?”

Asking Your Interviewer About Communication And Closing The Deal

After you’ve asked your very insightful questions, it’s time to close the deal, but with a question.

How does that work?

One thing you may have noticed with most of the questions is that we are asking them as if we will be offered the job because why not? Why not assume you’re the chosen one? Why not showcase your confidence?

So the final questions that I recommend asking in all job interviews, assuming you want the job that is are:

“What are our next steps?”

They’ll let you know. And if they don’t also lay out a method for you to get in touch, ask them:

“Would it be OK if I follow up with you?”

Why are we asking this? It’s assumed we can follow up with who could be our future boss, right?

Not necessarily. There’s a very distinct ecosystem in hiring, especially if you were first invited to an interview by a recruiter or talent acquisition professional. They are the one project managing your hire, and so should be the person you reach out to by default.

But by asking this question, and hopefully getting a yes and their contact information, you can send the hiring manager a thank you message within 24 hours of this conversation.

More on that in another video.

“Do you have any questions for us?” is a golden opportunity not to be passed by. If you use the time to ask thoughtful questions, you will be one of the most memorable candidates. But equally as important, you will get some of your own intel into the company and role so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your career when you inevitably get that offer!

What questions do you like to ask the interviewer? What answers have your heard from hiring managers that were very telling and helped you decide whether or not to take an offer? Tell me all the juicy details in the comments below.

Kamara Toffolo

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