Do You Have Any Questions?

By Joe Stein

This edition features a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) focused on a question that is generally considered the closing of an interview.
 
It is easy for a Job Seeker to consider this a “throwaway” question, holding little meaning for the rest of the discussion. In reality, it is a crucial time to establish your: interest level in the position, business acumen, listening skills, and analytical prowess. Even better, it is something that can easily be practiced ahead of time by the Interviewee, ensuring the best impression.
 
As we continue to review the most frequently asked questions in an interview, let’s explore tips for when you are asked, “Do You Have Any Questions?”
 
 
Why Is It Asked?
 
·        To Answer Your Questions – May seem obvious, but Interviewers don’t want you leaving with questions that can easily be answered during the time of your appointment.
 
·        To Cut an Interview Short – You should gauge when the question is being asked. If it is at the natural end of your interview, you are in good shape. However, if it comes early or abruptly, this is a sign that the Hiring Manager is in wrap-up mode with you and is seeking to close quickly. This is a quick way to segue to the end.
 
·        Gauge Interest Level – Generally speaking, a person with questions will show more interest level than someone who does not. The displaying of research and timely questions will indicate to the Interviewer that you really do want the job.
 
·        Opportunity to Buy Time – Although this is usually the last question for most Interviewers, some use this time to do a very quick scan of their notes to see if they need to probe further in any areas. Don’t let your guard down and assume you are done.
 
·        Relieve Tension – Similar to an ice breaker, this question serves to relieve stress and tension. An interviewer wants you to leave on a high note, thinking of the answers to the questions you asked rather than the tough hard-hitting inquiries that preceded it.
How Should It Be Answered?
 
·        Be Concise – This is not the time to see how long you can keep the Hiring Manager in the office. Select your 3-4 best questions and ask those. Assume that the Interviewer has his or her next appointment upcoming and be sensitive to time.
 
·        Be In Real-Time – Be flexible enough that, if something is discussed during the interview, you can attempt to incorporate that angle into one of your questions. Just make sure the question you ask is fresh.
 
·        Display Knowledge – Ask questions that will separate you from the average candidate. Try to ask something that will show how you have done some research by being industry specific.
 
·        Show Enthusiasm – This is a time when you are now back in the driver’s seat. Display some passion in your voice when asking questions and listen intently to the answers provided. 
 
·        Show Future Focus – Interviewers generally like when you ask questions which display that you project being with the company for a length of time.  Among the questions that can be asked are about advancement opportunities or future plans of the company.
 
 
What Not To Do:
 
·        Come Unprepared – Have questions prepared in your memory prior to the interview. These will serve as your core questions. You can prepare questions by reading the advertisement, studying the Job Description, or researching on the Internet.
 
·        Read Off Your Notepad – Spend the time necessary to memorize your core questions. You will appear unprepared if you are trying to decipher your handwriting as you ask questions of the Interviewer.
 
·        Over Challenge the Interviewer – This is not “60 Minutes”! This is not the time to rip something from the headlines and place your Interviewer under the heat lamp. Any question that makes your Hiring Manager uncomfortable reduces your chance of landing the position. If you feel that you must inquire about something (i.e., lower sales announcements) do so in a positive manner such as, “I read where the quarterly forecasts were lower than expected; tell me what great things does the company have in place to turn that around?”
 
·        Be Redundant – Pay attention in the interview. If one of your prepared questions has already been addressed, then skip that one and move on to the next.
·        Stop Listening – It is very tempting to ask the question and then shut down, preparing for the next volley. It is important that you listen. The information provided may be important and it will allow a more conversational nature to the discussion. Besides, listening skills are an important trait and this allows you to display them.
 
·        Don’t Say “No” – Make sure you have at least a couple of questions. You may be tempted to say “no” to end the interview and relieve the stress of the situation, but this is a very important time.  
 
·        Ask About Pay and Benefits – Unless it is an entry-level position, these questions can come later. During the interview, focus on questions about the job and the company.
 
 
The opportunity to ask questions is a crucial period in your interview. You have the attention of your Interviewer so participate in a Q&A that will display you in a positive light. Anticipate the question and prepare your inquiries ahead of the interview. Engage in a conversation that will make the Hiring Manager want to make you an offer.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.
 
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.