Always prepare, in advance, questions for the interviewer. After researching the company, you will probably have some! There are various phases of the interview process, and certain questions that are more appropriate at different points of time.
PRELIMINARY OR ON-CAMPUS INTERVIEWS
As a general guideline, the candidate should keep questions to easily identifiable, short response items. If one realizes that initial screening meetings are usually short, then it makes sense that questions which call for a longer, detailed response shortens the time you have to market yourself.
Other questions to ask vary from employer to employer. If you have thoroughly researched the company, targeted questions on new products, marketing strategies, or organizational challenges are acceptable. Remember, if you ask a question; be prepared to respond to an interviewer who asks you why you inquired about the issue.
SECOND INTERVIEWS OR COMPANY VISITS
At this level, the company is interested in gaining more specific information on your background and abilities. Likewise, you need to learn as much as possible about your potential employer. More detailed questions are appropriate at this stage. Prepare insightful questions which reflect your knowledge of the industry and that specific employer.
Questions which are pertinent to your position or the company itself are "fair game". Note the timing of your questions and to whom you are speaking. The more recently hired employees will be able to respond to certain questions while more senior level individuals will be able to address more complex issues such as the goals and direction of the organization. Remember, you will probably meet with several people, so the opportunity to ask questions is great.
Some companies require three (or more) interviews to evaluate candidates. If this occurs, you are certainly a candidate that the company is seriously considering for employment. This is the time to ask any final questions concerning the organization. Focus in on topics to which you responded in previous interviews. At this point, the issues of salary and benefits will most likely be mentioned. If the employer does not bring it up, you may. Phrasing it in relation to a salary range is acceptable. Questions concerning tuition reimbursement, vacation time, and other "perks" need to be addressed, either by you or by the company.
Unfortunately, there is no "magic formula" to assist one to determine which areas require clarification. Many questions that one generates will depend on individual research and areas of concern. Generally, insightful, well-thought-out questions that demonstrate your knowledge are the key. If you need assistance in formulating questions, stop by Career Services, GSU 309 and schedule an appointment to meet with a Career Advisor.