What to Say in an Interview When Asked, “Do You Have Any Questions For Me?”

At some point in an interview the interviewer may ask you, “Do you have any questions for me?” Here is how you should answer that question.

First, DO NOT ask about pay, hours, benefits, vacation, or anything that has to do with your compensation and employment package. My colleague Dr. Norman calls these “me, me, me” questions. All such discussions should be left until the company makes you an offer.

In response to “Do you have any questions for me?” you should have at least five questions prepared (and it would be even better if it were ten questions). These questions could be generic (a question you could use in any interview) or these questions could be specific (a question that only applies to this company). I suggest you have some of each.

These questions should be open ended. An open-ended question is a question for which “yes” or “no” is not an appropriate response. So, if one of your questions was about social media you would not want to ask, “Do you use social media in your marketing activities?” The answer to that question is obviously yes or no. However, you can rephrase this question to make it open ended. Instead ask, “Can you explain the role that social media plays in your overall marketing strategy?” This question cannot be answered yes or no – the interviewer must explain the answer.

So, what makes for good questions that you can ask? As mentioned, you could use generic questions that could be used in any interview. These questions should relate to how the company is managed, how decisions are made, how strategy is deployed, what the company’s culture is like and expectations for the position. BY THE WAY, these are not puffery questions or questions to demonstrate that you are a good candidate because you can ask thought provoking questions (although that is exactly what you are doing) but if you are going to work for this company, these are questions you should want to know the answers to so you can evaluate if this is an organization that you really want to work for. Here are some sample questions you can use but I urge you to make up a few of your own – after all you are not the only person reading this article.

“When you hire me for this position, what are the problems that you want me to tackle first?”

“Assuming I get the job, how are you going to evaluate my job performance in the first six months?”

“Could you describe for me the company’s culture?”

“When important changes are being made in your organization, how typically are those changes made?”

“How are significant decisions made in your organization?”

“What role will my position play in developing systems and processes for this division?”

“Can you describe the morale of the people whom I will be working with?”

“Could you please describe your management style?”

“If I were to talk to one of your staff, what would that person tell me about you?” (This question may be a little aggressive, but it is up to you to choose questions you are comfortable asking).

“What are the greatest challenges currently facing your company and/or your department?”

“Why do you enjoy working here?”

“Could you share a bit about how you made it to your current position?”

The second type of questions are more company specific. These are the types of questions that might be created by reading the company’s website, reviewing press releases, or just reading about markets in general. I just did a Google search on “Five Guys Burgers News”. Let’s say you were going for an interview for a marketing position at Five Guys Burgers. Here are some questions I developed based by reading a few news stories on the company.

“A recent poll suggest Five Guys Burgers is the best burger chain in the country. Why do you think that is?”

“You now have about 1,500 burger stores. How do you maintain consistency of product quality across such a large base of stores?”

“I read an article that says Five Guys Burgers does not use traditional marketing. How do you get customers?”

“I read about Five Guys Burger stores closing in Nevada and California. Why are these stores closing?”

“I read in an article that one of your stores served bad meat and meat that fell on the floor. How do you combat negative publicity when anyone can write just about anything on the Internet?”

What will these questions do for you? Two things. First, in answering these questions you may get more of an inkling about the person you may be working for, if offered the job. If the interviewer is curt, condescending, or gives you lip service, you may want to consider if you really want to work for the jerk. (Note that a colleague of mine told me I should not use the word “jerk” but rather use the phrase “this type of person.” I am sorry but if you have an interviewer like that, the person is in my opinion a “jerk.”) He may be exactly that way when you have business problems you want to discuss. On the other hand, if the person gives you thoughtful and articulate answers, that may be an indication that he is a mentor and teacher, and those are the best bosses.

Regardless of how the interviewer answers the questions, you will have demonstrated that you have done some research on the company before coming in for the interview, and knowing something about the company ALWAYS gets you points over those candidates who have not done their research, and who don’t know much about the company.