One of the most overlooked interview questions is astonishingly the most simple one…
“Do you have any questions for me?”
The moment as an interviewee we hear this question, our mind says…
“Phew! It’s over”
We say no, and walk out of that interview room because we want it to be over.
My reason to say no to this question was even sillier. I thought that it’s a tricky question to test whether I am respectful towards the panel or not.
I laugh at it now as it was during my early days and I honestly had no idea why interviewers used to ask this question.
So before we get into how to answer this age-old question “Do you have any questions for me?”, let’s understand why an interviewer asks such a question.
Is it just a formality or is there something more than that?
For the most part, it’s a genuine attempt to answer any queries you may have about the company but it indirectly also highlights your character.
Why you should always ask questions
One of the main reasons you should ask questions is because, well, you genuinely have questions about the company, the role or your pay structure.
But the following two are significant enough reasons to do it even when you don’t have questions:
Interest in the job
When you ask questions it simply conveys that you’re interested in the job and not giving the interview for the sake of it.
It shows that you’re not there only for the offer letter to bargain with the company you want to join but you’re interested in the company & role.
Your questions can leave a great impression on the interviewers as much as so, that it might become the deciding factor in being selected for the role.
It can easily make you stand out from other candidates and make your interview more memorable for the panel.
So, you must ask questions when they ask you “Do you have any questions for me?”. And if you don’t know what to ask, then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
What questions should you ask
When it comes to asking questions when you’re asked “Do you have any questions for me” in an interview, there are some interesting choices you can ask about.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s divide the topics of questions you can ask. So, you have the following:
a. About the role b. About the company c. About the skillset d. About the next steps
Questions about the role
Questions about the role should be the easy ones to ask.
You’re applying for a certain role and should know the ins and outs about it.
You should have a clear idea about what you’re getting into, especially if you don’t want any surprises down the road.
Here are some questions you can ask about your role:
“What is the work schedule like for a person in this position?”
“What will be my goals in this position over the first 12 months?”
“Will I be trained? For how long?”
“Will I be working in a team or is it an individual contributor's role?”
“What are the most immediate projects that need to be addressed?”
Questions about the company
Don’t ask questions about the company that you can get from a Google search or on the company’s website.
When it comes to asking questions about the company, you should focus on the company culture, your potential teammates, business goals and so on.
Here are some questions you can ask about the company:
“How would you describe the company’s culture?”
“Can you describe some of the company’s recent challenges and achievements?”
“Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”
“What are the career paths in this department/company?”
“What’s your favourite part about working here?”
Questions about the skillset
This is a great opportunity for you to ask interviewers what skills they look for this particular role. You can also ask them about your skill set.
Regardless of whether you get the role or not, it will give you insights on what companies generally look for when hiring for such roles.
Here are some questions you can ask:
“What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?”
“Do you have any concerns about my experience or skill set?”
“What types of skills is the team missing that you're looking to fill with a new hire?”
“What is the one key thing that someone needs to be successful in this role?”
Questions about the next steps
It’s better to ask regarding the next steps of the interview. You can ask about the number of rounds or the interview procedure in general.
Here are some questions you can ask:
“I’ve enjoyed learning more about this opportunity. What are the next steps in the hiring process?"
“Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?”
“Thank you for explaining the role to me in such depth. When might I hear back from you regarding a decision?”
Now that you know which questions you should ask when you’re questioned with “Do you have any questions for me?”, let’s also take a look at the questions you should never ask in this situation or else it may backfire on you.
Questions you shouldn’t ask
There are certain questions you should avoid when an interviewer asks you to ask any question.
Your choice of questions can determine your final impression on your interviewers.
So, here are some topics you should avoid:
Any questions that don't involve work should be avoided.
Questions like team outings, vacations and holidays can lead to a bad impression of you.
Any questions that cross the professional barrier of the interviewer should not be asked.
Their salary, family or living situation can present you in a very unprofessional way.
Any questions that you can answer yourself should be avoided.
Even basic questions like what does your company do can be answered by researching a company on the web.
So, don’t ask questions that you can Google essentially.
A big no-no is asking about salary.
Remember that salary negotiations and questions are only done with the HR and not with your potential manager.
So asking them about salary is not only silly but also can cause problems in your hiring.
And lastly, just because you have all these possible questions to ask doesn’t mean that you have to bombard your interviewer with all of them.
Analyse your situation and ask only the relevant questions. This is just a general outline of the questions you can ask during your interview.
If your interviewer seems vested enough and encourages you to ask more questions only then proceed to ask more of them. It’s most likely that you’ll not have more than a few questions that you would need the answer to.
All the best!