In every job interview, there comes that fateful moment when the hiring manager has gone through all of their questions and flips the script on you by asking: Do you have any questions for us? We all know it's coming, but still, it can feel a little awkward figuring out what kind of questions to ask in these moments — aren't you the one being interviewed after all?
Well, not quite. There are two main reasons why you want to ask questions at the end of an interview. The first is that asking good questions is a great way to show off more about yourself and your values. The second is that job interviews shouldn't be so one-sided; you need to figure out if this job is a good fit for you, too.
Ahyiana Angel, businesswoman and host of the career podcast "Switch, Pivot or Quit," says that asking a question can allow you to show that you've done your research and that you're invested in the company. "It's important to show your level of interest as well as comprehension of the position and what is being expected of you," Angel tells POPSUGAR. Asking the right questions can do just that.
In addition to giving you one last chance to make an impression, asking questions at the end of your interview gives you the power to make sure this is the right job for you. Adunola Adeshola, career strategist and job search expert, says that this is a part of the interview where you can really learn a lot from the hiring manager. "Too often job candidates forget that the hiring process is a two-way street, but as much as interviews are a chance for companies to decide if they'd like to move forward with you, it's also a chance for you to determine if you'd like to move forward with them," she tells POPSUGAR. Here's what the two career experts had to say about coming up with questions for your interviewer and the different types of questions to focus on.
How to Come Up With Questions For the End of an Interview
If you're not sure what to ask when the hiring manager inevitably asks if you have any questions, the best thing to do is some preinterview research. Does the company have a mission statement on its website? Recent accomplishments or awards it likes to brag about? Maybe a reputation for a specific type of work culture? Try to identify what's important to the company and how it overlaps with your interests.
According to Angel, research is your first step when it comes to brainstorming questions. "You should always go into an interview with a few questions in your arsenal based on your research of the position and the company," she says. This can help you with your first goal, which is using questions to demonstrate your knowledge about and interest in the company. Get as nerdy and detail-oriented as you can and let your research shine through.
Then, think of the burning questions you have about what it's like to be an employee there. Adeshola says you want to "think through which questions will help you stand out and which questions will help you determine if the opportunity is right for you," and write down three to five for each category.
In terms of how to phrase these questions, Adeshola says that you should avoid leading questions and yes or no questions, especially when you're trying to gauge if the company is a good fit for you. "Ask open-ended questions that require the interviewer to give a free, candid response," she advises. "This will increase your chances of getting an honest answer that you can then use to determine if the details you've learned align with what you're looking for in your next role."
And keep in mind, you don't need to memorize them. It's totally OK to write your questions down and bring them with you to your in-person interview or have them beside you in a virtual interview. With thoughtful preparation, you won't feel caught off guard when it's your turn to ask some questions.
What Types of Questions Should You Ask in an Interview?
There are no hard and fast rules about what you have to ask at the end of an interview. You should try to ask a range of questions that show that you're interested and a good fit for the job as well as questions that will help you determine if this is a job you could see yourself at. If you're not entirely sure where to get started beyond the research phase, try asking questions about the following topics.
Ask the Hiring Manager About Themself
When in doubt, ask the hiring manager a question about themself. A general truism is that people love talking about themselves and their experiences, so a great way to build a sense of connection with the interviewer is to ask them about their specific experiences at the company.
Angel recommends people ask the hiring manager, "What are your personal goals within the company?" This question is both engaging and allows them to share what's important to them. Angel adds that it "helps you to understand the positioning and approach the hiring manager is taking with their career and since you will be reporting to them it matters for your career."
You can also ask questions like: What brought you to this company? What's something you didn't expect to love about working here but do?
Ask About Company Culture
There are a myriad of questions you can ask to better understand a company's culture. Angel suggests asking about a company's "top-down management style" because that will impact how you'll feel in your daily life there. Adeshola says that you can also ask questions about how a company looks to onboard and support employees during COVID-19, which can help you make sure you'll have the help you need as a new hire amid extra challenges.
Using your research on the company, Adeshola also suggests asking a question with the following format: "I noticed that you all are big of [pick an aspect of the company's culture you've discovered from your research], what other qualities are you looking for in the new hire that will make fitting in with the team a no-brainer?" This is one way you can demonstrate that you care about and understand the company, and you can learn more about what qualities will make you successful.
Company culture questions are a must because they can teach you a lot and help you in future rounds of interviews. "While companies want to hire someone who can get the job done, they also want to bring on great team members who align with the mission, goals, and culture," Adeshola explains. "Asking these questions shows the interviewer that you've done your research and gives you a better sense of what qualities are most important to them, which you can later emphasize in upcoming interviews."
Ask About Ways You Can Make an Impact
Asking about ways you can make an impact will not only come in handy if you get the job, but these questions can also give you a lot of insight into what will be expected of you.
Angel suggests asking what made the previous person in the role successful, and Adeshola says you can ask what their biggest priorities would be for you in the first ninety days. These questions will allow you to figure out how you'll be impactful in the job, and they also layout benchmarks for success. They communicate that you're already thinking about how you can be helpful at the company and that you're looking to make a splash right away.
Similarly, Adeshola says you can ask if the hiring manager has any concerns about your background being a fit for the role. By addressing the potential elephant in the room, she says "it gives you the chance to address it in a way that eases their worries and further shows that you'll be successful in the position, permitting both of you to leave the interview without any second thoughts." By bringing yourself into the questions, you can show that you really care about being a good employee and you can smooth over any concerns they might have.
No Matter What, Just Make Sure You Ask Something
Remember that end-of-interview questions can be a great opportunity to make a final good impression on your interviewer and get some answers. Though brainstorming your questions beforehand is a must, know that you have a lot of range in terms of what you can ask. "The scope of questions is limitless," Angel says. From asking about company values to their latest initiatives to metrics for success, just make sure you ask about what's important to you. "You're missing a great opportunity if you're not asking questions at the end of an interview," Adeshola says.