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As your next interview comes to a close, the hiring manager will ask you, "Do you have any questions for me?" While it's tempting to answer with a polite "No thanks," you should always ask questions.
This common interview question is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce why you're a good fit for the position and get information about things the hiring manager didn't cover during the interview process.
The importance of asking questions during job interviews
It's important to ask questions during job interviews because it shows your interest, provides a chance to learn more, and ends the discussion on a high note.
If you don't ask questions, the interviewer might think you haven't done your homework or aren't interested in the opportunity.
Both are red flags for potential employers.
In contrast, asking good questions can help you stand out from other candidates. Good questions show the hiring manager you've thought about the role, its day-to-day responsibilities, and how you could contribute to the company.
Asking questions also helps you learn more about the company, role, and team you could be joining. You should be interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.
Specific questions about the company's culture, most significant challenges and employee experience can give you a clearer picture of what it'll be like to work there and, more importantly, whether you'll enjoy it. There's nothing worse than accepting a new job only to find out you're not a good fit.
Finally, thoughtful questions end the interview on a high note. Thoughtful questions break up the monotony of an interviewer's day and demonstrate why you're the best candidate.
Ending the interview on a high note is important because of a psychological heuristic called the peak-end rule. People judge experiences mainly on how they feel at the peak and the end. Because of primary and recency biases, we tend to have better memory at the beginning and end of an event.
These biases help us understand why the start and end of interviews are so important!
Why do employers ask, "Do you have any questions for me?"
Employers ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" to allow you to ask questions, assess your interest in the role, see if you've been listening, and determine if you've researched the company.
Hiring managers know the best candidates are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing candidates. Good interviewers let candidates guide the conversations to areas that are important to them so they can sell the benefits of joining the company.
Your questions also help interviewers understand if and why you're interested in the role and company. One of the most significant predictors of success in a position is internal drive due to passion for the company's mission, culture, or values.
Employers want to see whether you've been actively listening during the interview process. If you ask questions about topics they've already outlined in the interview, they'll know you haven't been listening as well as you could have.
Finally, the questions you ask also provide clues about the extent of your research into the company. If you don't have any or are generic, it shows the interviewer that you didn't do your homework.
In contrast, if you ask pointed questions about the company's culture, mission, values, products, or competitors, they'll know you invested time researching the company before your job interview.
How to answer "Do you have any questions for me?"
Follow the process below to answer "Do you have any questions for me?"
1. Prepare for the question
You know this question is coming, so there's no excuse to be unprepared. Read through our list of the best questions to ask in an interview. A good rule of thumb is only to ask open-ended questions, as you can typically answer yes or no questions with Google.
Prepare at least ten questions beforehand. A good list of questions is essential because the interviewer will cover a lot during the interview process, and you may unknowingly answer your questions. It's better to have too many than too few.
You don't need to memorize all your questions. It's OK to write them down in your phone or notebook and review them in the interview. For many interviewers, showing you have prepared questions is a good thing as it shows you've thought about the opportunity ahead of time.
It's also essential to prioritize your questions based on which ones are most important to you, as you probably won't get to ask everything. Ask questions that demonstrate that you've been actively listening and care about the opportunity.
2. Research the company and your interviewer
You need to research the company and interviewer before your interview and then use the information you learned from your research to adapt your questions to the specific opportunity.
You're wasting the interviewer's and your time if you ask questions whose answer is on their website or available on Google. Research is the easiest way to stand out as a candidate.
The research also helps you understand the company's history, mission, and values, and most importantly, whether it's a place you want to work.
Read the job description first. It's a wish list of skills, experience, and qualities the hiring manager wants. If you understand what they want, you can use it to ask questions that show you've been thinking about how you could contribute to their mission.
After reading the job description, head over to the company's website read a few blog posts, the product pages, and customer testimonials. If possible, find any interviews with the CEO, a member of the senior leadership team, or your interviewer.
Use the information you gather to shape your questions and prove that you invested time learning about the company and how they fit into the industry.
It's also important to understand who will be interviewing you. Your interviewer will research you before the interview to get a sense of who you are. You should return the favor as it'll help you connect with them during the interview.
If you've been sent a calendar invite for the interview, it should include the interviewer's name. Pop it into Google and look at their LinkedIn profile and other public social media accounts to learn about their background, education, and shared interests.
You should also tailor your questions based on where you are in the interview process.
For example, suppose you're doing a screening interview with a recruiter. In that case, you might focus on the hiring process and why they're hiring the position.
