At the end of a job interview, most interviewers will ask the candidate, “do you have any questions?”
We are not just being polite. This is part of the interview!
You are being assessed on the questions that you ask, or don’t ask.
I’ve worked with multiple startups in India, which has meant non-stop recruiting for many years now. Having interviewed thousands of job candidates, I can tell you that asking great questions is one of the best ways to stand out from other candidates.
In talent-crunched markets like India, a huge recruiting problem is that candidates accept offers and then shop the offer around to other companies. As a result, many recruiters will not move ahead with candidates who have no particular interest in the business but only seem to be looking for a job that pays more money.
Well-prepared, sincere questions allow you to demonstrate your interest in my company and the role we have open.
- Always ask questions
- Be prepared. You will need to research in advance.
- Don’t ask about functional stuff: office timing, holidays, policies, facilities (save this for once you have an offer, not the interview).
- If there are interview multiple rounds then you can ask the same questions to each interviewer. Never say “The last person answered all my questions”. Many candidates make the mistake of asking questions to the first and possibly most junior interviewer and then asking nothing to the later-round interviewers who are making the decision.
What questions should you ask?
You should ask questions that demonstrate your industry awareness, your long-term vision, and your drive to succeed. Here are some ideas, adapt them to your own style.
What are the company’s plans to deal with/adapt to (insert current industry trends/threats)?
This shows that (1) you are aware of what is happening in your industry, (2) you are thinking about the future, and (3) you want to be part of a company that is ready for the future.
How will I be assessed in my first 3 months?
Top performers become top performers by focussing on the things that matter. This type of question shows that you are thinking about the priorities and metrics of your work.
What career growth can I look at over the next few years at the company? What results will you expect from me to enable my career growth?
This shows that you are looking at the job as at least a medium-term role, and as a place where you can grow. This can lead to a conversation about your own ambitions and plans.
Interviewing is stressful for everyone, but it gets easier when you have done solid research on the company and the role and can use questions to illustrate your knowledge and ambition.