You've applied for enough jobs to know some of most common interview questions that hiring managers ask (e.g., What are your current work duties? Why are you looking to leave your current job? What are your professional goals?).
You also know that toward the end of the interview, it’ll be your turn to ask anything you’re wondering about when it comes to the role or the company.
Some people struggle with this portion, especially if they feel like their questions have already been answered. But, that’s exactly why you should always have a few ready that are nearly impossible for the hiring manager to cover before you bring them up.
One simple strategy to making sure you have a few of those surefire options ready is to turn the spotlight back on the interviewer: Ask him the same questions he asked you.
Want to see it in action? Here you go:
1. Why Are You Interested in Working for This Organization?
The hiring manager wants to know your motivation behind applying for the job, and what you’re hoping to get out of working there. This question probes into your ability to research the organization, its history, its mission, the industry, and what sets it apart from the competition. However, it’s not just a test to see if you did your homework; it’s about learning if you’re more excited about the day-to-day tasks, changing sectors, rather than the on-site gym and free lunches. You can see how to better answer this here.
Question You Should Ask Back: What Made You Decide to Work Here?
Take the opportunity to gain a better understanding of why the interviewer came on board; and more importantly, what has influenced her to stay. You’ll want to work somewhere where people are motivated and driven by the mission. If the person who’s already at the company doesn’t seem passionate about her work, it’s a red flag.
2. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
The hiring manager’s seeking a better understanding of your long-term goals. While you don’t have to pledge that you’ll be at the company five years from then (and please don’t say, “In your job!”); you can ease the hiring manager’s worries of just passing time until your big break at a company you’re really excited about comes through. You can see more on answering that here.
Question You Should Ask Back: Where Do You See the Organization in the Next Five Years?
Does the hiring manager seem optimistic and discuss growth? Does he foresee any major changes in the industry? Is he sharing shifts for the department or the company as a whole? Or, does he seem pretty disconnected and stunned by your question or even somewhat unsure where the company where the company will be?
3. Can You Walk Me Through Your Typical Workday?
Hiring managers are probing for two things. First, they want to know how your current workday relates to the job you’re applying for. Second, they’re judging your ability to communicate effectively when asked for a rundown of your duties. Shine in your interview by giving a clear play-by-play, being sure to discuss any tasks you lead. This demonstrates that you’ll be a great ambassador for the prospective organization, too.
Question You Should Ask Back: How Do You Envision a Typical Day in This Role?
This is an opportunity for you to learn about daily life in the position you’re applying for. If the hiring manager rattles off the job description verbatim, it’s a sign that she might not have it all figured out yet, which could affect your first few weeks on the job.
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4. Can You Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Deal With a Difficult Person?
The interviewer wants to learn how you resolve conflicts. Not only is he looking for a (brief) explanation of the problem; but above all, he’s looking for a glimpse into your resolution process. If you can demonstrate good use of soft skills, it’ll make a much stronger impression that blaming someone else.
Question You Should Ask Back: Can You Tell Me How You Resolve Conflict on Your Team?
This is a question to pass right back to the hiring manager. If you’re interviewing your prospective supervisor, you’ll learn about his management style, specifically how he addresses people and teams when things go awry. So, take particular note of the details that this person provides: What kind of example does he give? How would you respond to that approach if you were part of a similar conflict?
5. Why Should I Hire You?
The hiring manager wants to you to identify how your skills intersect with the demands and priorities of the role, as well as how they’ll contribute to the organization as a whole. Come prepared with concrete reasons why you can do the job, as well as a big dose of confidence. Make it clear how your unique skill set and background will allow you to succeed in this role.
Question You Should Ask Back: Do You Have Any Hesitations About My Qualifications?
Translation: Why do you think you should hire me (or, is there something holding you back)?
This is the time to find out if the hiring manager has any concerns about your candidacy. And if she shares any, be sure to address them! This shows that you aren’t afraid to ask tough questions, that you’re confident in yourself, and that you don’t mind constructive criticism.
When the time comes, you should always have a list of questions ready. Strive to ask them in a way that welcomes honest, meaningful dialogue between you and the hiring manager. It’ll demonstrate curiosity about the job, and help you gain insights into what working at the company is really like.
Photo of interview courtesy of Shutterstock.