Making it to the interview stage of getting a job (or applying to Praxis!) is an exciting feat. You’ve managed to sufficiently communicate your skills and interests through either a pitch deck or a resume and now get the chance to meet with an interviewer. You spend the whole interview answering questions, selling your skills, and trying to convince her that you’re a good fit for the position.
You prepared well for the interview; you have the company’s website and your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile memorized. You don’t need to ask any questions, right?
You’ve probably heard that a job interview is similar to a date (or even read about it here on the Praxis blog). Would you want to go on a second date with someone who answered your questions all night but never once asked you about yourself? No!
Go one step further with your excellent preparation skills and write down a few questions to ask at the end of your interview.
Questions about your interviewer
This person just spent 30-60 minutes with you and is likely someone you’ll work with on a day-to-day basis if you get the job. Take a few minutes to find out her story! If nothing else, it’s an ego boost for the interviewer to leave the interview feeling like you care about more than listing off the reasons you want the job.
LinkedIn can tell you the chronological employment history of your interviewer, but it can’t fill in the details of her career journey. Take a few minutes to ask about those details. If you’re worried that asking those questions will make you look unprepared, there’s still a way to signal that you did your homework without skipping the end-of-interview questions. Instead of asking,
How did you end up at Company X?
I saw you worked at Acme before starting at Company X last year.
What made you want to join Company X?
Try to stay away from overly generic questions, especially if you don’t care about the answer. Asking questions for the sake of asking questions is probably worse than ending the interview without any. Remember, you want to leave the interviewer feeling good about you as a coworker.
Questions about the company
Similar to stalking someone’s LinkedIn, your knowledge of the company website isn’t as complete as that of someone who actually works there. There’s no better way to demonstrate your excitement for a company than to use the interview as an opportunity to learn.
What is the main focus of Company X for this year? What about the next 5 years?
Who is the biggest competitor and how is Company X differentiating itself?
Asking questions about the company’s future shows that you’re invested in more than just the immediate return of getting the job. No one wants to train a new hire just to have him leave a few months later!
The most important thing to remember is that there isn’t a magic list of questions that will guarantee you a job offer if you ask them. The best questions are customized to the company, to the interviewer, and to the conversation you’ve had already. Take the time to be genuinely curious and you won’t have any trouble coming up solid questions.