Asking questions at the end of an interview?

Asking questions at the end of an interview? Should I or shouldn’t I?

Your job interview is winding up and the interviewer says: “Thank you for coming in today, do you have any questions for us?”  How should you respond?  The answer is – it depends on the situation

Situation 1 – Internal role – you already work in the company or organisation

Do not ask a question.  Chances are you already know the answer so don’t waste time by asking them something just for the sake of it.  Instead say “I have worked in the organisation for 7 years and in preparation for this interview I’ve spoken to several people who have already answered any questions I have, so I don’t have any questions at this point.”  They’ll appreciate your wish not to waste their time with unnecessary  questions.  If there is time, you may want to add a short snappy pitch as to what you can contribute to the role in place of a question.

Situation 2 – New employer 

Yes you should ask a question.  But make it a good one.  Don’t ask questions that you could find the answer to by spending a few minutes searching answers on the internet.  I met someone recently who couldn’t understand why “Who would you say are your main competitors?” was such a terrible question to ask at an interview.
Ask them something only someone working at the company can answer – eg questions about how the unit your are interviewing for is structured – how many staff? plans for expansion? recent hires? how does the onboarding work?
You can also refer to something that may have been in the news and ask them a question about how that might change things – eg I saw that you have recently won a licence to produce widgets for the North American market,  will that change the way production is currently being run at the plant?
If you are being interviewed by more than one interviewer via a panel interview be aware that questions about “What do you like most about working here” or “What attracted you to this company” won’t work as panel members may not be prepared to talk about that in front of colleagues.  Keep those “personal” style questions for when there is just one interviewer and even then be careful to read the signs.  Some interviewers don’t respond well to the tables being turned on them!

Situation 3 – can’t think of a question to ask but don’t want to appear disinterested in the job

There are two ways to tell them you don’t have any questions.  The first way is to just shrug and say “No” when you’re asked about questions. Bad idea. That really looks like you just couldn’t care less whether you get the job or not.   The second way is to say something like  “I have done a lot of research and preparation for this interview and I managed to find answers to all of the questions I had so no, I don’t have any questions for you at this point”
Never ask – “When will I hear if I was successful?”  You will hear when they are ready to tell you and asking about timing makes you sound as if you are unsure of yourself and not confident in your ability to be successful at interview.  Back Yourself.  Do your preparation in advance and you will do a great interview.
Hilt works with clients to prepare them to give excellent interview performances.    Contact us to find out how we can help you.