What It Says About You if You Don't Ask Questions in an Interview

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

Even if you dress the part, provide an impressive resume and ace every question that comes your way, a job interview can sour quickly if you respond with a “no” when the hiring manager gives you the opportunity to ask questions. Find out five assumptions the employer may make about you if you pass up your chance to ask questions during the interview.

1. You’re Not Interested in the Employer

Not asking questions shows a lack of interest in the position and the organization, implying that you may just be looking for any old job. Demonstrate to the hiring manager that you’re enthusiastic about working for the company by inquiring about future opportunities for career growth or asking about the company culture. Show your interest in the position by asking specific questions about job duties or relevant skills.

2. You’re Not Prepared for the Interview

By shirking the opportunity to ask questions, you’re making it clear to the hiring manager that you haven’t prepared for the interview. Take the time to read the job description carefully, and jot down any details that are unclear or items that you want to clarify. Feel free to take your written questions along to the interview so you don’t forget them.

3. You Haven’t Researched the Organization

Asking thoughtful questions about the organization shows that you’ve made the effort to find out more about the company, its products and services, and its employees. Take the time to research the company and its history so you can ask well-thought-out questions. Avoid asking questions that you can easily find the answer to with a bit of research.

4. You’re Not Intelligent

Hiring managers look for candidates who are intelligent and capable of independent thinking. By asking questions during the interview, you show that you are able to take what you’ve learned from your research of the company and apply it to the situation to create questions that are insightful. If you spot a news article about a recent change in the organization’s business procedures, ask the hiring manager how the new process is working for the agency.

5. You’re Not Looking Ahead

By asking questions geared toward the hiring process and making plans to follow up, you reinforce your interest in the position. Ask the hiring manager how soon you can expect to hear from him after the interview, and find out who you should contact in case you have additional questions.

Think of every job interview as a two-way street in terms of conversation. It’s not just an opportunity for the hiring manager to quiz you. It’s also a chance for you to learn more about the job, show your enthusiasm for the position and the employer, and present yourself as an intelligent and prepared candidate.

Photo Courtesy of Deirdre Augustus at Flickr.com


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Duncan so very true. There will be times when the interviewer has been so thorough that you really don't need to ask any questions at the end. Try to keep that line of communication open though by saying something like I don't have any questions at this time but may I contact you should I have questions after I leave? Good opening to get their business card or at least their contact information so that you can send a thank you note after the interview.

  • Duncan  Maranga
    Duncan Maranga

    It's true that asking questions during the interview depicts you as an intelligent person who also has great interest in the organization. However, in the event that you don't have enough appropriate questions to ask, you had better, politely, notify your interviewers so. It's more detrimental to ask careless questions than to politely keep silent.

  • Cory L.
    Cory L.

    I think it's important to find the right balance between not asking any questions and asking too many questions. In interviewing people, I've found that those who ask tons of questions are trying too hard to make themselves look assertive, when they're really just demonstrating that they feel the need to overcompensate for a missing skill.

  • Erin H.
    Erin H.

    I have always found it helpful to respond with "No, you've been very thorough, so I have no additional questions" when asked that question. At least it makes the interviewer feel good. I do agree that getting contact information in case you have additional questions is important. I think that the mistake that applicants make when they don't ask questions is allowing the interviewer to make these assumptions. An interview should be a dialogue, so telling the interviewer that you've researched the company helps to alleviate doubts about your interest and intelligence.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    I agree that perhaps the most important thing about asking questions during an interview is to show engagement with the process and that individual employer. As long as a candidate is asking questions throughout the process and engaging, it is probably not critical to ask them at the end, but showing that you've prepared for the role is key.

  • Lorri Cotton
    Lorri Cotton

    Not asking questions doesn't mean that you are not prepared for your interview. On the contrary, it may mean that you are so prepared that you truly know whatyou need to about the company and its policies. If hiring managers think like this, then they push fantastic candidates out of the door, simply because they neglected to answer a question, when it wasn't necessary.

  • Lydia K.
    Lydia K.