If you pass the screening interview, you'll want to ask specific questions about the job description, position expectations, and day-to-day responsibilities.
3. Conduct a mock interview
Once you've got your set of questions and completed your research, it's a good idea to conduct a mock interview. Interviewing is stressful, but mock interviews can help by simulating actual job interviews by having a career counselor, family member, peer, or colleague pose as the interviewer.
Invest time into preparing a set of common interview questions for your interviewer to ask you, including "Do you have any questions for me?"
Choose questions that relate to the company and role, and give your interviewer an overview of the company and position so they can assess whether your answers are relevant.
What should questions should I ask in an interview?
The questions you ask should show that you've done your research, were actively listening in the interview, and have thought about how you could contribute to the company's goals, priorities, and culture.
The best way to do this is to ask a mix of questions you prepared before the interview and questions that reflect on things said earlier in the discussion.
Pro tip: Always ask open-ended questions as they keep the conversation following and give the interviewer the greatest opportunity to answer your question adequately.
Below we've outlined a few broad categories and some great questions. Read our guide on the best questions to ask in an interview if you need more inspiration.
Questions about the role
Questions about the role are an excellent opportunity to show the interviewer that you've already started thinking about how you could contribute. You'll also learn valuable, personalized information about the role and company that isn't publicly available.
Your questions could include:
- Can you share more about day-to-day responsibilities? What is a typical day? A job description can only tell you so much. This question helps you understand how you'd spend your time.
- What are the biggest challenges I would face in this job? This question helps you assess whether your skills, prior experience, and personality are a good fit for the role.
- What attributes would I need to be successful in this position? The answer to this question helps you understand whether you have what it takes to be successful if the company hires you.
- What gaps are you looking to fill with this role? It's a great question if you want to understand why they are hiring for the position and whether you can help out.
- Do you expect the primary responsibilities to change in the next six months to a year? An excellent way to get a handle on the pace of change in the role and at the company.
- What would you like me to achieve in an ideal world in my first 90 days? Any hiring manager would be happy to answer this question as it shows you've been actively thinking about the role and how you slot in. We recommend reading The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins to learn how to get up to speed faster.
- What is the most important indicator for success in this position? Knowing what you need to focus on can help you onboard faster and get quick wins.
- What are your short- and long-term goals for this position? Knowing what you need to achieve in the short-term helps you add value faster, and knowing what you need to focus on over time enables you to see where you need to end up.
- What's the career path for someone in this role at this company? Asking about the career path at the company is a great way to show you're interested in growing at the company, rather than using it as a stepping stone.
- What other functions or departments would this role work with, and do you have any tips to collaborate with each team effectively? Asking about how to collaborate with other departments shows you're already thinking about how you'd fit in.
- Can you tell me about the history of this position? A high turnover rate could indicate lousy management, unclear expectations, or a high-stress role. In contrast, if the company consistently promotes people in the role, it's probably a great place to work. If the function is new, it shows the company thinks it is a crucial role to fill.
- Can you describe your onboarding process? Some companies throw you into the deep end while others slowly ramp you up over time.
- Does the role has established objectives and key results (OKRs)? Knowing what your OKRs will be can help you assess whether you'll be able to achieve them with your current skills and experience.
- How big is the budget for this role? This question is essential if you're applying to functions where you need to spend money to achieve a goal, such as performance marketing.
Questions about you
When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, you can use the opportunity to get a sense of how the interviewer thinks you did by asking:
- Have I answered all your questions? If the interviewer says no, follow up and ask what questions you haven't answered!
- Do you have any concerns about my candidacy? You can quell their concerns on the spot and your thank-you email if you know their concerns.
- Am I missing any crucial qualifications or experience? No candidate ticks all the boxes, so the answer will likely be yes, but you may be able to use this question to highlight similar qualifications or experiences you have.
- Is there anything else you'd like to know about me? Don't respond with this question right away, as it can make it seem like you're avoiding their question, but it's OK to ask after a few good questions.
- Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of getting hired? Always ask this question as there might be something you missed that'll land you the role.
Questions about training and professional development
You can also use this question to get a sense of how you'll be able to level up once you're an employee of the company. It's a good idea to preface these questions by expressing how excited you are about the role. Otherwise, you risk coming across as self-serving. Here are a few common questions:
- Is there a budget for continuing my education? If continually upskilling is vital to you, it's a good idea to understand whether or not there is a budget in place to support your education once employed.
