You landed the interview. You showed up early, not just on time. You wore a suit, you didn’t spill your coffee down your shirt. You answered every question they asked with specific, concrete details. You wowed them.
But you look at the clock … there are still ten to fifteen minutes between you and the end of your interview time slot.
Ten to fifteen minutes, and all they have left is, “Do you have any questions?”
Of course, you have questions. Well, really one question. Did I get the job?
Somehow, you know that’s not the kind of question they’re looking for.
When it comes to acing the question-asking portion of the interview, the magic doesn’t happen in that last ten to fifteen minutes. Instead, the magic happens the moment you submit your resume. That’s the moment that resume prep ends, and your interview research begins.
You’re going to create a spreadsheet, you’re going to gather information. By the time you walk into that interview, you’re going to know the cost of living for the area vs. the proposed salary, the origin story for the company, and the essential tasks required for the job. And you’re going to know how to ask the right questions.
The secret to asking a good question is curiosity and knowing something about your audience.
You need to appear interested, but not clueless. Invested, but not desperate. Intelligent, but not a know-it-all.
Is this starting to sound like advice for a blind date?
Maybe blind dates and interviews have more in common than meets the eye.
You’re looking to build a relationship with these people. They may be your future bosses or colleagues. They are the ones who will represent who you are to the rest of the company. If you want to give them something good to represent, go in there knowing at least three questions you want to ask, and come up with a fourth based on the interview.
When it comes to your pre-planned questions, start by looking at what the company says about itself. Look at their website, their brand statement, and the ways they are looking to grow. Do they partner with community organizations? Do they have some kind of outreach program? Do they list something about market expansion? Research these organizations, their community, and that new market… Develop a question or two based on what they’ve made available, and where you’d like to help them grow further.
Another question or two for your quiver comes from where you want to be in a few years. You survived the question about your long-term goals and five-year plan… so turnabout is fair play. Ask about how they mentor and grow their employees. What is the career trajectory for the last person to hold your position? What was most surprising for them when they started working for the company? What have they learned as a part of working with this team?
Asking a question is only frightening if you’re asking an audience that doesn’t care. These people care. They want to find the right fit for their company, they want their team to be a success. Come in with a few research-based questions in hand, and you’ll show them you’re committed to their growth. You’ll show them that you’re employee material.
Story by Emilie Duck