You’ve finally landed that coveted job interview. After much preparation, you glide through the hiring manager’s questions with ease, highlighting your skills and experience. Now comes the part that many of us dread: “Before we end, do you have any questions for me?”
It’s one thing to be prepared for the questions that your interviewer might ask you, but it’s another to have smart, thoughtful questions to ask them right back. Having intriguing questions to wrap up an interview will make you appear not only more conversational, but also knowledgeable about the company and excited for the position.
If you sometimes draw a blank at this point in an interview and feel that you simply don’t have any questions, we’re here to help with a list that will impress any hiring manager, regardless of industry or type of job or internship.
1. “What are some qualities that you might not see on a resume (i.e. personality traits) that can help someone be successful in this role?”
This is a great question because asking it, shows your interviewer that you want to be successful yourself in the role.
In addition, it allows you the opportunity to learn more about what is required of an ideal candidate beyond the job posting. If you find that the type of person they’re looking for doesn’t quite align with your values, you’ll discover the job is not right for you before spending months working in it.
Christina Albert, a junior at Vanderbilt University, agrees that this question can help one stand out. “The interviewer usually likes [this question] because it is not very common…It also opens a door for you to talk about how you have one or a few of these characteristics, if there are great stories or accomplishments that you haven’t worked into the interview so far.”
2. “What do you love about working here?”
It’s no secret: people love to talk about themselves, even when they’re there to interview someone else. This question shifts the conversation and allows you to learn more about the company culture and values, while getting a sense of what the people there are like and whether you could see yourself fitting in.
Jordan Chaffiotte, a recent graduate of Philadelphia University, has frequently used this question in past interviews and can speak to its success. She says, “[This question] is open-ended, personal and also gives you something that you might not have known otherwise.”
On the flip side, you might get subtle hints from the hiring manager that the company isn’t so great to work for. Sydnee Lyons, a second year graduate student at Florida Atlantic University, says, “If the interviewer hesitates to think of something positive or seems dubious in their response, it’s usually not a good sign.”
Overall, by putting the ball in their court, you’re encouraging the interviewer to warm up to you by discussing what makes them excited about their job; no doubt a great way to end the interview!
3. “What are the best qualities in your best employee?”
Like the question about qualities beyond those on a resume that can help you be successful, this question allows you to get a better sense of the intangibles that make the most impact on the job. This question, though, is different in that it asks the interviewer to speak about their top employee(s) and what has made them stand out among the pack.
This question is impactful because it gives the interviewer the sense that you don’t plan to be an ordinary employee, but rather that you want to hit the ball out of the park from day one.
Dream McClinton, a recent graduate of Georgia State University, sees the value in this question beyond the interview itself. She says, “This way, [you can] prepare yourself if you do get the job.” If you are hired, you’ll immediately know what separates a good employee from a great one, setting yourself up for success immediately.
4. “What’s something you wish you would have known before starting in this industry?”
Most likely, you are either a college student applying for internships or a recent/soon-to-be graduate looking for entry-level jobs, and thus you still have much to learn about your industry of choice. Whether you receive an offer or not, this question will provide much insight into your chosen career path and give you valuable advice, assuming your interviewer is somewhat honest.
This question also sets yourself up to have the interviewer sympathize with you, since you are just starting out in the same industry. By asking it, your interviewer may act as more of a mentor in that moment in answering it and provide guidance.
5. “Are there any questions you have about my resume that I can help clarify?”
Of all of these questions, this one will likely get you the closest towards having a sense of the interviewer’s impression of you. They might have a small clarification question, or if they can’t think of anything (or choose not to disclose their opinions), they might even offer you some praise!
Alaina Leary, a second year graduate student at Emerson College who works in publishing, has frequently used this question in the past to her benefit. She says, “It allows me to clear up anything if they misunderstood me, or to add in some more convincing facts that might sway them toward me as a candidate.”
Deena Abramson, a Human Resources professional, equally validates the value of this question. She says, "I think that's a good question particularly when it comes to a gap in a resume. Often people have a few months or even years gap in their resume and it is unclear what they were doing during that time...Examples of gaps could be medical leaves, raising children, or a temporary position that the person left off of his/her resume. It is important to show an employer that you were productive in your time between jobs!"
There isn’t a foolproof list of questions guaranteed to land you the job; however, these questions are insightful and are a win-win, allowing the employer to get a sense of how you think and allowing you to gain valuable information that you wouldn’t normally receive about the position. These questions can benefit any job applicant, and can be supplemented with more specific questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and interest in the position at hand. End your interview on a high note!