What Should I Even Ask? - Questions to Ask at the End of Your Interview
This may be you:
“YES! I got the job interview!”
An overwhelming feeling of joy overtakes you because you know deep down the best is yet to come! This could be it, everything you been waiting for!
The time has come to call everyone you know to give them the great news! Before you start to dial, a passing thought comes, “I should really prepare for this! I don’t want to screw it up!” You throw the phone down and grab your computer to do some research! Next thing you know you are bombarded with loads of information. That joyful feeling now turns into a feeling of, "where do I even begin?"
Don’t worry, I am here to help!
I recently spoke to a group of Data Scientists on How to Ace Your Data Science Interview. We went back to the basics like, how to dress, what your resume should look like, how to prepare for your phone interview and much more!
However, today we will be focusing specifically on what questions to ask at the end of the interview. You know that point in the interview when you hear the interviewer ask, “So do you have any questions for us?”
What you don’t want to happen is to stare blankly back at them and remain silent. This is the moment I want to prepare you for! So that with confidence you can certainly say, “Yes, I do!” (As you may already know, you are interviewing them as well.)
Before we dive into the questions, I want to give you some extra “rules” on how to ask questions.
Rule #1: Seek to Understand
When asking questions, seek to understand versus tell them your opinion on the matter. For example, if you ask, “How is the training?” They respond with saying, “There is a week of virtual training, but we believe the best way to learn is to figure it out as you go.”
Now in your head, you're thinking, "the way a company trains its employees is super important."
Rather than say “Oh, I disagree with that style”, you can ask another question to learn more or take a mental note and revisit it to evaluate if this role is still a good fit. Remember, your goal is to learn about the company and the job.
Rule #2: Be Aware of Your Body Language
During the interview and while asking questions, you want to make sure that your body language and facial expressions come off as positive. A great way to manage this is to practice in the mirror and watch how you react to certain things. Think of the interview process like you are on stage, and you are selling yourself to the company as to why you are the best fit! Even if you are not interested or the most interested, they should not be able to tell. Remain even-keeled and make sure your body language remains open versus closed off.
Rule #3: Be Mindful of Your Tonality
During the portion of questions, you want to come off as genuine and caring not interrogating. Think about the question “How long have you been with the company?” You can ask this with a curious tone because you genuinely want to get to know the person, or you can ask this in a tone that can come off as judgmental. “How long have you been with the company?”, because you are sizing up the company.
The way you ask a question is more important than the question itself.
As in music the arrangement of pitches sends a precepted message to the listener, that’s the same with our own voice. I recommend being mindful, practicing with a friend the questions you want to ask!
Now that we have covered the 3 rules when asking questions, we are going to reference The Muse’s article and go over 7 main topics of questions and examples of how to do so.
Keep in mind, you do not want to ask all of these questions, pick the ones that cater to you and your needs. I would recommend asking anywhere between 3 to 8 questions that you care to know the answer for.
1. Questions about the Job
These questions are designed to learn more about the job requirements, a typical day in the life, and projects that you will be working on.
Some great questions to ask would be:
What does a typical day look like?
What are the skills and experiences you look for in an ideal candidate?
What are the biggest challenges that someone would face in this role?
2. Questions about Training and Professional Development
These questions are to figure out your growth plan within the company and if this will be a good fit long term. Some great questions to ask are:
How will I be trained?
Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?
3. Questions to Ask about Your Performance
Understanding how your performance will be measured is very important. Some questions to gauge this would be:
What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
What is the performance review process like?
4. Questions to Ask About the Interviewer
This shows you are interested in getting to know them and allows you a chance to build rapport with them and make you stand out. Here are some great questions to ask:
How long have you been with the company?
What is your favorite part of the company?
What did you do before this?
5. Questions to Ask About the Company
Great to learn about where you will be working and what they stand for.
Great questions to ask:
Where do you see this company in the next few years?
What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
What are the current goals and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
6. Questions to Ask About the Team/Culture
Company culture is so important to its good to learn about the team you will be working with on a day to day basis. Some examples:
Who will I report to directly?
Can you tell me about the team I will be working with?
What other departments work closely with this one?
What is different about working here than any other company you have worked at?
7. Lastly, Questions to Ask About the Next Step
This is great to find out what the next steps are and in return, it can give you insight on how the interview went.
Great questions to ask are:
Is there anything that concerns you about my background for this role?
What are the next steps in the interview process?
Can I answer any final questions for you?
In conclusion, I recommend looking over all of these questions and choosing the ones that are most important to you. If you find this blog helpful, stay tuned as we will be going over more tips to help you land your interview!