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Surprisingly, the most common answer to this question is “No.” Not only is this the wrong answer, but you have missed an opportunity to find out information about the company. It is important for you to ask questions; not just any questions, but questions relating to the job, the company, and the industry.

Two candidates are interviewing for an inside sales position.

Henry asks, “I was wondering about benefits, and when they would become effective? Also, what is the yearly vacation allowance? And, does the company match on the 401K plan?”

Not the best questions to ask at this time. Assuming that this is the first interview, it is premature to ask about benefits. This is a “What’s in it for me?” question, and could be interpreted as self-centered, and lacking interest in the job itself.

The next candidate, Chris, says, “No, I think you just about covered everything that I wanted to know. I’m sure I’ll have more questions if I get the job.”

This is a very passive response, which doesn’t demonstrate interest or imagination. Once you get the job, if you get the job, it may be too late to ask questions.

Change of Thinking

It is important for you to ask questions to find out about the challenges of the job and the company. In some cases the interviewer will be listening to hear the types of questions you ask. The best questions will come as a result of your listening to what is asked during the interview.

“Yes, I do have some questions. From what you’ve been asking me during the interview, it sounds like you have a problem with customer retention. Can you tell me a little more about the current situation, and what the first challenges would be for the new person?

This answer shows interest in what in the problem and how you could be the possible solution. It is also an opportunity to get a sense of what will be expected.

Be Prepared

What information do you need to make a decision whether to work at this company? Make a list of at least 10 questions to take with you to the interview. Depending on who is interviewing you, your questions should vary.

If you are interviewing with the hiring manager, ask questions about the job, the desired qualities, and the challenges.

If you are interviewing with the Human Resources manager, ask about the company and the department.

If you are interviewing with management, ask about the industry and future projections. This is your chance to demonstrate your industry knowledge.

Timing is important

You will have to use your judgment about the number of questions you ask, or when to ask them. Think of this as a conversation. There will be an appropriate time to ask certain types of questions, like those about benefits and vacation. To be on the safe side, it is best to concentrate on questions about the responsibilities of the job and your fit for the position, until you get the actual offer.

When you begin to think of the interview as a two-way process you will see that it is important for you to find out as much as possible about the company. Questions will give you the opportunity to find out if this is a good place for you to work before you say “Yes.”