“Do you have any questions for me?”

This question ends just about every single job interview, and if you’re not prepared for it, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Yes, this question is a chance to turn the tides on your interviewer and assess the company for fit. But beyond that, not asking questions signals a lack of interest in the role -- which might get you eliminated. Moreover, good questions might give you a leg up on other candidates -- which means you should prep for this, because it’s the only part of the interview you can be guaranteed is coming.

How do you do this especially well?

The best questions are tailored to the opportunity and reveal that you’ve done some homework on the company, are at least partially aware of what you’re getting yourself into, and are genuinely invested in determining whether there’s alignment between your career arc and the job for which you’re interviewing.

You’re likely only going to have time for three questions. So a good way to break them down is to ask one question that relates to culture fit, one question that relates specifically to the role for which you’re being considered, and one question that relates to the company and its place in the market or future.

Let’s examine some good examples of each type of question.

Questions about culture fit:

What is your favorite part of working for [company]?

Would you encourage friends to apply for jobs here? Why?

What are your favorite company traditions?

What are the best unique aspects of [company]?

Do employees here spend time together doing something other than work? What is it?

Is there an underlying personality trait that unites this team or the employees at this company?

Don’t discount asking specific questions about culture, either, whether they’re about a unique characteristic you dug up in your research, or a type of environment you particularly covet. For example, if you’re applying for a sales job, you might ask if the sales team skews toward being collaborative or competitive with one another. If you’re after a marketing position, you might ask whether creativity or data is more inspiring to the team.

Questions about your role:

What do you expect a person in this position to accomplish in the first three months here?

What would people in this role say is the biggest challenge to their success?

What does truly stellar performance in this role look like?

Here again is your opportunity to dig into the specifics of the job, so read the description thoroughly and prepare to dig in to specific aspects.

Questions about the company:

What will this company look like in five years?

What’s the biggest challenge this company is currently tackling?

What are the company’s current key goals, and how does my department or role support those goals?

How does the company differentiate itself from competitors? Who do you consider to be the key competitors?

Who are the customers? How does this department or role serve those customers?

Don’t be afraid to frame these questions with some context that shows you’ve done some homework. You might point out competitors before asking who the biggest are, for instance.

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