    @William, I agree that you can go too far with the questions. And this is especially true if you stick to widely circulated interview scripts without personalizing them. Some interviewers use a traditional interview format but others are informal and you may actually have an engaging conversation with your interviewer that answers all your questions so you don't have anything else to ask at the end. If this is the case, as the article says, it's okay to ask more about the rest of the hiring process.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    So true! Questions are essential. I have had the most success with asking the interviewer what he or she likes about the company or the job. It is very telling to see if people are happy in their jobs but also tells you a lot about how valued they feel as part of a team.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Andrew you might be surprised how many people ask "Did I get the job?" as the interview is wrapping up! Job seekers don't want to waste their time if the company is not interested in them which is why they ask the question. Most interviewers won't give an answer at that time but will indicate when they will be making a decision and what the job seeker can do next. Personally, if I was the interviewer and I was asked "did I get the job", my first reaction would probably be to just so no and move on. @Tara you wanted to know questions not to ask, that would be one of them. Look there really is no right or wrong here. Every interview is going to be different and you are just going to have to think on your feet. If all of your questions have been answered, then say that and ask for the next steps. @William I have never been in an interview, on either side of the table, where too many questions were asked. As long as the questions are pertinent to the position or the company, ask them. One caution here - do not try to get too personal with the interviewer. Sure you can ask how they like their job or why they wanted to work for the company but draw the line there. Keep all questions professional and make sure that you are paying attention to the answers. How many times have you been in an interview where you ask a question but, even as it's being answered, your mind has already moved on to the next question that you want to ask. You can miss a lot of good information. Best of luck to all on your next interview.

  • William  shankle
    William shankle

    I believe over extending efforts to inquire with too many questions may lead the interviewer into believing that you may be a person that will challenge every trivial issues with detail

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    I've heard that it's really poor form to ask no questions of an interviewer. I wonder though, are there questions you absolutely should never ask? Especially questions you might think are good to ask but definitely aren't? Are there questions you might ask that would have the opposite effect you want? I think it might be interesting to have a list of questions to avoid.

  • Andrew  S.
    Andrew S.

    I agree with most of the points made in the article. You absolutely should ask questions at the end of the interview. As Nancy said, even if, by any chance, all of the questions you've prepared for this moment, have already been covered during your conversation with the interviewer, at least inquire about the next steps in the hiring process. On a lighter note, I'm wondering what's worse, failing to ask questions or asking a really awkward question, like "Did I get the job?"

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments and differing opinions. In my experience I have found that most of my questions get answered during the interview. I just try to keep track of them and check them off as we go through the interview - maybe asking for clarification or more information. So many times, by the end, I have all of my questions answered. I will just say something like - thank you you have answered all of my questions for now but, if I think of something later, may I get in touch with you? That kind of leaves the door open a little bit.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I completely agree that failure to ask questions can signify a lack of interest in the employer. If you don't come in with serious questions, the interviewer is very likely to get the idea that you really don't care about the company, and that it's just the job itself that you are after. Make sure to always have a prepared list of questions to ask, just to show that you really do want to know more about the company.

  • Elizabeth Schaul
    Elizabeth Schaul

    I think not asking questions signifies lack of interest in the job and the company!

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    I disagree that not asking questions belies a lack of intelligence. Interviewees can still come across as intelligent by how they answer questions and how they carry themselves. Sometimes a lack of asking questions comes from being polite since candidates know interviewers have a busy day. A lack of asking questions might be a sign of confidence as opposed to ignorance.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Emma absolutely you can ask about their experiences. Keep in mind, however, that they are representing the company so you might not get the answer that you were seeking but you will get a pretty good idea just by how they respond. I will typically ask what happened to the person who held this position. Did they get promoted or did they resign and/or get fired. Or if it's a new position, you can ask about the expectations for the position. It's not too personal to ask the interviewer how they like the company; do they enjoy their job, etc.

  • Emma Rochekins
    Emma Rochekins

    Would it be inappropriate to ask the interviewers about their experiences with the company, their relationship to the position you're interviewing for or some other similarly borderline questions that some might find too personal?

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