When we started breaking down common internship interview questions on our Instagram, we began getting requests for other questions frequently asked by recruiters. One that stood out is asked in nearly every job interview, and even during career fairs or on informational phone calls: “Do you have any questions?”
While this prompt might be simple enough for some job seekers, it can be a challenge for others to prepare for in advance. It’s tempting to skip asking the interviewer questions in an attempt to exude confidence and knowledge about the field you’re applying in, but it’s important to strike the right balance. Most hiring managers want somebody who is knowledgeable and confident about their career path, but also curious, interested, and willing to learn.
So, how should you respond to a question about questions? Kim Rojas Hernandez, a Handshake recruiting coordinator, says it’s best to come to an interview with a few in your back pocket.
“The candidate should always come prepared with questions! Questions that can’t be easily answered on our website really stand out to me,” says Kim. “It usually gives great signal on genuine curiosity and interest. [This prompt is] a great opportunity for candidates to shine — whether it’s questions about the product, the business model, the culture, the growth opportunities, or the interviewer’s experience at Handshake — I think it’s very valuable.”
“Questions that can’t be easily answered on our website really stand out to me. It usually gives great signal on genuine curiosity and interest.”
Try to prepare in advance
Come up with a list of some general questions that you’ll want to ask in any job or internship interview. Some examples:
- “What qualities would help me succeed in this position?”
- “What would an average day look like in this role?”
- “How would you describe the team dynamics at [company name]?”
- “In what ways do you measure success for this particular role?”
- “How is feedback typically given on this team?”
- “What sort of growth opportunities can I expect at [company name]? Are there resources for mentorship, management training, or further professional education?”
- “What are the next steps that I should expect in this process?”
Do your best to compile some more specific questions about recent updates to the organization or about your interviewer’s personal experience as well. Bring these with you to the interview to have in your back pocket, but know that some of your prepared questions might be answered over the course of your chat; don’t ask anything redundant!
Stay curious throughout the process
Come prepared, but don’t be afraid to jot down new questions over the course of your call or interview! Speak up when a hiring manager says something notable about a company initiative, an impactful new hire, or anything else that grabs your interest — it shows that you’re engaged and attentive.