While you may have done all your research on the company, spoken with a recruiter in the past and sought opinions from UConn alums currently working at the company in similar roles, it’s still imperative that you ask questions during your interview. It shows that you’re genuinely interested, but it’s also a way to show that you have done your homework and are prepared to become a part of their team. Don’t miss the opportunity to set yourself apart by asking well thought-out questions.
“What do you see as the biggest challenge in this job?” They may have asked this of you – turn the table! And take the opportunity to then reply with how you are the right person because you’re capable of handling the challenge and in fact have already done something similar (insert your own story/experience here).
“What do you think is the best part of working for this company?” Their answer could go in many directions – company culture, opportunities for advancement, professional development or even turnover. The answer might even allude to just looking good on your resume for your next job! While this is probably a red flag to some, it might mean the company has a terrific training program (or internship program) but very little turnover and/or a “flat” organizational structure leading to little opportunity for advancement. But it also may mean other companies requiring 3-5 years’ experience look here first because they know there’s a strong background and training.
(For an internship) “What is your conversion rate?” This means how many interns do you offer full-time positions to, and how many accept? It will tell you whether it’s a foot in the door to full-time, as well as whether interns have a good experience and want to work there.
Ask a strategic, specific question about the company and/or leadership. This question should be thoughtful, and based on information you’ve obtained through your research – but NOT on their web site. Maybe an executive has been interviewed for a news story or blog, or published a Q & A, or there have been news stories about the company. Be insightful, but don’t try to embarrass your interviewer by stumping them. Be sincere and inquisitive in your question – but they may not have an answer. It’s ok – it shows you’ve done some research beyond the standard web site review and that you are genuinely interested in the growth/direction/culture, etc. of the company.
Finally, ask a question based on the interview. In most cases your interview involves more than straight (interviewer) question and (your) answer. Show that you’re an active listener by paraphrasing or rephrasing a comment the interviewer made with a question of your own. For example, you might say “you mentioned there are many employee support groups at your company. Do you recommend that new hires jump in to them immediately, when they first start, or should new staff learn and become familiar with their new role first?” By asking questions based on the conversation you’re having you’re showing you haven’t just memorized typical interview questions and answer, you can think on your feet, you’re thoughtful and a good listener – all skills they’re looking for.
The key to a successful interview is the same as the key to success everywhere else – be prepared and be yourself. Good luck!