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Do You Have Any Questions for Me? | The Recruiters’ POV
We teach job candidates that recruiters often wrap up an interview by asking do you have any questions for me. Most career-oriented outlets recommend applicants to take this question seriously, as hiring managers are not just polite; they have a secret agenda. When you are out there on the candidate-driven market hunting for talent, the “do you have any questions” part of the interview acts as a double-bladed sword. It reveals plenty about the candidate in front of you, but it also offers the applicants a chance to evaluate you as an employer. So let’s see today how to prepare for this tricky part of the interview.
Why Is it Important to Receive Questions from the Candidates?
Elite candidates will come to you with their homework thoroughly done, fulfilling your expectations. But how do you do your homework? And, more importantly, why is this question so important to ask?
Candidates’ Questions Demonstrate Their Interest in the Job/Company
No recruiter will short-list a candidate who does not want to ask anything. It is unlikely that any top performer will ask questions about “what this company does.” The talent you seek should ask you questions you did not cover during your conversation. Most prepared candidates focus on your company’s processes, the industry, future projections, career growth opportunities, company culture, diversity at the workplace, teamwork, and so on. Always be ready to answer such questions!
Let’s see some red flags to pay attention to during this stage of the interview.
- Candidates ask you questions about benefits, days off, salary, etc. If you didn’t bring up these topics during the conversation, candidates should refrain from asking them.
- Applicants ask you “why” questions. At this point, it is not an issue with the inquiries’ legitimacy (it is of interest to learn why the company laid off so many people in the past). The problem mostly lies with how they phrase and tone their questions.
- Candidates ask if you already decided to hire them. Such questions might suggest to many recruiters that people are a little desperate to get the job. Enthusiasm is valued, but don’t forget to put your reference checking system to good work to understand the subtexts of this eagerness.
Candidates’ Questions Reveal Details about Their Attitudes and Personal Concerns
Professional recruiters already know plenty about the candidates’ personality traits, attitudes, skills, and so on. A personality inventory and some other well-chosen pre-employment assessment tests show you whether a person is a good fit for your organizational culture. Nevertheless, this “do you have any questions for me” interview part is a more subtle type of evaluation.
First, you need to pay attention to how interviewees formulate and address the questions. If they come off as aggressive, defensive, arrogant, or desperate, make some notes in your candidate scorecard.
Secondly, these questions could reveal deep personal concerns a candidate might have, with work-life balance in pole position, followed by management styles, required leadership skills, interpersonal relationships, etc.
Companies offering employees a healthy balance are very likely to attract and retain top talent. As a recruiter, you need to have some truthful answers ready when candidates start asking you questions about your company culture.
When Should You Invite Candidates to Ask You Questions?
The standard procedure is to go about the “do you have any questions for me” part at the end of the interview. However, modern recruiting practices suggest you insert the “ask me any questions” invitation at every interview stage. Such intermezzo offers the candidates a welcomed breather and helps them get their answers as the conversation progresses.
The Beginning of the Interview
Most interviews start with discussions related to the job description, candidate’s skills, work experience, career journey, and so on. After you asked your questions, allow the candidate to do the same for more clarification and details. Your candidates will more likely show an interest in onboarding, their daily duties, work conditions, and so on.
The Main Part of the Interview
If you are conducting a structured interview, you should invite the candidate to ask you questions when you finished your inquiry. Semi-structured or unstructured interviews offer you the freedom of alternating your questions with the candidates. No matter how you approach things, you should hear and answer questions related to:
- The company’s KPIs;
- Office structure;
- Organizational culture;
- Company’s mission, vision, and values;
- Employee growth programs.
The End of the Interview
If you and the candidate clarified many details throughout the interview, the questions at this point would usually revolve around follow-up. If you didn’t cover the topic yet, applicants would most likely want to know the following:
- When they should expect to hear from you again;
- Who is going to contact them;
- How/when they should contact you for further details.
