As soon as you learn how to write a cover letter for a government agency and tailor your resume to look like a winning candidate for federals, you’ll get an invitation for a job interview. It is a common practice for hiring managers to ask about the questions an applicant has, going closer to the end of an interview. Answering ‘I have no questions’ can be a trap. It immediately signals a lack of interest in the applicant’s potential job.
You should ask the right questions to demonstrate you care enough to do your research, not turning down an opportunity to make a good impression on the employer. This article covers the questions to be asked to decide whether this job is a good fit. Our experts reveal the right approach for some questions and things to avoid. You’ll learn how to utilize the answers of a hiring manager for summing up why you’re the best applicant for the role.
Questions as an Opportunity to Impress
A job interview looks somehow like a blind date. Both of you have a single goal. You want to learn as much as possible about each other during a rather short interlocution. Much self-involvement is what turns it into a horrible date. Imagine someone talking the whole time about their precious person without asking a single question about their potential partner!
Dialogue and interaction is the most right approach towards a job interview as well as a date.
A candidate with solid answers with no questions looks disappointing for the interviewer. HRs will prefer those who are prepared for an interview and getting more information, asking pertinent questions about the job, because they definitely care about the position.
How Many Questions Should Get Asked
No one from recruiting experts can name the correct number of questions. Traditionally, four or five tailored and well-thought-out questions that show your motivation are good enough not to take much employer’s time.
It is wise to pay attention to the manager’s non-verbal cues during your first and the next questions. In case asking more seems to become undesirable, you can leave your questions for the next interview or until you get offered this role.
What Questions Are Appropriate
Ask about organization, responsibilities, people, and atmosphere. Specify whether you need special training or classes that are not mentioned in the requirements.
Jot down keywords and ideas taken from the responses to refer to them while summing up your qualification. Your fact-finding questions are your chance to create a clear picture of how hiring you would be rewarding for the organization.
What Questions to Omit
Try to avoid closed questions that require a Yes/No answer. At the same time, broad questions can confuse your interviewer. So, shrink them in order not to stump the manager.
The dos and don’ts of polite manners imply asking nothing that shows you hate your last job or employer. Mind that there is a lot of information about this organization that can easily be found with a Google search, so some of your questions can look like silly ones.
Don’t touch the topics of salary, benefits, or promotion in your questions unless the employer mentions them first. Your task is to approve that it will be you to benefit the organization. Leave the perks inquiry about vacation days until you get a job offer, then ask for details about your salary and benefits package.
The List of Questions to Ask
Most employers will expect you to bring a note containing a list of questions with you, where you can write down other essential ones, arising from the discourse. Quick reviewing the list is much helpful right at the moment when the employer invites you to ask anything.
Use the information in the interviewer’s answers to demonstrate that you’re a perfect candidate for a role you are applying for. Mind specific categories you want to stick to when thinking about questions to ask an interviewer. Let the following patterns be your benchmarks while developing your own list of questions.
Questions Regarding the Organization
- Can you name the biggest challenges within the organization?
- In what way is an employee involved in overcoming these challenges?
- What are the long-range plans here?
- In what way does the organization support professional development?
- What prospects for advancement within the organization do employers have?
- Could you tell me about the organization’s management style?
Questions Regarding the Position
- What key responsibilities does this position imply?
- In what way does this position fit into the organization?
- How can you describe the ideal candidate for the role?
- How does a typical workday look like for this position?
- Are there any immediate projects to work on?
- It’s interesting to know what training programs or classes are available to newcomers.
- Who is an immediate supervisor for this role? What management style do they have?
- What process is used for a performance review and how soon can I expect it?
Questions Regarding the Environment
- What do team members enjoy most about working at “X”?
- How would you describe the culture of this organization? Are there any traditions?
- What key values does the organization look for in candidates to hire?
- Is it a suit and tie sort of place or are employees allowed to be more casual?
- How is a notion of success measured by the organization?
The Bottom Line
Preparation for the interview is a part of success, so you should think of questions to ask about the company and the position in advance. Moreover, you are always expected to have some questions to ask in a job interview. Your curiosity is a good opportunity to show your interest and find out missing gaps in information that will help you make a good decision.
Welcome the interviewer’s invitation to ask questions to learn more about the role and organization before you make a well-considered decision to accept the job offer. By showing you are motivated, confident, and able to assert yourself in the right way you’ll be ahead of the crowd of nervous, unmotivated, or lazy candidates.
About the Author
Daniella Henderson knows all ins and outs of the federal hiring process. She is excellent at job-hunting strategies, starting from federal resume writing to the final stage of interview conduction.