You’ve been sitting in the job interview for a while, things have been going smoothly and suddenly the interviewer pauses and goes, “Do you have any questions?”

This is a moment of panic for many and a surprising number of people simply say ‘No’. This is a bad mistake and a missed opportunity. To ensure you make the most of this opportunity to ask questions, this post will help you prepare for it, avoid the bad responses, ask the right questions and understand what lies between the lines.

KNOW THAT IT’S COMING

Most things in life will be easier to deal with when you are prepared for them and this is true to your job interview. If you prepare well for the different questions, then you’ll find it easier to answer those questions on the spot. Indeed, you are not ever then put on the spot but you already have an idea on how to respond.

Do you have any questions?” is definitely one of the questions an interviewer is likely to ask towards the end of the job interview. Well delve into the reasons a little later in the post but it’s important to understand how common question it is – it’s common courtesy to always offer people the chance to respond to the discussion or what has been happening. This question is often something doctors ask at the end of the appointment or professors say at the end of a lesson.

It’s important to prepare a number of answers and you’ll soon be given the tools to do just that. But the key here is to note how your answers should reflect the situation and what happened during the interview. While it’s important to prepare answers and know the question is coming, you also must be honest and authentic. If you found something problematic or you didn’t understand something during the interview, then use this moment as the opportunity to clarify it.

However, be mindful of the person who might be interviewing you when asking questions. You won’t always be able to get certain queries answered because you are asking the question from the wrong person – so be mindful of this and avoid asking the wrong question. Usually, there are two options and you can prepare for these scenarios like this:

You’re interviewed by an HR person
  • Your question can focus more on the process and technical questions about the organisation.
You’re interviewed by a boss or team member/leader
  • Your questions can focus on the everyday life in the role and things about the team you’d be working with.

AVOID THE WRONG RESPONSES

When it comes to the question “Do you have any questions”, it’s often easier to know what not to say rather than what the ‘right’ response would be. So, if you hear those words during the job interview, you should avoid the following three responses.

Saying ‘no’

You don’t want to say you don’t have any questions even if you feel like everything is clear. Just responding with a ‘no’ will make you look disengaged and not interested in what has just happened. It won’t look professional.

It doesn’t mean you have to have a huge problem to solve or an in-depth question. It’s alright to feel relatively certain about things after an interview. However, you want to respond with at least one question or thing you want clarified to show you’ve been paying attention and that you actually care about getting the job.

Asking inappropriate questions

You also don’t want to respond with an inappropriate question to this question. The most common responses to avoid include questions about:

  • Non-work activities at the workplace, such as lunch events, vacations and other leisure-related issues. The question “When can I have a holiday” is definitely going to mean you won’t have a chance to have one in this workplace. Asking about the company culture is fine but not whether they provide free lunch or not!
  • Gossip or the personal life of the interviewer or your potential colleagues. You don’t want to cross the line by being too nosy and asking about the person’s family life is not suitable.
  • Obvious issues that you could find an answer on the company website. You can’t go asking questions like “What does the company do?” since you should know this. Ensure you research the company properly before to be aware of things you should know and those you don’t know.
  • Salary or the benefits in the role. This is also not the time to start discussing the salary – you can negotiate that later if you’re picked for the role. Of course, if the interviewer brought up the salary earlier, you can get back to it but even in this case, it’s better to use the opportunity to talk about something other than money.

All the above are highly unprofessional questions that won’t help your chances of landing the job. They also show a lack of preparedness, which can be a big turn off – it’s a red light for the interviewer showing you might not care as much about the role as you should to succeed in it.

Looking for answers to complex and in-depth problems

Now, you also want to avoid asking questions, which are a little too complex for the occasion. You don’t want to throw back a question, which the interviewer will have an impossible time to respond – you are not supposed to quiz them to this extent. This means avoiding multi-part questions or questions you know would take longer than a few minutes to clear. Things like “Can you give an insight into the IT strategy of the organisation for the next five years” is much too complex.

On the other hand, you could ask something like “I’m interested if the company has any plans for new IT technology, as AI is becoming increasingly important in our sector”. This can be answered quicker. Just make sure the person you are asking would have an idea (as mentioned above) – i.e. don’t ask about the team’s objectives if you’re talking to a recruitment agent.

Overall, you don’t want to have tons of questions in mind by the end of the interview. One to three questions are enough to answer the question and show professionalism – anything beyond it might mean you haven’t done your homework or been paying attention during the interview.

RESPOND WITH A GOOD AND ENGAGING QUESTION

So, now you have a good understanding of the responses you want to avoid. How are you supposed to answer that question then? What are some of the best ways of responding to “Do you have any questions”?

The best responses are those that are engaging. This means you should consider responding to the question by countering it with another question or opportunity for clarification. For example, if you felt you didn’t have enough time to respond to a question, you can try bringing it up now to ensure you can clarify what you meant.

If you feel you haven’t been able to highlight your strengths, then you can, again, try using this opportunity to do so. You can also notice recent industry news or something about the company you found during your research.

The most appropriate things to ask about as a response to the question include questions about:

The role

You can use this opportunity to delve deeper into the role. Some good questions about the role include:

  • Can you give examples of what the day-to-day tasks in the role are?
  • What does the typical day look like?
  • Is the role new? How has it developed over the years?
  • Where have the people who previously held the role move onto to?
  • What would you want me to achieve in the first six months in the position if hired?

