You did your research, got a good night's sleep and answered every question in the interview thoughtfully and articulately. The time you have with the hiring manager is winding down and there is just one more question.
"Is there anything you'd like to ask us?"
Hiring experts say this may be the most important juncture of the interview. You're still being evaluated and the questions you ask here will be used to separate you from other candidates.
It's not the time to ask about vacation time and parking spaces: it's the time to finish strong.
"In the scads of interviews I have done there are some things I wish someone would have asked," said Mike Smith, founder SalesCoaching1. "It probably would have pushed them ahead, as it's not often one shines so far above that there is no contest. If so, a job offer would have been made long ago in the process."
The questions you ask can be used to show that you've done your homework and have spent time researching the company. They can help you clarify a point you may not have made as strongly as you wish you had earlier in the interview.
Offering a generic question is bad. Even worse – the "kiss of death," according to one career consultant we spoke with – is saying nothing at all. If you don’t have any questions after spending time learning about the company, you're telling the person on the other side of the desk that you're not really that interested in the position or, even worse, you don't care.
You want to prepare at least two questions that show you're interested in the position and have done your homework. You also want to avoid questions that will result in a yes or no answer. An interview should be a conversation, so give the interviewer something to discuss.
Beyond that, these questions will help you gain more insight into the company, it's culture and your potential future there. Remember that an interview is as much about seeing if the company is the right for you as it is about the company seeing if you are the right fit for them.
But what exactly is a "good" question when the tables turn and the interviewee gets to be the interviewer? This guide offers some suggestions which you should, of course, tailor to the position you're applying for and the company you're interviewing with.