Ask the Right Questions
If you find yourself fortunate enough to come in for an interview to an internship program, you are one step closer to setting up the future of your dreams. That’s why it’s so important to take this interview seriously, and show that you are more than just another student willing to answer their questions; in fact, you’re willing to ASK your own questions, because that’s how passionate you are.
Asking questions in an interview is its own art form that requires skill and preparation. You do not want to interrupt the person who is asking you questions; however, at the end of the interview, most always, the interviewer will say, “Now, do you have any questions?” And if they do not, at the end, it’s an appropriate time to pipe up with what you have to say.
Not all questions are created equal, which is why we’re going to share our top 5 questions you should ask in an interview setting:
Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this internship?
- This is a question that makes it seem like you are organized, excited, and ready to take on a full day’s worth of work. Plus, this is your chance to learn more about the role so you can decide if this is an internship that you do indeed really want. With a breakdown of the day-to-day, it’s hard for them to hide what you will actually be doing.
Where do you see the company heading in 5 or 10-years?
- Now, this question can be a wildcard one, so we recommend holding off until you think it’s an appropriate time to ask it. This will help you gage how passionate your interviewer is about the company. If you’re in an interview with 3 people and they seem less-than-excited to answer this question, that should give you a good indication of the company.
What do you like most about working for this company?
- People LOVE to talk about themselves. If you give your interviewers a chance to talk themselves up, they are going to like you. This is a surefire hit question that you can ask in any interview, no matter where it is. It’s such a good question, in fact, that it’s wise to build off of it and continue the dialogue, “Wow, that is so awesome to hear! What did you like the most when you first started working here? What do you look forward to this most in a few years working here?”
What’s the typical career path for someone working in this role?
- This is a great way to show the interviewers that you are not another millennial; you want to stick with the company for the long-run. Plus, you might actually want to know what potential you have within the role. Taking a job that has no availability for improvement might be something you want to uncover early on.
Is there anything else I can do to position myself favorably for this role?
- It’s always good to seem eager and willing to put in the time. This is a great way to ask them if there is anything else you can do while you wait to hear back about your interview. There probably isn’t anything else, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! One of them might give you a business card or their LinkedIn contact information.
What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Only ask this one if they have not addressed the timeline. For example, if they tell you, twice, that you will hear back from them on Friday, don’t beat a dead horse. But, if they are ambiguous about it, there’ s nothing wrong with asking about the timeline. You are trying to build up your future, too, which means you deserve some insight into their hiring process.
I would leave it there with the questions, as you don’t want to annoy the interviewers, either. After you leave the interview, there’s another questions approach you can take, and it’s right on LinkedIn.
You can take to LinkedIn before or after your interview. I have heard many stories from people who landed jobs because they looked up a manager at the company on LinkedIn and personally directly messaged them. You can ask all of the above questions to people on LinkedIn, and wait to see who answers.
Generally, people on LinkedIn are not looking to spend hours answering your questions, so I would immediately cut right to the, “What do you like most about working there?” question. Tell them how much you love the company and admire their work, and just continue to let them talk about themselves. See how responsive they are to engaging you, as you don’t want to take it over the top.
After awhile, some of these managers will provide you with a personal email where you can send a resume and cover letter. This email is your golden ticket. You are now no longer just another number in their big anonymous “info” email. Many times, interviewers will give you this email after your interview. But if you don’t want to wait until then, you can always go fishing on LinkedIn.