One of the bigger mistakes job seekers sometimes make in an interview is to not ask questions when given the opportunity.
It’s very common near the end of most job interviews for the interviewer to ask something like…
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Unfortunately, sometimes the response is along the lines of…
“No, I think we covered everything!”
“No, I’m all set!”
Those kinds of answers can often bring the hiring process to an end.
Having no questions when prompted is likely to be interpreted as:
- Not enough interest in the position or company to want to learn more
- General lack of curiosity or desire to gain more knowledge
- Over-confidence that an offer is inevitable
- or… Not having a clue about what may be important!
As a recruiter, I have the opportunity to debrief with my client, the employer, after my candidates interview. Over the years, there have been occasions when the feedback I received has been along the lines of…
“I thought the interview was going well, however, when I asked if they had any questions, they had none for me. If they don’t have enough interest to ask any questions, they aren’t the right fit for us.”
Always ask questions… even if you think you already know the answers! However, be wise about them…
- Ask questions appropriate to the positions level and responsibilities. Asking about the company’s marketing strategy when interviewing for a Staff Engineer role and meeting with an Engineering Manager, comes across as irrelevant and contrived.
- Don’t ask questions that were already answered previously in the interview. Coming to the interview prepared with questions to ask is a good idea. Asking one of those prepared questions even though it was already discussed earlier seems like a lack of listening.
- Come prepared with a list of questions to be asked when given the chance. It shows the employer that thought went into the process before the interview. It shows you prepare. When the opportunity arises, it’s impressive to proceed with something like…
“As a matter of fact, I do have some questions. I prepared a number of things I’d like to ask. We already discussed this one, and this one, however, one thing we didn’t touch on was…”
You will not likely have time to ask more than 3 to 4 questions. However, it’s a very good idea to prepare 15 to 20 so that regardless how much is covered in the interview, you will still have other topics to ask about.
Never take the opportunity to ask questions too lightly. It’s not just for your benefit that they ask, it’s a continuing part of their evaluation process of you. The curiosity, interest, passion and appropriateness of your questions tells them a lot about you as a candidate.
When given the opportunity… remember that there’s Questions Required!