How to Answer “Do You Have Any Questions for Me?”

 

Though simple in theory, interviews can seem unnecessarily cryptic. With all the effort I put into each interview, I can feel disappointed when I don’t get the job.  But this is not a time to give up! Instead, I evaluate the interview and figure out where I went wrong, so I can improve for the next one.

It’s a brisk winter morning. I am wearing my lucky blue button-down so I look professional and feel confident. I check the public transit schedule and delay alerts, so I can arrive ten minutes before the interview starts. During the interview, I use the STAR method and provide the interviewer with examples of how I handle various situations. I checked the interviewer’s LinkedIn and Twitter last night, so I can easily establish common ground and create a comfortable atmosphere. Based on my research, I present compelling reasons why I’m a great fit for the company.

At this point, I’m confident I secured the job.

The interviewer scribbles some notes, looks up from his notepad and smiles. In my head, I’m thinking, he just wrote, “BEST CANDIDATE EVER. WE HAVE TO HIRE THIS GIRL NOW!” But then, he asks the most terrifying, unexpected question of all time: “Do you have any questions for me?”

...I weigh my options. I could respond with:

  1. “No, I don’t have any questions.”

  2. “No, I’m okay. You actually answered all my questions during the interview.”

  3. “Yes, actually,” and proceed to ask 4 to 5 questions.

  4. “What does salary look like for this position?”

Not wanting to take anymore of my interviewer’s time, I choose Option 2. We shake hands and I move on with my day. A few days later, I surprisingly received a note from my interviewer: “While I was impressed with your skill set, at this time we will not be moving forward with you for this opportunity.”

 Make like Migos - don't fumble the bag during your next interview.

Make like Migos - don't fumble the bag during your next interview.

“What did I do wrong?” I ask myself. Answer: I got the bag and fumbled it. In the song, “I Get the Bag,” Quavo melodically raps these wise words. Comparing money to a football, Quavo observes that many come so close to success or a big payout, but in the last minute, they lose it, thanks to clumsiness and poor planning. Quavo’s wisdom doesn’t end there. “I get the bag and flip it and tumble it,” he says. In plain English: Quavo is saying that he doesn’t fumble, but instead locks down his success and brings it home.

So how can I channel Quavo’s confidence in my interviews? How I can start strong and finish strong? By asking good questions at the end of an interview.

Asking questions is one of the most significant parts of an interview because it shows your true interest in the position and the company. An interviewer is always looking to confirm that you have the skills for the role, a willingness to learn, and passion for the company. Questions are a great way to prove that. If you’re not curious about the position or if the company is a good fit for you, it sends a message that you may just want a paycheck.

It is best to create a list of 4 or 5 questions before the interview actually starts. However, it would not hurt to bring a notepad and write down a few questions that come up while you are interviewing. Use the below list to prepare your questions!

Ask questions about yourself… and clear up any concerns the interviewer may have about you.

  1. Do you have any concerns about me or my past experience for this position?

  2. What skills should I work on to better prepare myself for the job if I were to get hired?

Ask questions about the company/position… and show that you’re serious about finding a great place to work long-term.

  1. How would you describe the company culture? The department's culture?

  2. What challenge is the team currently facing?

  3. What is the most impressive accomplishment a previous employee has made in this position?

  4. Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?

  5. What does onboarding and training look like for a new hire in this position?

  6. Does this company have any employee resource groups I can get involved in?

  7. What is the turnover rate like for this position? What do people typically do in their next role?

  8. What metrics and goals would I be expected to reach?

Ask questions about the interviewer... and strengthen your personal connection with the interviewer.

  1. What is your experience like working here?

  2. Has your role changed in any way since you started working here?

  3. How long have you been with the company?

  4. What did you do before this?

And don’t ask… questions that are overly focused on salary or amenities (save those for later conversations or after you’ve got the offer), or reveal that you’re unaware of the company’s purpose.

  1. What does this company do?

  2. What salary should I expect?

  3. What type of insurance does this company offer?

  4. Can I work from home?

Remember, the goal is not just to show the company you’re great, but to also figure out if the company actually suits you as well. Your skill is valuable, and any company would be lucky to have you. Happy interviewing!

 
Rizel Bobb-Semple