One of the staples of every interview is when, near the end, your interviewer asks you in some form or another, "Do you have any questions for me?" Don’t be caught off guard. Having questions of your own ready to ask sends the message that you are listening, thinking and assessing whether this company and the position are a good fit for your qualifications and interests.
Financial industry employers readily admit they are interested in candidates who ask quality questions and make intelligent conversation based on what they know about the organization. They use that exchange to make judgments about a candidate. It is a significant opportunity to set yourself apart in a positive way from the other candidates for the position.
Demonstrate knowledge of the company
Part of your preparation for the interview should include the development of questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and interest in the position. Show that you have done your research on the company; don’t ask about information that would be found in a simple Web search. Some good topics to cover include asking about the future of the firm:
- What can you tell me about the firm’s plans for growth?
- How do you view your chief competitors?
- How would you describe the company's management style?
- What changes do you see coming for this company in the next four to five years?
- What do you like most about working here?
History of the position
Unless this is a new position, you are also entitled, maybe even expected, to ask about the history of the position for which you are interviewing. Give some thought to creating your own version of the following:
- What did the employee who held this position previously go on to do?
- What does the company appreciate most in its employees?
- What types of skill are you looking to add with this hire that you do not already have at the firm?
- What would you say are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first 90 days or so?
Calm any discord
Of course, you will want to follow up on any clues you picked up throughout the interview and play them into questions to demonstrate your attention as well as to calm any discord you may have in your mind as a result. Of course, all of your questions should be posed in a courteous, non-challenging way. Remember, you are the guest here. And when you have satisfied all of those, there is still one more question to ask your interviewer:
“What are the next steps in the interview process?”