Posted by Brian McCullough
There’s a lot of literature out there along the lines of: “The 50 Most Common Interview Questions and How To Answer Them.”
I’m not sure I’m a big fan of these articles. I mean, they’re a good exercise… they help you get a sense of the kind of questions that might come up. But an interview is not like a written multiple choice test. It’s a conversation. If you think you can get by with memorized answers and not sound stupid, you’re wrong. Besides, like anything else in life, chances are the interview won’t go like the article says it will. Most of the questions you get in an interview won’t be in any of the books you could have studied.
But there is one common interview question that I think you should definitely anticipate and prepare for. At some point in the interview process – usually near the end – you’re likely to hear something along the lines of:
Do you have any questions?
I definitely recommend you have a response planned for this one.
Why? Well, several reasons actually.
First of all, consider the psychological aspect. Most of the interview is about questions being asked of you, not by you. It’s an interaction you are being led through. You’re not in control of the conversation.
Even if you’ve answered all the questions of the interview “correctly” the interviewer might still be trying to get a handle of your personality. It’s an understandable psychological thing: they’ve been asking all the questions, now they want to see how you speak for yourself.
Flubbing this question… stuttering, showing confusion or saying something like, “Uh, no questions I can think of,” just makes you look bad. Show some confidence and initiative. Have some questions to ask.
Well, why not ask some questions about the company? Maybe ask about organizational history, the current business environment or the corporate philosophy. Asking some intelligent questions will show that you’ve done your research and are at least familiar with the team you’re looking to join. Also, it gives the impression you’re eager for this job in particular and this isn’t “just another interview” to you.
Or, you could ask some questions specific to the position itself. You’ve read the job description, so you’ve got enough information to formulate a question or three.
If you’ve taken my previous advice to heart, you’ve already used the interview to show the interviewer that NOT ONLY can you adequately fill the opening in question… but you can go above and beyond and do the job in great ways they never imagined. You can solve problems for them. You can wow them and make them look good for hiring you. Think of some questions that reinforce this impression.
Think confidently and positively. Try to ask questions along the lines of, “What CRM software do you use? XYZ program? Oh, great. I’m like a Zen Master with that program.”
Or frame questions as if you’re confident of their decision. Something like: “Do you think the department would be open to me implementing a quality control program right away? I’m eager to start streamlining operations as soon as possible.”