A majority of candidates walk into an interview dressed professionally, with extra copies of their resume, and pre-rehearsed answers to questions the interviewer is likely to ask them. However, what many individuals fail to prepare for is the portion at the end of an interview when the interviewer asks, “What questions do you have for me?” This piece of the interview is just as important, if not more important than any other part of the interview process. This is your time to prove to them that you’ve done your research and you’re truly interested in learning more about this company and becoming a part of their team. These questions shouldn’t be drawn up last minute in the car on your way to the interview. The night before you should draft five to eight thoughtful questions, that reflect your sincere interest in the position and the company. Through our experience placing candidates, we’ve found that some individuals have been misguided on what questions are appropriate to ask the interviewer. For that reason we’ve outlined below 5 commonly asked questions that you should refrain from asking, and how to reword the questions so they’re appropriate.
“How many hours will I be expected to work each week?” This question can immediately give the interviewer a negative perception of you. This is because what you’re telling them is that you’ll be counting down the hours until you can leave work each day. That you care more about doing things outside of work than completing necessary tasks that contribute to the success of the company. This is not to say that you shouldn’t ask about work and personal life balance but by rewording the question you can get the information you’re looking for without implying that you have no work ethic. A replacement question that is much more appropriate would be, “What is a typical workday like?” Additionally, this provides you much more information about the position than just the number of hours they expect you to work each week.
“How often does the team hang out after hours?” Again, this is a question that would lead the interviewer to assume that you’re not necessarily interested in the responsibilities of the position but the social benefits. Considering that you will realistically spend more time with your co-workers than other people in your life this is a normal question to ask, but try rewording one of these two ways; “How would your team define the company culture?” or “How well does the team work together?” Both questions allow for open-ended answers so you’re likely to get the answer your original question asked, but it shows you care about the culture of the company, not just getting drinks after work.
“If this doesn’t work out, would you consider me for another position?” If you have not yet been told that you didn’t get the position it means that you’re still being considered. You want to be sure that you’re showing complete interest in the position you’re applying for because you feel it aligns perfectly with your skill set, and it would allow you to be a vital asset to the company. Asking about other position’s could lead them to believe you’d take any position no matter what the job description is. Instead of asking a question, and prying for reassurance that they most likely can’t or won’t give you, turn it into a statement by saying, “As a long-time admirer of your organization, I’ve been thrilled to meet with you today.” Many times if an interviewer had a great meeting with a candidate but doesn’t feel that they’re fit for that specific position, they will bring you back in for new openings. Wait until you know whether you’ve received the offer or not before you ask a question like this.
“Do I have the job?” Many people would think to themselves, “do people really ask that question?” And the answer is yes, they do. Even if you feel that you’ve had the best interview possible, and you have created a connection with the interviewer, this is not an appropriate question, and could completely ruin any positive feelings that were created. Not only does this question put the interviewer in an uncomfortable situation but it also makes them feel pressured to answer. Instead show your extreme interest in the position by asking, “What should the person in this role do to make his or her manager’s life easier?” Wording the question this way allows you to keep the focus on what you can do for the company. You’re still interviewing so it’s very important that with every question asked you can circle it back to how you would be an asset to the team.
And last but not least, when asked, “What questions do you have for me?” Do not say, none. This implies that you think you know everything there is to know about the company and the position, but seeing as you have never worked there you don’t. Be sure to show up with well thought out questions, and a goal as to what you’re trying to prove to them by asking those specific questions.
As always we’re here as a resource and would love to connect with you if we can be of any assistance!