How to Answer “Do You Have Any Questions?” at an Interview
Job interviews are stressful for everyone. It’s frightening to sit and talk about yourself, all the while wondering if you’re making a good impression. And then you hear the dreaded phrase, “do you have any final questions?”
Interviewing for a new job doesn’t have to be so nerve-wracking. With practice, you can gain the confidence to ask the right questions and make a great impression, and it always comes down to preparation.
Let’s start with the basics.
If you’re not willing to dress appropriately for an interview, odds are that your resume is going straight into the trash. When in doubt, go for “business dress.” Being overdressed (not counting formal wear) is always preferable to being underdressed.
Prepare Your Resume
Employers often meet with dozens of people–without documentation of your having been there, you’re not going to stand out. So bring an extra copy of your resume, and be prepared to back up every line with examples and explanations of your qualifications.
Research the Company
You don’t want to be the interviewee who says, “Really? Your company does that?” Instead, you want to be able to ask intelligent, informed questions about the job you are interviewing for and the company with whom you are applying. Additionally, by conducting research into the company, you’ll naturally come across some questions of your own—these are exactly the kinds of questions that show interviewers that you’ve shown an interest in their company.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer at the End of a Job Interview
Here’s a common scenario we’ve all been through. The interviewer is wrapping up his or her questions with some casual small talk. You breathe a quiet sigh of relief—for better or worse, it’s over. Then they hit you with possibly the worst deer-in-the-headlights-inducing question in the history of mankind: “Do you have any questions for me?”
What do you say? Do you give a polite “no” and flee the building, hoping that your credentials, resume, and answers to their questions will make a good enough impression to get you the job? No. Absolutely not.
There are a few reasons that interviewers ask you this question. They want to test how much you know about the company, for instance, and thereby learn how much effort you’ve already been willing to put in. This helps them gauge how hard you might work if they gave you the job.
Another reason that potential employers might ask this question is that they want to give you the opportunity to stand out. Asking questions in an interview—informed, intelligent questions, that is—can make you stick in the interviewer’s mind.
A third reason is that the interviewer wants to be sure that you’ve been paying attention in the interview—again, to see how well you might pay attention at work if they hired you. If you ask questions or ask for clarifications on things the interviewer has already said, this shows them that you are able to focus and pay attention.
So what kinds of questions should you ask in an interview? There are three categories that your questions may fall into.
1. Questions about the job itself
It’s natural that you would want to know as much as possible about the job you’re applying for. Ask about how the team you’ll be working in is structured, or what the hours generally run to. Ask about what your responsibilities would be in real, understandable terms—and if you don’t understand the answer, ask for an answer in layman’s terms. It’s important that you understand the answers that are given.
2. Questions about the company as a whole
While you’ve done your research, there still may be questions that you want to ask about the company. For instance, do they promote people based on seniority, or on the work they produce? What is the culture like among the workers? These kinds of questions may be especially useful to you.
3. Questions about the interview process
If this is your first interview and you’re applying with a larger company, you’re likely to have more than one interview. Even if you don’t, you’re unlikely to be given a job on the spot. Ask the interviewer what comes next: phone interviews, person-to-person interviews, time while they decide, or something else? Understanding their process will help keep you sane while you wait, and asking about it shows that you care about this particular job.
Above all, try to keep calm in a job interview. Remember: the worst thing they can do to you is not hire you. Keep your anxiety down and your chin up!