It’s interview time, and your nerves are heightened. You want to make the best possible impression on the hiring managers. After finally getting through all of their questions, it’s almost time to breathe a sigh of relief when they ask if you have any questions for them.
This may seem like a signifier of the end of the interview, but what you say next actually still greatly impacts the hiring manager’s opinion of you, and it may not be in the way you expect.
If you’re anything like me, you want to appear confident and competent. That means my gut reaction is to say I don’t have any questions; however, that response actually isn’t what hiring managers are looking for. In fact, I’ve even heard of hiring managers not selecting qualified candidates for a job simply because they didn’t ask any questions at the end of their interviews. Asking questions — especially the right ones — demonstrates to hiring managers that you’re interested in the position and eager to learn more. The right questions may even show off your knowledge about the company and position for which you are interviewing.
So, what questions should you ask at the end of an interview?
What software applications and technologies does your team use?
Asking about the applications and technologies you would use in the position for which you are interviewing not only shows your ambition and enthusiasm, but it also portrays you as a strong professional. Simply asking this question means that you are a practical thinker and can plan ahead, and it implies that you are familiar with the steps required to complete the tasks demanded by the position. It also opens up the door for you to discuss which platforms you know and your willingness to learn new platforms.
What challenges is your company facing that you are hoping to overcome by hiring a new person for this position?
While you may be excited about this position, recognizing that it will require hard work and showing that you are driven to help an organization grow is important. Asking about the goals for a new hire not only helps you decide if this position is one you want to continue pursuing, but it also showcases dedication, ambition, and a growth-mindset.
What qualities does someone need to have to thrive in this position?
Similar to the last question, this one also demonstrates a growth-mindset and shows that you care about doing your job well. Whether it’s your personality, skills, or natural role on a team, you want to make sure you’re a good fit for the position.
What is your company culture like?
By asking about the company culture, you not only get to prepare yourself for what to expect if you do get the job, but you also demonstrate to the hiring manager that you respect their culture. By showing that you care about fostering a good work environment, the hiring manager is more likely to think that you will be a good fit in the culture they have created.
What are some areas you would expect the new hire to research before starting their position?
This question shows that you are willing to take initiative. Oftentimes, managers don’t want employees they have to babysit; they want employees who are willing to find new projects and ask questions without being prompted. Showing that you are willing to start preparing for this position before your first work day and that you will go the extra mile to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to thrive in this position shows a good work ethic and builds trust that you will complete tasks well.
Will there be opportunities in this position to take on projects where I can learn and practice new skills?
As you might have guessed, this question is another great one to show that you are ambitious, eager to grow your skill set, and willing to take on more complex projects. Additionally, it shows that you are thinking ahead, which means you likely have the organizational skills and forward-thinking to help the company grow.
Hiring managers get a lot of information about you based on the questions you ask. Asking these questions instead of ones that can be answered by the company website will establish you as a strong candidate. With the time for you to ask questions being at the end of the interview, being prepared with the questions you want to ask will help solidify the positive impression you leave on the hiring manager.
Nicole Steele, PRSSA 2022-2023 National Vice President of Brand Engagement, is a junior at Biola University majoring in public relations with a double minor in communication studies and biblical & theological studies. She found her passion for public relations by volunteering in a branch of the Boy Scouts of America known as Venturing, where she currently serves as the founder and editor in chief of their national publication. She has also practiced PR in a variety of other positions, including as the communications intern at Benchmark and the account executive at her school’s PRSSA-affiliated, Student-run Firm. If you’re interested in writing a future Progressions article or simply want to connect with Nicole, feel free to reach out via email or LinkedIn.