In addition to practicing your answers to specific questions before a job interview, it's also important to prepare some questions to ask the employer. Asking good, thoughtful questions shows your interest in the position and demonstrates the company research you’ve done.
You might ask questions to clarify information the employer has presented; questions regarding the employer's use of new technology or practices related to the field; and/or questions to assess the culture and direction of the organization. Here are some examples:
- Do you offer a training program? How long does it last?
- What kind of assignments may I expect during the first six months of the job?
- What products (or services) are in the development stage right now?
- Do you have plans for expansion?
- What are your growth projections for the next year?
- Why is this position open? Is it a new position (indicating growth) or a replacement position (why did the last incumbent leave)?
- What is the largest single challenge facing your staff (department, company, or industry)?
- What characteristics do top performers in this company seem to share?
- Why do you like working for this organization?
- How will my performance be evaluated? How frequently will I be evaluated?
Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits until an offer is presented to you. This includes questions regarding tuition reimbursement, vacation time, sick time, insurance benefits, relocation information and salary. Let the employer bring these topics up first.
At the close of the interview, we recommend asking one of the following questions so that you understand the employer’s decision-making and hiring process and timeframe:
- What is the next step in the interview process?
- Is there an appropriate time at which I can follow up with you?
- When do you expect to make your final hiring decision?
The employer may also ask you if you have anything else you would like to add or say. Again, it's best to have a response. You can use this opportunity to summarize your qualifications, reiterate your interest in the position, and thank them for their time. If you want to add information or emphasize a point made earlier, you can do that, too. This last impression is almost as important as the first impression. Some questions to consider:
- Are you comfortable that my experience and education meet the qualifications for this position?
- Do you feel that any of my responses could use some additional clarification?
- Would you be interested in seeing a portfolio of my work? (if appropriate)