Your interview seems to be going well so far. You’ve aced the tech screening, the hiring manager loved your joke about the monkey and the coding test, and you’ve gone into detail about your role in a few impressive projects. Next comes the end of the interview button that you’ve forgotten all about: Do you have any questions? You stare blankly at the hiring manager. Suddenly you’re nervous and you have no idea what to ask. Instead of putting yourself in this panic-ridden situation, go into the interview prepared to ask a few killer questions.
Ask nothing and you’ll gain nothing. Hiring managers may think you’re uninterested in the position if you don’t have any questions. Similarly, asking a bad question may reflect just as poorly on you. You won’t want to make a misstep in this part of the interview, as it is often the last impression they have of you before you walk out the door.
So what constitutes a bad question? In general, any question you could have Googled the answer to before entering the interview is a bad idea. For example asking, “what do you guys do here?” or “how long have you guys been around?” will make you look unprepared for the interview. Make sure to thoroughly research the company before your interview so that your questions engage with the information you already know about the company instead of establishing a base of knowledge after you’ve interviewed (and presumably expressed enthusiasm about the role).
The best questions to ask revolve around information you’ve gained in the interview. Maybe you were told about the position but not who you’d report to. Maybe you were told about the current project you’d be coding for but not what the company hopes to develop in the future. Having a hidden arsenal of go-to questions are great for when you draw a blank but the best end-of-interview questions come from a genuine, established curiosity on something you heard or didn’t hear during your interview.
If you’re drawing a blank, one of the following five questions are sure to get you brownie points and valuable insight into the position:
1) How would you describe your company’s culture?
2) What would a typical workday look like in this position?
3) What traits, skills and experience would your ideal candidate bring to this role?
4) Does your company encourage education or ongoing training?
5) What is your favorite part about working here?
Once your questions are answered, you may be feeling pretty good about yourself. You did it! You finished the interview without choking at the end and expressed your genuine interest in the role. Congrats! But wait—there’s one more question, arguably the most important, that you’ve left out.
“This position sounds perfect and I’d love a chance to work for a company as awesome as yours, when can I start?”
If you want the role, you’re doing yourself a disservice by leaving out the above question. After all, you’re on an interview not a first date. Playing coy in this scenario won’t get you anything. While being direct may not automatically get you the job, it will cement you in the employer’s mind as someone really passionate about this opportunity. You will seem driven, determined and bold, all of which are tremendous qualities to bring to any IT team.
You can never be too prepared for an interview and these questions will be the difference between making a disappointing final impression and being the most enthusiastic, memorable candidate they’ve seen yet!