How to answer: “Do you have any questions for us?”

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer do you have any questions for usThis might seem like a less important interview question, but don’t be fooled. And never answer with ‘no’! This interview question is actually one of the most important ones to prepare for, because it allows you to demonstrate your interest in the role and the company – while also assessing if you really want to work there.

In an interview, there are a few questions we can almost guarantee you’ll be asked, and “Do you have any questions for us?” is one of them. That means you can take time to prepare a great response – one that helps you demonstrate your passion for your work, your interest in the company and your understanding of their challenges and goals.

The questions you ask in response could focus on a wide range of areas, such as:

  • The company and its future direction
  • The industry
  • Competitors
  • Recent news or events
  • The department’s direction and how it fits with company strategy
  • Why the incumbent is leaving (or where the work has come from for a newly created role)
  • The expectations of the role and how success is measured
  • Scope for future expansion
  • Company culture
  • The recruitment process timeline and/or next steps

Think about what matters most to you, as well as how you can effectively demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Below are some example questions to get you started.

  • What’s it like to work here? This is a fairly broad and open question; however, it can often be very revealing. If the interviewer gets a little defensive or guarded, it may suggest you need to explore further.
  • How would you describe your culture? Most interviewers should be prepared to answer this question. Cultural fit is becoming more and more important for recruiters because companies recognise it as being integral to job satisfaction and employee retention. By asking the question, you’re showing that it’s an important consideration for you too.
  • How did the role become vacant? Why did the incumbent leave? This question can uncover some interesting insights into the workplace, the challenges of the role and the workplace culture.
  • What is your leadership style like? This would obviously only be relevant if your reporting manager was the interviewer, but you could also ask an independent recruiter if they know much about the manager’s style. This question can provide insight into whether or not their style will work well for you.
  • What do you expect from your direct reports (or from me, if I’m successful)? This question (like the previous one) lets the interviewer know that relationships and performance expectations are important to you. It is also a fairly open question, which allows for varied responses – again providing a useful indicator for you to assess personality and cultural fit.
  • What are the critical challenges of this role? The way the interviewer answers this can provide some really important insight. You might think you know what the focus of the role is – but by asking about the challenges, you can sometimes learn far more about the most important aspects. The answer should give you a good indication of what’s valued most across the different areas of responsibility, which a role description can’t really provide.
  • What are the hours and remuneration? This should have been explained by the recruiter prior to your interview. However, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if you’re unclear on any aspects relating to remuneration, hours, travel and workplace policies. Don’t appear overzealous in your line of questioning, particularly around flexible hours and perks, but it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Topical questions: demonstrating your knowledge of the company

In addition to the questions above, you should do some research about the company to learn as much as you can about recent announcements, news and other company happenings. This will enable you to ask some topical questions, which could focus on:

  • Strategic direction
  • Threats and opportunities
  • Competitive activity
  • Operational issues
  • Progress on specific projects

These types of questions are especially relevant if your potential new role is likely to be involved in any recently announced projects or initiatives.

You could also ask more technical questions about current projects where appropriate, but be careful not to pass critical comments about how the company is managing them. This could appear presumptuous or arrogant and might put the recruiter off.

Answering the question “Do you have any questions for us?” is a great opportunity to get a better feel for the role, and to show the interviewer that you’ve done your homework. Be honest and authentic, while staying positive and enthusiastic about the job, and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare! 

Do you struggle with nerves during interviews? For help building your confidence, making a great impression and increasing your interview success rate, see our Interview Training and Coaching Services.