How important is it to ask questions at the end of your interview?

One of the most overlooked pieces of an interview is the opportunity for you to ask the potential employer questions about the job. The two things that can leave the most lasting impression on the interviewer are how you start the interview and how you finish it. When you reach the end of the interview and the interviewer asks you: “Do you have any questions for me?,” it is imperative that you have questions readily available.Not just any questions either, good questions. If you do not have questions prepared, the interviewer may think that you are not interested in the position. So what are good questions? I have several of my favorite questions that I recommend to ask which I have shared with you below. Additionally, I have started discussions in various forums to see what other people felt were good questions:

“Give me three words to describe the company culture…” This was a question shared with me by the VP of HR of a major corporation.It is his favorite question to be asked at the end of an interview and can often give you insight into the company.

My favorite questions to ask at the end of an interview are:

“What sort of ramp-up period do you expect for someone coming into this positions?”
“What qualities does your ideal candidate possess and how do you see me fitting into those parameters?”
“Of the people who have had this position in the past what have you found worked most effectively about those individuals and what, if any, were the areas that you would have liked to have seen improvement in?”
“What has been your biggest challenge with filling this position?”
“What is it that you like about working for XYZ company?”

Additional questions shared with me from the various discussion include the following:

What are the primary goals you see for the individual you hire for this role in order to be successful – in other words what are the challenges that currently exist that needed to be dealt with first and foremost? This gives you an opportunity to expound on how you could go about dealing with those challenges or how you’ve dealt with similar challenges in the past.

After discussing my qualifications etc., is there anything that would concern you about my ability to take on this role? This gives you an opportunity to address any areas that you may not have covered well previously.

I’m excited about the potential within this position and particularly with XYZ company, what are your next steps in the interview process? You need to know what to expect next. 

What has been the extent of change in the firm’s policies and procedures due to the recession?

What is your leadership style?

What are your communication preferences (i.e., email, vmail, text, IM, cell, in-person, etc.)?

What are the learning goals you would like your team to accomplish
(i.e., technical proficiency, current expense policy, in-house intranet,

What are some sample interview questions I will be asked…

Here are the most basic interview questions you will be asked during an interview:

Tell me about yourself…
Why did you leave your last position or why are you looking to leave your current position?
Why should we want to hire you?
Why would you like to work for us?
What is your biggest weakness?
Tell me about a time you worked with a challenging boss or co-worker and how you handled it…
What is your greatest achievement?
Do you prefer to work as part of a team or independently? (this is a trick question-the answer is always BOTH!)
What is your bottom line salary requirement?
Do you have any questions for us?

For a list of additional interview questions I suggest the following websites: