Of all the questions a hiring manager may ask you during a job interview, the last one could be the most important — and trickiest to answer: "Do you have any questions for me?"
This simple query can stump even the best prepared job candidates. Yet, it offers a golden opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants. Asking smart and pertinent questions allows you to steer the conversation and expand upon your top skills, qualifications and attributes.
Following are wise questions to consider:
What are the opportunities for advancement, and do you typically promote from within?
Given the high costs associated with hiring and training new staff, employers are looking for job candidates who will stick around for a while. Asking this question shows that you are ambitious, goal-oriented and eager to grow with the firm over the long term. It also can help you determine what your professional future with the organization would be like.
What types of training programs do you offer?
Employers value workers who keep up with the latest industry trends and developments. By asking this question, you can emphasize your dedication to expanding your skill set.
While researching your firm, I learned that the company recently [fill in the blank]. Can you tell me a little bit more about this development?
Impress interviewers by doing your homework. Review the firm's website, marketing materials, executive bios and recent annual reports to get a good sense of the organization and its leaders. Asking a beyond-the-basics question shows that you're a serious candidate who's interested in the position.
Will I primarily be working independently or as part of a team?
Possessing strong interpersonal skills is critical for most positions today. That said, being self-directed also is necessary at times. Depending on how the employer responds to this question, be ready to offer an anecdote from your professional life that highlights your ability to collaborate effectively or work autonomously.
Can you tell me what my average day would be like?
This question can help you gather information that allows you to better evaluate your interest in the job. You might learn about aspects of the job that don't appeal to you or be reassured that the opportunity is right.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
This gives the interviewer a chance to sell you on the company. Pay close attention to how quickly and passionately this question is answered. Happy employees who love their jobs don't have to struggle to come up with reasons why they enjoy their work. A short, ho-hum response may speak volumes.
How would you describe your work environment?
The interview is a prime opportunity to find out more about the company's culture. Once you’ve learned which workplace characteristics your potential employer values most, use our Workplace Culture Calculator to assess your match with the organization.