Dear Coach Wolfgang,
I have an interview coming up and someone mentioned that I need to ask questions of the employer. If I’m the one being interviewed, why do I need to ask questions?
Thank you for the question and congratulations on your interview! You received good advice. If you don’t ask solid questions during an interview you might as well kiss the job goodbye.
I’ve interviewed plenty of job candidates over the years. In one instance, the candidate I was interviewing did a fantastic job during the interview.
When asked if he had any questions, he replied with ‘No, I’m all set.’ This was a main factor in why the candidate did not get the job offer.
There are many good reasons to ask questions at the end of an interview. We are going to focus on the main two:
Show the Employer You Are Interested in the Position
Doing some research on the company and asking questions related to that research will show that you are serious about wanting to work at the company. Asking good questions demonstrates that you took the interview seriously and shows the motivation you have to land the job. It is important to ask questions about the future of the company or department because they demonstrate that you are a serious candidate who wants to invest in the company long term.
Will You Enjoy Working in this Position & for this Company
In an interview, not only are you interviewing for the position at the company, but also you are interviewing the company. Just because you are interested in a particular position does not mean you will be a good fit for that company. Also, the job description cannot tell you everything about the position. Ask questions that will provide you with more specific information about the job and the company. Write the answers you receive down so that you can review them later when a decision has to be made.
For further insight, review the scenarios below:
SCENARIO 1: Clarify Job Responsibilities
“Data analysis” is listed as one of the job responsibilities on a job posting you are interested in.
YOU ARE skilled at data analysis and don’t mind completing it, but it is not your favorite task.
YOU ASK the employer to break down the weekly responsibilities into major categories
YOU LEARN that data analysis is actually 55% of your daily tasks. Learning this information may influence your decision to accept the job.
SCENARIO 2: Evaluate Work Environment
The job description lists a desired skill as “is a team player”.
YOU ENJOY working with teammates in person and brainstorming ideas in groups.
YOU ASK a question regarding the team environment at the company.
YOU LEARN that 65% of your team members work virtually and you will only connect with them via teleconference. Learning this information may influence your decision to accept the job.
Tips For Formulating Interview Questions
- It is important to formulate 5-10 question in advance of the interview. Rank the questions by importance because you will likely not ask all of them.
- You will want to review the job description to see what information is missing that you would like to know more about.
- You will want to evaluate your work values (those things that are important to you in a job) and frame some questions around those values to see if they will be met in this job.
- You will also want to research the company and formulate some questions around what they do and where they are headed.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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