Working wise: Always make sure you ask questions when being interviewed

Photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff Charles Strachey, Alberta Employment and Immigration regional manager Make sure you are prepared when going for a job interview, which includes researching the company you are interviewing with and making sure you ask questions. iStockphoto\AlexRaths\ADVOCATE news services

Dear Working Wise:

I’ve gone to a few job interviews lately and I have not been sure what to say when the interviewers ask me if I have any questions. Should I have any questions? Do you have any suggestions? Signed, Unsure

Dear Unsure:

Many interviewers will ask you near the end of the interview if you have any questions. If you say no, you are missing an opportunity to:

Make a positive impression on the employer;

Decide if this job is a good fit for you;

Use the information to summarize why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Research the company and the position before the interview and write a list of two or three questions. Coming to the interview with questions shows the employer that you are serious about the position and confident enough to ask questions.

Questions you might want to ask:

What are the organization’s biggest challenges?

How would the person in this position be involved in meeting these challenges?

What are the company’s long-range plans?

How would you describe the ideal candidate?

What immediate tasks will the successful candidate be working on?

What skills do you think are most critical to success in this role?

What do employees enjoy most about working here?

How is success measured in this company?

How would you describe the culture of this organization?

These types of questions demonstrate your interest in the position and the answers will help tell you which of your strengths you should mention at the closing of the interview.

Bring a pen and pad of paper to the interview and take notes on anything you want to ask about later in the interview.

When the employer invites you to ask questions, quickly review your list and ask questions that haven’t already been answered or need clarity.

Ask your most important questions first and pay attention to the interviewer’s non-verbal cues after each question to ensure they are comfortable being asked another question.

Listen carefully to what the interviewer has to say and take notes. Use what you have learned during the interview to create a short summary of your most relevant skills and qualifications.

At the end of your interview, restate your interest in the position along with a summary of your key skills that show you would be a great fit.

Experts usually recommend not asking about salary unless the employer mentions it first. You want the employer to know that you are most interested in how you can benefit the organization. Waiting until you have a job offer also puts you in a stronger bargaining position.

For more tips on job interviews, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at

Good luck in your next interview!

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at Charles Strachey is a regional manager with Alberta Community and Social Services. This column is provided for general information.

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