The interview is starting to wrap up and you’ve absolutely smashed it. You answered all of their questions fully, you had a great rapport going with the interviewer and you feel like it went really well. In fact, you’d be shocked if you didn’t get a reply later today at least offering a second interview. But, all of a sudden, you’re hit with the gut-punch:
“Did you have any questions for us?”
You stutter. “Umm…” Time has stopped. You researched this role perfectly but, in your excitement about landing a chance for your dream job, you forgot to pen down some questions to ask for the end. You know how important it is to have questions to ask in an interview; it’s the best way to show off your true passion for this role. But now you’re going to blow it.
It’s the worst possible way to end an interview to not ask something of the interviewers. As with any job, having specific questions about the role to ask is the best option to demonstrate your interest but, in the event you forget to do so, or if all of these questions genuinely get answered during the interview, it can be useful to have some questions to fall-back on.
Do NOT ask about money
Whatever you end up asking, make sure it is NOT money. Of all the questions to ask in an interview, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not say anything about the pay package. By doing so, it suggests to the employer that this is where your priorities lie, rather than making a difference in the company. It also tells them that you forgot to write questions down, again suggesting an indifference to the job. I would say it’s preferable to not ask a question at all than to ask about money.
Take an interest in the employer
By turning the focus back on the employer, you’re given a whole new set of questions to ask in an interview situation. This could be almost anything from “What’s your specific role” to “Do you enjoy working here?” all the way to “What’s the Friday night pub trip like?” The beauty of these questions is that it a) shows off an interest in the interviewer, their life and the company but also b) you get a genuine insight (albeit filtered through someone else) of what it might be like to work here, which is invaluable to you in learning whether or not you want to work there too.
Extra-work opportunities & expectations
Similar to the last questions, asking about the extra-work expectations can provide you with knowledge about what it’s going to be like to work there. You’ll have an employee telling you how many hours of overtime you might have to do, how often you might have to do it, and the reward for doing so. However, by framing these questions as ‘opportunities’, you’re able to show a willingness to work hard and also that you’re not afraid of the extra hours.
Long-term workplace mobility
Of all the other questions to ask in an interview, aside from money, this is the riskiest. It’s an important piece of information that you realistically need to know but, if you’re not careful with how you phrase it, you could inadvertently indicate to an employer that you’re not invested in the job at hand. It’s important to stress that you truly want to get the job you’re looking at, but that you’re also considering a long-term career in the company and so you want to know what sorts of internal opportunities are afforded to you by working there. Provided that you make your good intentions clear, this will show a dedication to the company and demonstrate your commitment to the company, even though you don’t even work there.
This list has mostly been questions to ask in an interview when you’ve forgotten to prepare for it. However, in an ideal world, you’ll have prepared some specific questions about the company/ industry that you’re applying for. This can be anything from asking about what clients they have (although they’re unlikely to tell you) to what their turnover was last year. The key to asking specific questions is asking about things you’re genuinely interested in; by doing this, you’ll be able to have a personable conversation with the interviewer about what you’re truly interested in.
This isn’t the be all and end all of questions to ask in an interview, and I can’t guarantee it will be the icing on the cake to getting that job, but it certainly beats sitting in that chair and saying nothing.