We all know the job-hunting drill: polish our professional resume, research the company prior to the interview, and be prepared to answer questions about ourselves during the interviewing process. But what about when the interviewer asks us, at the end of the first round, “Do you have any questions?”

The answer should not be, “No.” We should be prepared with job interview questions; the interviewer expects us to ask some. Remember, however, that you’ll get a chance to ask your questions toward the end of the interview, so don’t interrupt the process to blurt them out. The interview is not a debate, where you try to turn questions around on your interviewer. Therefore, If she asks you where you see yourself in 5 years, don’t switch it around and ask her the same thing without giving an answer. She will not be amused.

After you calmly and competently give your answers, now it’s your turn to ask questions. Here are 5 great questions to keep in mind at the end of the first interview round. We’re starting at the general and heading toward the specific, though you could do them in the opposite order if you like.

  1. What are the company’s values and philosophy?

This is a great question because it’s open-ended and subject to individual interpretation. The interviewer might talk about specific social activities that various employees enjoy doing together, which will give you an idea what may expected of you in order to fit into the culture there. What if the department you would potentially join is comprised of all singles who go out drinking together every Friday night? Is that something you would want to do or are able to do? Or maybe the interviewer will discuss a more global philosophy about charity events that employees are expected to participate in. Whatever he says, you’ll be left with a broader picture than just the job itself, which is why this is such a good question.

  • What’s your favorite part about working at this company?

This might feel like it’s putting your interviewer on the spot, but she should be prepared to say something positive about her position and her company. It will be interesting to see what she come up with—is it the work, the culture, the values, something else? Can you relate to the picture your interviewer is painting of what she likes about coming to work each day? Or maybe she isn’t that positive about her job, which is also an interesting piece of information for you.

  • Will there be opportunities for professional development in this position?

Note the precise wording of this question. It’s not asking about rewards in terms of salary increases or bonuses or promotions out of the position you haven’t even been offered yet. Those questions would be presumptuous! You’re asking about chances to broaden your skills and learn new things beyond the job description, and no one should be alarmed at that.

  • What are your expectations of the [potential job title] over the 90 days to 6 months?

This is an important job interview question. You need to know what they expect and how closely you will be supervised. What goals do they need you to hit and when? Will there be someone helping you or will you be tossed into the sea to swim on your own? Pay close attention to the exact way your interviewer answers this question.

  • What are the biggest challenges of this job?

You may not receive a truthful answer to this question, but it’s worth a shot. Therefore, listen very carefully to what he says and try to read between the lines. Does he talk more about the customers or your coworkers? Is he making jokes about the computer system? He’s an employee too, and he may be frustrated with the same problem you’ll soon experience if you end up working there—unless he’s the owner, of course, and creating the problems!

These are excellent job interview questions for the initial, round one interview. If you continue along in the process, you will want to drill down into much more detailed questions about the position, salary, benefits, and precise working conditions and potential for advancement.

If you need assistance coming up with job interview questions, or getting your resume in great shape, contact Resume Advisor today.

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