Ask Questions!

By Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

I was talking with a partner in a very good design firm about our workshops and he told me one of the things that really irks him when interviewing prospective hires. My friend: “Do you have any questions for me or is there anything else you’d like to know about our company?” Interviewee: “No not really. I’ve been to your website so I pretty much know everything I need to know.”
And another one bites the dust.

People, you are there as much to interview them as they are to find out about you. If you don’t ask questions you’ve essentially told them you have no interest in them as a company, and that you’re just looking for a paycheck and maybe some free birthday cake. Asking questions will not only give you more info on where you might be working, but also it shows that you’re interested in the company. This isn't the time to ask about salary or benefits but a chance to discover if you'd even like to work there. If you don't ask questions, get yourself hired and then find out it's a hellhole and the average tenure there is twenty-six minutes you'll only have yourself to blame. So gather your courage and ask things like this:

  • Is this a new position or are you filling a vacancy?
  • Where is the last person who held this position and how long were they in it?
  • What can I learn here?
  • Who might I get to work with?
  • Can you tell me about the company’s culture or philosophy?

And here's one you should always ask:

  • Do you have any doubts about my abilities to hold this position?

This can address any lingering hesitations on their part and solve them before you leave the room.

You might even ask about the interviewer's experience:

  • How long have you been here and what do you like most about working here?
  • Where were you before?

If a hiring manager hears that you care enough to ask intelligent questions about where you’ll be spending a third or more of your life, it will definitely increase their interest in you.


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