You’ve done everything you can to nail this interview. You trawled obscure parts of the company’s website and absorbed its social media feeds. You arrived 15 minutes early for the interview (the perfect amount of time, according to experts). In answer to the dreaded question about your weakness, you trotted out your best humblebrags: “I’m a perfectionist!” “I’m a workaholic!” Then comes the last question, dropped casually, as if it’s an afterthought:
“Do you have any questions for me?”
Make no mistake: This is the most important question. But what’s the best way to answer it?
Many respond by asking about work-life balance and company culture, as recommended.
Don’t. Maybe that works in some industries, but at least in Silicon Valley, it’s often seen as a meaningless, throwaway question that reflects a lack of interest on the interviewee’s side.
“Avoid asking open-ended questions about culture,” says Mor Goldberger, head of product operations.
She sees that question as a missed opportunity to dig deeper with an executive. Instead, she advises asking them what they love most about working there, or what gets them out of bed in the morning.
Qian Liu, chief data officer at Guideline Technologies, estimates that she has interviewed almost 1,000 people, between her current job and previous roles at GoFundMe and Wealthfront. One immediate red flag for her is candidates who ask questions they should know (or could Google) the answers to.
“When they ask a question that they can get an easy answer to, like our benefits or vacation policy—which were in the job posting—I feel like they didn’t read the description,” she said.