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How to ace a reverse question in an interview

How to ace a reverse question in an interview

almost 3 years ago by Reili Sweet
Jon Tyson Hhq1 Lxtuwd8 Unsplash


Anyone that has experienced an interview is asked, “do you have any questions?” Perhaps some answered, “No, I don’t.” But that is a big mistake. It differs by company, but there are three purposes an interviewer would ask such question.

1. To see if you are serious about this job.

2. To check your communicative skills and active thinking.

3. To resolve any questions and worries you might have before boarding the team.

This reverse question works best to again share information about yourself in an interview. To neglect the question is an opportunity lost. You don’t want to do that in an interview. So, how do you ace a reverse question?

For a reverse question, there is two answer types: the appeal type, and the question type. In order to answer perfectly, or in this case question perfectly, you must know which type to ask.

The appeal type talks about you while questioning. In this, you show your passion, skills, degrees, experience, or anything else you want to let the interviewer know about that you couldn’t add in the interview up to this point. Usually, you will do this by saying, “In the past, I’ve done this and this. Can this skill (experience, or whatever you said) help the company grow?” Do not forget you are trying to benefit the company, and not brag about yourself. This is a yes/no question, so you can follow up with another question like, “What other skills would come in handy in working for you?”

“I am aggressive and outgoing. Can members of the office speak out ideas and freely ask questions?” 

This question shows your personality, your passion and excitement to work with the company, and question about the company culture. Do not forget, the interviewer might come back to you asking how you are aggressive. Be prepared for that.

“I have strong interest in this division and service. Am I able to work with that team?” 

This question shows your research about the company, passion to work with the company, and your future vision. It seems as a closed question, but right after you can follow by asking,

“What preparation or study can I do to work with that?” Also, instead of interest, you can say, “I see great potential” or “I love the service and am a user of it.”

“I have achieved X and Y in my previous job. Would it do any good if I did the same with you?”

This question allows you to show your achievements and ask for more. If the interviewer says "Yes," ask for more information. If, "No," ask what achievements are respected in the company.

These questions are great for helping you find out details of the job, company or industry. They also show your passion for the position and leaves a good impression to the interviewer. Yet, you must be careful to ask a question the interviewer can answer. Personalize the question depending on who your speaking with: the hiring manager, team leader, or CEO. For example, don’t ask the hiring manager about the company’s future goal in the next 5 years. That’s something you would want to ask the CEO.

“What skills would be required to become a leader or a manager in the future?”

You could ask this by saying,  “

What qualities did the past managers and leaders have?” 

The question not only checks the company culture and the people they want, but shows you are passionate in the position and want to build your career with the company.

“What is the average working day like?”

This question checks the daily tasks needed to be done and shows you are thinking as a team member already. Also, you can ask the flow of one job or yearly schedule.

“Are there projects that I can contribute soon after I join?”

This shows your active and aggressiveness, as well as high passion towards work.

“What was your motivation in difficult times of business?”

Shows great interest in work. This question also asks specifics of the job, and what motivated, or in other words, what employees cherish in working.

Before we end this article, be aware of questions you should not ask. Those are:

1. Questions you can find answers easily--such as those on the company website.

2. Questions already answered in the interview.

3. Questions answered by a yes or no, except those discussed above.

4. Questions considering overtime, payment, or welfare. If you have a recruiter, they are the best to help you with that. 

It’s perhaps obvious you shouldn’t ask 1 and 2. That just shows lack of passion in the job, resulting with your score down to zero, wasting all your work up to there. Yes/no questions, or closed questions, tend to end conversations, rather than creating a dialogue. If you need to ask a closed question, don’t forget to follow by asking the reason with the question: “Should I have a degree of this, and if not, why?”

Always compare with your previous job when you ask about overtime or salary. “I had this much overtime during busy seasons previously, how much does this position require during the peak?” or “How much is the average salary of the people in the same age group as I am in?” might be ways to ask. It’s still better not to.

If you do need to know, but you don’t want to ruin the opportunity with a single question, trust your recruiter. They know, and will tell you all the information you want to know.

“I have this degree, and would this benefit the company or position?”

Looks like a good question, but it’s a closed question. Also, you should know if your degree benefits the job you are trying out for. If you do want to make sure, ask like this: 

“I have this degree now, but is there any other I should have, or prepare for the future to further benefit the company?”

“How much over time do you work?”

Never, never ask this question straightforward. Same goes with,

“How much is the salary?” 

“Are there any employee benefits?”

“Can I easily take days off ?”

These questions make the interview feel there is a lack of interest in the company as anything but away to make money. If you do need to ask (and hopefully you don’t), make it sound positive: 

“I would like to work the same as everyone else and contribute to the company. From when to when does everyone else (or you, referring to the interviewer) work on a daily bases? What is the average daily flow like?”

Reverse questions can be the most important part of an interview. Prepare well, and they can make a real impact and give you an opportunity to receive a job offer.