You’ve come to the point in the interview where they have finished asking you questions, and they are asking if you have any questions for them. Now you can relax, right? Wrong! This question is just as important as the other questions. It is actually more important, because it is your last chance to make an impression on the interviewer. Consider these do’s and don’ts when choosing questions to ask the employer:
Don’t forget that the goal is still to sell yourself. While it appears that this is the ideal time to get your burning questions answered, it isn’t. Your first priority is to ask questions that demonstrate your knowledge, professionalism, and interest in the position. You can ask your burning questions after you receive a job offer.
Don’t ask “cookie cutter” questions. Everyone knows the standard questions that are provided in job search books or workshops. While some of these questions may be appropriate, you will sound less scripted if you ask an original question about the specific position or organization.
Do visualize yourself in the role. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the job. Visualize a typical day. Doing this exercise can give you a better sense of the challenges of the position and it can help you come up with role-specific questions.
Do use your knowledge of the role or the industry to come up with impressive questions. This will help you demonstrate that you are a good fit for the position.
Don’t ask questions about salary, benefits, or time off. You don’t want the employer to think that you are only interested in how the position will benefit you.
Do make sure that your questions are well thought out. Come to the interview armed with a few questions. If you come up with questions during the interview, ask them, but make sure that they demonstrate that you are positive, enthusiastic, professional, and well qualified for the job.
Don’t ask questions that can be answered with minimal research. You don’t want the interviewer to think that you haven’t even bothered to read the job advertisement or look at the web site.
Do ask questions that demonstrate that you’ve done research on the company. Show them that you have a bit of knowledge about the company. This will let them know that you are genuinely interested in the organization.
Approach this part of the interview with enthusiasm. It is an opportunity to open up a dialogue with the interviewer about the organization and the position. If you are lucky, you may get the interviewer excited about the position, or about a new direction for the organization. Enthusiasm is contagious, and if you ask the right questions, you may even get the interviewer excited about hiring you!
(Written by Karen Bivand)