There comes a time in every job interview when the hiring manager asks whether you have any questions. As everyone knows, you can’t say “no,” but as MIT career development specialist Lily Zhang explains in a Daily Muse post, it’s not enough to ask about day-to-day responsibilities or the other boring things everyone brings up. You want to stand out and leave a lasting impression, and with Zhang’s help, you can do just that.
The key, Zhang writes, is to research the company beforehand and tailor your questions based on what you’ve learned. “Aside from leaving a stronger impression with your interviewer, there is the added bonus of this feeling more like a genuine conversation than a rapid-fire Q&A session,” she writes. “So throw away that list of stale questions—and start doing your homework.”
Scroll down to read her three tips for crafting great interview questions.
1. Show Some Enthusiasm and Prove You’ve Done Your Homework — If the company has just made a major acquisition, say something like, “It’s so exciting that you’re acquiring companies like XYZ … how might this spirit of innovation translate to other areas of your business.” You want to show that you’re aware of and excited about what’s going on.
2. Appeal to Their Core Values — Through talking to the hiring boss, you should be able to get a sense of what the company truly values. If it’s ambition and self-improvement, Zhang writes, ask about training and mentorship programs you might get involved in.
3. Make a Personal Connection — With the help of websites like LinkedIn, you’ll likely be able to read up on the interviewer and look for common ground. If you’ve both done nonprofit work, use that knowledge to craft a question about the company’s dedication to volunteerism. “Questions like this help you build a connection with the hiring manager and show him or her that you value the same things,” Zhang advises. “Just definitely make sure to explain where you found this information—it can be a little creepy if you neglect this step!”