No one enjoys being in the hot seat, but when it comes to interviewing, it's an inescapable circumstance. From being grilled about your previous work experience to your perception of the company, it can be a little overwhelming when you get your chance to ask questions during an interview.
Even if you don't have a burning inquiry, it's always a good idea to have a small arsenal of questions at the ready, no matter who you're interviewing with. We tapped Vicki Salemi, Monster.com's resident career expert, and Amanda Augustine, TopResume's career advice expert on what you should be asking a job recruiter.
1. Always Ask At Least Two Questions
Simply put, it looks bad if you don't have a single question for a recruiter.
How can she tell if you're really interested in the position if you don't have some degree of curiosity? Even if you feel satisfied with the information already given to you, Salemi suggests asking about the company's culture or potential for job growth within the company if you're really stumped.
"You should ask questions unapologetically and without hesitation," says Salemi. "This is your chance to learn about the company from an insider's perspective, and your inquisitiveness is appreciated, not an annoyance."
2. Create A List Of Questions Beforehand
It's your responsibility as a potential candidate to do your research on the company before you walk in the door (or pick up the phone). Augustine says it's just as important to be prepared before your interview as it is during the actual conversation.
"Spend ample time doing some online sleuthing on the company's website, their social media counts, and third-party sites like Glassdoor to get a better sense of the business and culture," advises Augustine.
"Also, re-read the job description and, if possible, speak with the recruiter—especially if it's an external or third-party recruiter—to determine what is most important to the hiring manager when it comes to filling this role. Practice delivering succinct stories that demonstrate how you possess the right qualifications to fill the position."
After all, nothing's worse than coming off nervous or ill-prepared when the dreaded "why should we hire you?" question comes up!
3. Prepare Questions Based Off Of The Interview
While you may be dying to know about casual Friday in the office, it's important to either take mental or physical notes throughout an interviewing session. Not only does this demonstrate your drive to the recruiter, it also proves you were actually paying attention throughout the conversation.
"Asking educated questions that stem from the conversation proves to a recruiter you're really interested," says Salemi. "For example, you could inquire about job mentoring, training and growth opportunities; all questions that demonstrate how invested you are."
Augustine also advises job candidates to ask visionary questions that stand out to a potential employer, such as the recruiter's long-term plan for a role or the future of the company.
4. Don't Ask About Salary And Perks Right Away
This is a sure-fire way to leave your recruiter with a not-so-stellar first impression of you, especially if you're only in the first round of interviews. Your time to speak with a recruiter is already quite limited, so don't waste it on topics you haven't earned yet.
"Avoid asking about vacation policies and other perks; it will send the wrong message to the hiring manager about your priorities," cautions Augustine.
"If the recruiter brings up the topic of salary then you're in the clear to ask payment questions, but don't take the initiative on your own." Instead, wait until you're a little further along in the process, or follow their lead if the topic comes up organically.
5. Never Leave An Interview Without Asking About Next Steps
Augustine says you should always ask about next steps in the interviewing and hiring process, no matter what stage of the interviewing process you're in.
"It's not inappropriate to ask about the timeline or what's expected next if you move on with a recruiter," says Augustine. "Just be sure to follow up with a courteous and thoughtful thank you!"
Though job interviews may be intimidating for some, it's an inevitable fact when pursuing your dream career. Knowing the right kinds of questions to ask gives you the power to be as prepared as possible.