You are attending a job interview, and you are asked: "Do you have any questions for me?" What should you say? You really should have four objectives in mind when formulating your questions. First, you should pose inquiries that demonstrate you have done your homework about the company. Show that you have investigated the company's history, strategy, products, culture, and performance. Doing your homework means going beyond Google searches and the 10K report. It means visiting the company's stores, talking to a current employee, and/or testing out a firm's products or services. Second, you should avoid questions that clearly could be answered through such homework. Asking a question whose answer can readily be found on the web is a signal that you have not done your homework properly. Third, ask a question or two that enables the interviewer to talk about their own experiences. Let's face it... people like to talk about themselves. Ask them why they chose to join the firm, or how the firm has helped them develop and enhance key skills. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you have an opportunity to learn whether this company is truly a fit for you. Here you want to learn more about the organization's culture, beyond the statement of values that you may have found on the website.
How can you learn more about a company's culture? Jason Hanold has posted an article on LinkedIn that articulates two good follow-up questions, beyond simply asking an interviewer to describe the culture in general terms.
- “When thinking about your best of the best talent - the most distinctive people at all levels of the organization - are there three or four traits that they share?” (Three to four traits in common well above all other traits)
- “Has anyone who possessed those most admired traits ever failed, and if so, why?”
With this brief primer, hopefully you are more prepared to tackle the question: "Do you have any questions for me?" If readers have other ideas as to how to address this interview question, I would love to hear them.