You don’t want to ask things already mentioned in the job description. You might already have gone through some of the points during the interview – avoid returning to the obvious. However, you might want to ask something like, “You said the role requires a lot of quick thinking. Can you give an example of such moments?

The company or the team

You can also ask questions that help you understand what the company or the team you’d be working with is like. These questions offer you an insight into the company culture and the kind of people you’d be working with.

  • What’s the management style like?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What future hurdles do you think the company will need to overcome in the near future?
  • What are the company goals for the upcoming year?
  • How long have you been working here? What do you like the most about the company?
  • Can you tell me a little about the team I’d be working with?

The above questions will help you understand the company better and learn more about the kind of team you’d be working with – this is important because you don’t want to end up in a team or culture that doesn’t match your work personality. Asking questions about the interviewer, more specifically, is also great for bonding and creating a more meaningful relationship.

The future prospects

The question is also a good opportunity to ask about the future prospects. Questions regarding the future can help you to better understand the responsibilities in the role as well as the direction the company is heading. Knowing what the future looks like will help you identify whether the role fits your desired career path.

  • What would be the biggest challenges at the start for someone new?
  • What is the company hoping to achieve with this role in the next year?
  • Does the company offer any development opportunities?
  • How do you think I could improve my skills while in the role?

The above types of questions are not just good for understanding the company culture and where the company is heading. They also highlight your eagerness for career development and progression, which are qualities employers value. It shows you are committed to learn and develop your skills, as you realize we can all do better.

Clarifying questions about you

It’s also a great idea to use this opportunity to get an idea what the interviewer thought about you. The question gives you the opportunity to go over your strengths once more and to redeem yourself if things have not been going quite as smoothly as you hoped. You can use the opportunity to respond with questions like:

  • Do you have any concerns about me or my skills?
  • What do you think the ideal candidate would be like to work with?
  • Do you feel like I’m missing important qualifications or skills to perform well in this role?
  • What kind of skills do you think I could bring to the team?

Now, remember to be prepared to convince the interviewer about your strengths if they do come back with something. You don’t want to just say ‘OK’ if they tell you that you are missing important experience in software, for example. You must have a comeback to prove them wrong and to put those concerns to rest – so don’t just prepare the question, prepare for the answer as well!

UNDERSTAND WHAT THE INTERVIEWER IS TRYING TO ACHIEVE

Now, it’s important to understand the motivation for the question in order to create the most appropriate response. As mentioned at the start, the question isn’t just about common courtesy but the job interviewer wants to see how you react. Your response will be analyzed – if you ask one of those questions you should avoid, you’re not making a great impression. On the other hand, the examples in the previous section are going to be much better responses.

So, what is the motivation for “Do you have any questions”? Of course, the interviewer is looking to be helpful. They do want to ensure you have the right knowledge about the role, the company and the hiring process – it’s important for them too that you make your decision to be part of the company with the right knowledge.

So, don’t think you’re just being tricked. You don’t want to think you have to ask a difficult or fancy question to ‘pass’ this question. If you have an actual question or something that’s unclear, then you should use this opportunity to ask the question. In essence, use this opportunity to ask questions that help you make a valued judgment over whether you want the role.

However, the interviewer will also be testing if you’ve done your homework. They want to see if you are a true professional who has taken the interview seriously and who has arrived well prepared for anything. To ensure you give the right answer and make an impression, you must keep the following tips in mind:

Asking the obvious questions will tell the interview you haven’t prepared for the interview. It means you’ve just decided to show up and see how it goes. The lack of preparation can also tell the interviewer you’re not passionate about the role or the industry. You can come off as passive and indifferent.

You need to show you’re engaged and that you’ve paid attention during the interview. You want to show engagement and situational awareness by ensuring your answer takes into account everything that has just happened. This means that you can’t just pick one of the questions above and be dead-set you’re going to ask it. The issue might come up during the interview and you responding by asking about it (again!) will not seem professional. Unless you need clarification, which in its way shows awareness and engagement, you shouldn’t return to issues you’ve already discussed through.

Showing the interviewer, you understand the industry and the role. You should also use the opportunity to showcase your understanding of the role or the industry. By responding with progressive and forward-looking questions, you show your expertise and talent further. For example, by asking how the company’s plans to expand internationally (which you’ve read about in the news) will reflect on the role, you show that you are on top of what’s happening in the company. You want to use this question as the one last opportunity to express your passion and skills for the role and the industry in general.

In fact, the question “Do you have any questions” is actually just another opportunity to make a good impression. It presents you with an opportunity to show professionalism while also allowing you to clear any problems you might have. Responding to it correctly, with the above information in mind, can boost your interview success.

THE BOTTOM LINE

You might be ready for the interview when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. But you shouldn’t run off and rush. This question is just another opportunity for you to show professionalism, enthusiasm for the role and your fit for the job and the company. So, use the opportunity to your advantage and don’t respond with a bored ‘no’.

Prepare for the question and pay attention during the interview. Grasp this opportunity to clarify things and to learn more about the role and the company. After all, you want to ensure the role is exactly the right career move for you – so don’t waste an opportunity to learn more about it!

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