Preparing for internship or job interviews can be a stressful process. You have to consider how to present yourself, have your resumes and recommendations ready, and be able to answer tough questions on the spot. So once you have made it through these parts of the interview, you probably feel relieved. But then, the interviewer asks: “Do you have any questions?”
It might be your instinct to make the process easier for yourself and the recruiter by just saying, “No, I think I’m good!” However, having relevant questions at the end of an interview can show how earnest and prepared you are for the role. There is always more to learn about a position, the workplace, and the company that you are considering working for, even if you feel like you gathered all of the information you needed. You never know when supplementary questions can reveal something that the rest of the interview hadn’t.
Over the summer of 2022, I had a writing and editing internship with a small company called Braathe Enterprises, which worked on helping people create their resumes and find suitable jobs. This position allowed me to pick up helpful tips about recruiting and interviewing, so I learned how important it is to ask questions after an interview and a base of applicable questions to ask.
If you want to learn more about the specific job that you would be taking on, you could ask:
- What are your expectations for me in this role?
- What’s the most important thing I should accomplish in the first 90 days?
- What’s the performance review process like here?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
- What are the most immediate projects that I would take on?
These questions will provide you a better understanding of your day-to-day tasks and the demands of the position.
If you have questions about the people you would be working with and the way that the workplace runs, you could ask:
- Who will I work with most closely? What other departments or units will I interact with?
- What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
- What do you and the team usually do for lunch?
- What’s different about working here than anywhere else you’ve worked?
- What do new employees typically find surprising after they start?
It is important to note that interviewer answers aren’t likely to reveal everything, especially negative aspects of work culture. But the answers to these questions can help you gauge what kind of culture you may be stepping into.
Furthermore, you could ask questions about the broader company. Before an interview, it is a good idea to research the company you are applying to so that you have an idea of their mission and scale, so avoid asking questions where answers could be easily found on Google. You could ask:
- What are the current goals that the company is focused on?
- How would you describe the company’s values and how are they reflected in this branch?
- How has the company changed over the last few years?
These questions could be starters for a more in-depth conversation, so come with a few questions and don’t hesitate to ask follow-ups if the recruiter says something that especially captures your interest. Demonstrating your interest (and that you were listening) during the interview could go a long way in getting you hired, and having a list of questions to ask can help with this. So, the next time you go to interview for a new internship or job, consider using some of these questions to make the most of your opportunity.