Take this common interview question—which usually comes at the very end of the interview—as one final chance to dazzle the interviewer. When they ask if you have questions, they’re setting you up for the ultimate slam dunk (if you did your homework, that is).
Questions to plan in advance
Even if you don't have any burning questions, use this prompt as a chance to show the folks around the table what you can bring to the team. This is an opportunity to reiterate your interest in, and curiosity about, the position and the organization.
Try dropping a little knowledge on the interviewer in the form of a question. For example, “I know your organization rebranded in 2014. Has this positively impacted your visibility?”
Or perhaps you want to take this question as a chance to show some interest in the interviewers and their professional background, especially since one of them may be your future supervisor. Try something like, “What brought you here?” or “What’s your favorite thing about working here?” or be bold and ask, “What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a team?”
Another type of question that is usually welcomed by interviewers is anything that shows you are interested not only in landing the job, but in excelling as well. For example, you could ask, "What do success and achievement look like in this role?" or "What are the top three items you'd want this person to complete in their first 30 days on the job?"
Pro Tip: Don't be shy about jotting down questions in advance and referring to them when prompted. Most interviewers will understand that even the most experienced job applicants can feel a bit frazzled during an interview. It's okay to bring some notes into the interview with you. This way you can be sure you'll remember to share all of the strengths you would bring to the position.
Questions on the fly
In addition to the questions you plan in advance, if you have been taking notes throughout the interview (which we highly recommend) you should also have jotted down any important details that you did not have an opportunity to share with the interviewer. Take a look over that list and determine whether any of these items can be brought to the interviewer's attention by asking a question.
Here are a few examples:
- You were hoping that the interviewer would ask a question that offered you an opportunity to talk about how familiar you are with the organization's history. But alas, she did not. In this situation, you might say: "I know that your organization was founded in 2006, but you only just recently launched programming on the West Coast. I'd love to hear what went into the decision to become a bi-coastal organization."
- You are a born leader, but your interviewer didn't spend too much time inquiring about your leadership skills. In this situation, you might say: "I'm incredibly motivated by a challenge and I really love the opportunity to drive a project. Do you see the person in this role having an opportunity to lead a project or initiative?"
- Thanks to your penchant for communication and collaboration, you had a great rapport with your previous supervisor and you want to highlight that in your interview. In this situation, you might say: "It's very important to me that I feel like part of a team and to have an opportunity to learn from and alongside my colleagues. What is the communication and collaboration style of this organization?"
Whatever you choose, remember that “I have no questions,” generally comes off as “I have no interest.” Prepping some killer questions is an easy way to impress, so go ahead and grab that low-hanging fruit!
Pro tip: You may be given an opportunity to pose some questions to multiple interviewers separately (in different rounds). While it's okay to ask some of same person-specific questions to each individual, try to have different (relevant) questions on tap for each round of the interview.
Get more tips from our Interview Q&A series.
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What interview question stumps you every time? Tweet at us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to walk you through the perfect format for a killer response!