- Do you generally promote from within or hire outside expertise? This question can help you understand the company culture and whether they promote junior employees or look outside the company.
- What is the last person who had this job doing now? If the previous person who had the job has been promoted or fired, you probably want to know.
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement? A great question to ask if you want to understand how you could grow and advance in your career based on taking the job.
- What career paths are available at the company? Some companies have structured career paths, while other companies are less structured. Neither is inherently better than the other, but it's good to understand before accepting the job.
- Do you and the company support lateral movement within the company? Asking about lateral moves can be tricky. You don't want to make the interviewer think you're using them to get into the company. If you are, it's best to be upfront about it!
Questions about performance
Understanding what success looks like is one of the easiest ways to succeed in a role. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable position because you thought the company measured your success against something else. Ask questions like:
- What do I have to do to succeed in this role? If the interviewer can't answer this question, it's a potential red flag. If they don't know what success is, how will you?
- What metrics or goals will you use to evaluate my performance? This question can help gauge how sophisticated the company is with its internal reporting.
- How do you run performance reviews, and when would my first one be? Asking this question highlights your drive to succeed in the role.
- Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do to get up to speed quickly? A great way to stand out as a potential candidate is to show you're already thinking about how you can contribute.
- How do I compare with the other candidates you've interviewed for this role? Some interviewers might not want to share this with you, but it's always handy to know how you stack up.
- What were my best answers in this interview? You can use the answer to this question to shape your future discussions even if you don't get the job.
Questions to ask about the interviewer
Use the opportunity to find out why the interviewer joined the company, what they like about it, and why they continue to work there:
- What do you enjoy most about working here? Asking people what they like helps you grasp the good parts of the company and why the interviewer likes working there.
- Why did you join this company? It's always good to know why people decided to join the company.
- Do you think I will be a good fit for the company? It's good to get a feel of the company culture and whether or not you'd be a good culture fit.
- What do you find most challenging about working for this organization? A great question to get at the heart of potential issues that the company might not disclose during the interview process.
- How would you describe the company culture? What the company says their culture is can differ from how employees describe it. It's often better to get a direct answer from your interviewer.
- What are your day-to-day responsibilities, and how would you envision us working together? It's always good to learn how your potential manager likes to work with other people and whether you're a good fit.
Questions to ask about the company
While you should have researched the company, there is only so much you can gather from their website, listening to podcasts, and reading blog posts. If you've got pressing questions about strategy, whether they've got product-market fit, or their growth rate, ask questions like:
- What's the future strategy of the company? This question can tell you a lot about the company and where it plans to go. If the interviewer can't answer this question clearly, it could be a sign of poor management.
- Do you have product-market fit? This question only applies to startups but is helpful as different skills are needed before and after product-market fit.
- Could you please expand on what you mentioned about growth plans and company vision? A well-run company will be able to answer questions about current growth plans and their ultimate company vision.
- Does the company have a high turnover rate? Understanding if the company has high turnover is essential as it can be a big red flag.
- What makes people stay at this company? If the company has a lot of long-term employees, it's a sign of good management.
- How would you describe the company's management style? Different companies have different management styles, and it's essential to know what it is before you join to see if you are compatible.
- What is the company's biggest challenge? A fantastic way to advance in your career is to work on the company's biggest challenge.
- What is the company focusing on this year? Companies often have yearly goals, and if you know what it is before you join, you can start thinking about how you can contribute.
- What are the long-term growth goals for the company? This question helps you give the impression you're interested in growing with the company over the long term.
Questions to ask about the team
Your team will make up a big part of your work life, so it's essential to understand what they're like, how they work, and what you'll expect. Use the following questions:
- Can you tell me about my potential team and manager? If your interviewer isn't the hiring manager, it's good to ask this question to get an initial idea of who you'd be working with daily.
- Who would I report to in this role? It is essential to find out who your manager would be, what they're like, and whether you'll get along!
- How many people work on the team? Important to ask if you care about the size of the team you'll be joining.
- What tools and technology do the team use? If there are tools or technology you like using, it's a good idea to see whether or not the company is using them too. If they are, it's an excellent way to stand out from other candidates.
- What are the founders' backgrounds? Generally only crucial if you're joining a startup or a founder-led company, but very important if you are.
- What are the backgrounds of the people on your team? The quality of your team is a bit part of the quality of your work, and if the unit is good, you could work with them for the rest of your career (at the company or different companies).
