In an interview our habit is to be responsive as opposed to proactive. That means our attention is focused on what’s being asked of us rather than the other way around.
This explains why when it comes to that final question -“do you have any questions for us?”- we’re often left as a stammering, reticent mess.
The truth is, the final question you ask of the interviewers helps cement their final impression of you. Consequently, there’s nothing more important than having a question in mind that will build upon the positive image you’ve been creating during the interview so far.
You want your interviewers to walk away thinking of you as a viable contender; one with an inquiring mind and who’s likely to continue looking for improvement (both for your own person and your company) once hired.
But what could or should your question(s) cover?
What are the problems that this company’s potential hire will solve? Why do they think you’re equipped to handle them? Or if they have concerns, what could you potentially do to alleviate them and what support will you (or the recipient of this role) receive?
What is it about this person, if they’re relevant to your role, that you’re curious to explore? What management style do they offer and how do they imagine it will mesh with your workflow, or impact upon it?
If you’re comfortable about them, what would you like to know in advance that you imagine might have an impact on how you work together — for example, do they prefer discussing things informally or do they encourage having a paper trail of your directions?
What’s it like to work in the organisation itself? Do you have any expectations or hopes for what the organisation offers?
(Keep in mind if you have any burning desires, it’s important to think about how you phrase these interests. Too much investment in having a ping pong table in the workplace could come across in a specific fashion to your employer, and you don’t want them to believe you’ll be disheartened if you aren’t given what you expect, either.)
4. Next steps
A self-explanatory addition to any savvy interview subject’s final questions toolkit. Effectively, this’ll allow the interviewer the opportunity to see that you’re focused on progressing with the interview process and are curious on what to expect next.
To a certain extent, it may also demonstrate a willing preparedness for what they’ll next have to send you; and may even kickstart their process of truly analyzing you as a candidate.
In all of this, however, there’s one key factor and question to keep at the top of your interviewers’ minds (and at the top of yours as well!).
This factor should in fact be implicitly addressed in all the questions you ask. It’s this: how will you help the company thrive, and in turn how will the company help you thrive?
This is, after all, the question the both of you are attempting to address: what will the benefits of hiring you be for both parties involved? Ensuring that the pair (or pack!) of you address this question early on will help ensure you understand what’s involved; and may also allow you the opportunity to elaborate on how you’re the right fit for this role.
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