Oftentimes, interview preparation is focused on crafting your stories and structuring clear responses to the expected questions. Do that. But, don’t forget to also prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
Wait – isn’t the interviewer asking the questions? Isn’t the point for the employer to get to know you?
Absolutely! But asking questions will show your interviewer what you think is important, how well you prepared, and how much existing knowledge of the company and position you already have. They learn a lot about you based on the questions you ask.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not the number of questions you ask that matters – it’s the quality of those questions.
An Example – What Not Do To Do: If you ask your interviewer how many branches the company has, but the homepage of their website says, “Proudly serving our customers with 15 branches worldwide,” what does that tell them? That you probably didn’t do your research well or don’t know how to research at all. Yikes.
What You Should Already Know – so DO NOT Ask: Office locations and numbers of offices, company size, and relative financial health. Things you can find out on their website or with a quick Google search. You can reference media coverage – don’t be ignorant of it.
What You Can Learn – Ask This: There’s a second motivation behind asking a potential employer questions. It gives you insight into whether or not you even want to work there. Ask questions about company culture, what they value, and what a normal day in the office looks like. Ask what they would change if they could; the best and worst parts of the job. Ask how they would describe their relationship with their boss, team, and employees.
Not only will it show your interviewer that you’re serious about the job, but it will help you to decide if that’s the place you see yourself working.