Showing interest in their hiring journey and your recruitment processes speaks volumes. Answer your candidates truthfully and follow up with them even if you won’t hire them. Remember that candidates’ experience is crucial in your branding efforts and building talent pools. Providing applicants with actionable feedback and keeping them close with the help of your ATS is the least you could to boost your talent acquisition strategies.
Types of “Any Questions for Me” You Should Expect from Top Candidates
Ultimately, such questions’ “secret agenda” allows recruiters to learn whether candidates truly came prepared for their interview. Let’s see some question types and categories candidates should ask you.
1. Questions Related to the Job’s Duties, Responsibilities, and Processes
Whether these questions arise initially or later in the interview, it is of little importance. What matters is that smart candidates might ask them if you didn’t touch these topics at all. Let’s see some examples!
- What are the company’s short- and long-term objectives for a new hire in this position?
- Could you briefly describe the onboarding process?
- What are the key performance indicators I should focus on in my first 3/6/9 months on the job?
- Does the job require travel?
- Could you walk me through a regular day on the job?
- Are there other tasks this position entails that are outside the job description?
- How does the company approach overtime?
- What are the health/safety measures for employees who work from the office or interact with customers?
- What tools does the company provide remote employees for self-management, communication, productivity, etc.?
- How does the company/supervisor offer feedback to remote employees?
- Whom do I report to in this position?
- How many coworkers are there in my team? Do I get a chance to meet them all personally?
A subtle way to evaluate candidates is to see if they paid attention to what you have discussed thus far. Are they asking questions again on topics you already clarified? Could they have gotten the answers if they performed more thorough research regarding your company?
2. Questions Regarding Your Organizational Culture
Just as you are looking for candidates to be great fits for your culture, they are looking for companies they feel will accommodate them. Here are some questions that should arise during the interview from the candidate’s part:
- What are the prospects of growth in this position?
- Could you give me some examples of career paths beginning with this role?
- What should an employee do/prove to grow in this position?
- Could you give me an example of how you encourage diversity at the workplace?
- Does the company support any corporate social responsibility projects?
- Do you offer continuous education/professional development programs to new and established employees?
- What are the soft skills that the company appreciates the most in its employees?
- How did the company’s core values change in the past years?
- What are the company’s plans for business development and employee growth?
- What do others enjoy the most about working in this company?
- How do you measure employees’ success in the company?
- What are the means/tools you use to provide employees with constructive feedback and support?
The candidate might already have the answers to such questions from their research, the current conversation they had with you, and your company reviews on career sites. If you conduct a structured interview covering topics focused on the candidate and not the company, give them time to voice their curiosity at the end of the interview. We don’t think it is necessary to emphasize the importance of honesty in answering.
3. Questions About Teamwork, Management, and Leadership
You got your chance to assess a candidate’s teamwork skills, technical abilities, and soft skills, among others. Now, it is their turn. Answer openly and honestly, without punishing the candidates for asking them. Recruiters and companies do not like applicants to make inquiries into leadership styles. Such a question might suggest the person has authority issues. Nonetheless, some questions are more than pertinent.
- How does the company help employees or departments manage conflicts?
- Does the company run programs to strengthen teamwork and cooperation?
- Do you have a go-to person to help employees manage work-related stress?
- Can you give me an example of how the company encourages feedback from the employees?
- If your employees present you with valuable ideas on business growth and improvement, what does the company do to put those ideas into practice?
Smart candidates will never ask you if you foster an environment of toxic leadership or micromanagement. They will not ask you about money or benefits, vacation time, or after-work parties. However, expect such questions from passive job seekers who want to know if your company is worthy of them going through the motions of a job change.
Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
Now, it is your time to shine! We would love to hear about your experiences with this “do you have any questions for me” part of the interview. Have you ever received one of our example questions from your candidates? Moreover, we’re sure our recruiting community will love to hear the trickiest (or funniest) questions applicants asked you during an interview! Of course, we encourage you all to ask us more questions on this topic!
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