The Vice President closes her notebook and says she has no further questions. You sit back and let out a sigh of relief. You knocked that interview out of the park and now you can relax, right? Not exactly.
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions before the interview ends, it really isn’t considered optional. This is your time to show that you have researched the company and really understand their core values, mission, goals and objectives, major players, and key accomplishments.
In all actuality, you should want to ask questions. Never forget that you are also interviewing them (even in an employer’s market). You need to find out if the company’s goals and values fit those of your own. If you don’t, you may find yourself in the wrong job.
Here are some questions to get you started in the right direction. The key is to take these sample questions and personalize them to the company, by inserting the information you gathered during your research. You should also only ask questions that you care about. Don’t ask questions just because they sound good. You need to be genuine, well-prepared, and informed.
o What were your key accomplishments in 2009 (for the company, department)?
o What are your objectives for 2010 (for the company, department)?
o I noticed that your company won a quality award (insert any award) in 2009. Would you be able to tell more about that? If the interviewer is very interested in talking about this, you can also ask them who the major contributors in winning the award were, or any other details you feel are important.
o Are departmental projects usually single-owner, or more collaborative?
o How does this department support the overall mission of the company? This is a great place to insert any information you have learned about the company’s mission.
o Do you sponsor employee volunteer programs within the community? If you noticed on their website that they volunteer in the community, ask them for more information about that project.
o If I were to get this job, what would be my goals for the first 90-days? The first year?
o How would you define your management style?
o What are your expectations for your employees?
o What are the next steps in the interview process?
It is not recommended that you discuss benefits or salary with departmental interviewers. Reserve these questions for your Human Resources contact. Departmental interviewers may not be prepared to discuss salary ranges or benefits information, and the question may make them feel uncomfortable. If you have a pre-planned vacation, you should discuss it during the offer stage of the interview process.
Never ask any interviewer how much time paid time off employee’s get, when you can take your first vacation, or how many days you can miss during the first year.