Questions to ask about company culture
Beyond the team you are working on, company culture plays a massive part in how much you enjoy work. Use these questions to get a grasp on company values and how they treat their staff:
- What are this company's core values? If you have a robust set of values, it's a good idea to try to find a place to work that has values that match your own.
- What is the general level of socializing? Do people come to work then go straight home, or do people hang out after work and on the weekends? Neither option is better than the other, but you may prefer one option over the other.
- How would past employees describe the company? We feel this is an excellent question that job seekers don't use enough. If past employees sign praise about the company, it's probably a fantastic workplace.
- What is the policy on remote work? If you care about working remotely, it's a good idea to get a handle on whether or not the company supports remote work.
- What is the company culture? What is your favorite thing about it? Company culture is essential when making a career move. There's a massive difference between working at a company that expects you to work 60 hours a week and one that is flexible on hours worked.
Questions to ask about next steps
To get clarity on the next steps and whether you've missed anything, we recommend asking the interviewer the following questions:
- What are the next steps? Get an understanding of what might happen next. Will you be invited to meet more of the team? Is there another round of interviews? Find out and set your expectations accordingly.
- What's your timeline for the next steps? There's nothing quite as frustrating as being ghosted after an interview. Knowing the timeline for the next steps can help you understand when to write your follow-up email if you haven't heard back.
- Is there anything we haven't covered that you think is essential to know about working here? Ask this question as there might be something you need to know that the interviewer has forgotten to tell you.
- Is there anyone else you'd like me to meet? Sometimes, the interviewer will want you to meet the rest of the team, the CEO, or another senior leadership team member. If you know ahead of time, you can prepare for the next stage.
- How soon would you like me to start if you offer me the job? You'll need to know how much notice to give your current employer and whether you can start as soon as they would like.
Tips for answering "Do you have any questions for me?"
- Research the company: If you don't research the company, you're wasting your and your interviewer's time. The research helps inform your questions and prevents you from asking questions you could answer with Google.
- Prepare questions: A good list of questions is essential because interviewers will answer many of your questions throughout the interview process. It's always better to have too many questions than too few.
- Bring your questions: You don't need to memorize your questions. It's OK to write them down and bring them with you. A list of prepared questions shows interviewers you've thought about the opportunity.
- Tailor your questions to the company, role, and interviewer: Just as you tailor your answers to interview questions, you should tailor your questions to the company, position, and interviewer. You'll stand out from other candidates if you can ask questions that focus on the specific opportunity.
- Ask open-ended questions: You want to allow your interviewer to answer your question with as much context as possible. Always opt for open-ended over yes or no questions.
- Listen to avoid asking redundant questions: Actively listen throughout the interview to ensure you're not asking questions the interviewer has previously answered. If you want more context about a particular topic, it's OK to ask, but make it clear that you're asking for additional information.
- Ask questions based on what you've discussed in the interview: One of the best ways to show you actively listen is to ask questions based on what the interviewer has said to you.
- Conduct a mock interview: Interviewing is stressful, but preparation can make you more comfortable. Mock interviews are the ideal way to practice for real interviews because they mimic companies' actual interview process, and you can receive feedback to improve your performance.
- Don't wait until the end to ask questions: It's best if you don't save all your questions until the end, as you'll likely run out of time. If an interviewer is talking about a specific topic, feel free to ask them any relevant questions.
Mistakes to avoid when answering "Do you have any questions for me?"
While you shouldn't be afraid to ask tough questions, there are some general things you should avoid:
- Not having questions: You know this question is coming, and interviewers expect you to have questions, don't make the mistake of not having any.
- Asking questions you could answer yourself: If you can answer your question with a quick Google search or by reading the company's website, skip it. The interview is your opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the company from someone who works there. Simple questions can also indicate to the interviewer that you haven't taken the time to do your research.
- Complicated or multi-part questions: They're hard to follow and even harder to answer. Try to keep each question focused on a specific point.
- Yes or no questions: Most yes or no questions can be answered by Google or by reading the company's website. Ask questions that open up the conversation and help you get an inside look into the company.
- Asking what the company does: This is a huge red flag that you haven't done your research. You should always show respect to yourself and the company you're interviewing with by investing time into researching the company before you apply.
- Self-serving questions: While it's OK to ask about salary, health insurance, vacation time, and other perks, remember that the main point of a job interview is to demonstrate you're an excellent fit for the company.
- Personal questions and gossip: This is one you'll have to play by ear, some interviewers like talking about their personal lives before, during, or after an interview, while others prefer to avoid it. Use your judgment.
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