Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

'Do You Have Any Questions For Us?'

ARCHIVES
fizkes/Shutterstock.com

This question originally appeared on QuoraWhat reply does the interviewer expect when he asks “do you have any questions for us”?Answer by Ambra Benjamin, engineering recruiter at Facebook.

Almost every interview process will leave some time at the end of the interview (or each interview, if you’re partaking in a loop where you meet with multiple individuals) when you will undoubtedly be asked the question, “Do you have any questions?” It’s important to note throughout your entire career that when you interview for a job, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Moreover, any way you can demonstrate that you are taking the interview process seriously will only ever help, not hinder you.

Having well-thought-out questions to ask during your interview is part of the research process in you understanding if this company and role would be a good fit for you. I can think of a few times in my career when I completed my interview with a company and thought, “This is not going to be a good fit,” and completely withdrew myself from the entire process.

In preparation for your interview, you should do a lot of research on the industry (if you’re switching industries), the position itself, the company, their competition, their business model, and if you’re able to, you should also research the person with whom you are meeting. I’ve interviewed candidates who knew more about the company than even I did. If you’re going to research your interviewers, you’re doing so to be informed on their experience and perspectives, but also to identify potential commonalities. You may have mutual colleagues or have worked for the same company in the past, or have the same alma mater. Commonalities can help establish credibility. Word to the wise: If you’re going this route, keep it to the professional details and not the personal details, because nothing screams “crazy stalker” like leading your Q&A time with, “So I saw online that you have three kids…”

While some people are able to think on their feet and come up with questions during the interview itself, it’s highly advisable that you come with two to three prepared questions for your interviewer(s). This shows diligence, preparation, and seriousness to the interviewer.

My word of caution to those asking questions is to not be too generic or disingenuous. There’s nothing worse than a candidate asking a question when they really don’t care about the answer—fake questions do you and the interviewer no favors. There are also some questions that are mind-numbingly dull and unaffected, as if taken straight from a 1990s “How to Ace the Interview” manual. Questions like, “Do you like working here?” or “When can I expect to hear back with the results of the interview?” are fillers from which you gain little value.

Only you know what you want out of a job, but some of the possible questions I suggest are:

  • What does success in this role look like to you? or, How will performance be measured?
  • Why did you join this company, and what keeps you here?
  • What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about working here?
  • What do you wish you’d known when you first started in your role here?
  • What are the biggest challenges for the person who takes on this role?
  • What are this company’s/this team’s top three priorities over the next year?
  • What are some lesser-known facts about working at this company?
  • What are the habits of the top performers on your team?

You should also ask some domain-specific questions:

  • I read that you’ve recently implemented XYZ tool. What was the thought process behind choosing that product versus building a homegrown product that can be tailored to your needs?
  • Why have you chosen to have a centralized sales function vs. on-the-ground sales people in various regions?

Some edgier questions:

  • What’s been your biggest mistake here, and how did you recover from it?
  • I’ve noticed there’s recently been quite a bit of leadership turnover. Can you shed some light on that from an internal perspective?
  • What changes here could potentially lead you to want to leave the company?
  • What do you potentially see as my gaps as it relates to this role?

A funnier question:

  • If this company were an animal, what species would it be and why?

Be yourself. Ask a question that’s all your own and helps you obtain information that matters to you.

You can follow Quora on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec