It is likely that at the conclusion of almost every job interview, as a candidate you will be asked if you have any questions or would like to add anything. The questions you pose, or what you deem important to discuss at this point will reflect on both your level of interview experience and sophistication, and what you believe are of paramount importance when considering your candidacy. In fact, what questions you ask, and what you say at this point in the interview may affect your ranking and desirability more than any other exchange previously. Some do’s and don’t’s:
Do not ask questions that can likely only be answered by the appointing authority if this is an initial panel interview by outside subject matter experts.
Do not ask questions about wage and benefit details which can better be addressed by H.R. staff, unless this is a final interview, and you have been offered the position and the hiring authority introduces discussion pertaining to compensation.
Do not ask questions that a candidate should know if they have read the job announcement or done even rudimentary research about the community, organization, working conditions or job duties and responsibilities.
Do not ask panelists or hiring authorities questions that could be construed as controversial, personal or intrusive.
Do not ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the departure of the prior incumbent of the position you aspire to.
Do ask questions about the organization’s mission, values, culture and broad-based goals you will be expected to support if these are not available to candidates who undertake a modicum of research in preparation for the interview.
Do ask about the hiring authority’s vision, leadership and management style.
Do ask about reporting lines, professional growth, and development and advancement opportunities.
Do ask about how performance expectations are communicated to you, and what processes are in place to provide feedback, training, periodic formal reviews, and career guidance.
Even the most thorough interviews may not give you the opportunity to present important qualities or qualifications which might be helpful to raters in making decisions about your suitability for the job. Take this opportunity to cite special skills or experience, or noteworthy achievements. The key here is relevance and brevity. This is not the place to bring up your coin collecting hobby. You may take the opportunity to elaborate on an earlier question that you believe you answered incompletely, however multiple attempts to “clean-up” or expound on earlier questions will not leave a strong impression. Finally, this may be the appropriate time to discuss unusual restrictions on your availability, or ability to perform that an employer would expect you to divulge prior to receiving a job offer.