This is your big moment. You've been invited to return for the final interview with the person who really has influence over whether or not you'll be hired.
What do you ask, and where, during the interview, do you ask it?
Patty Coffey, partner in the Information Technology Search Division at WinterWyman has some suggestions.
"When you ask your questions during an interview and to whom you address them are as important as the questions themselves," she says. She believes if you follow these suggestions you'll show your potential employer you are right for the job.
Timing is everything
You want to make sure you ask appropriate, well-timed questions. It's your job to convey interest and excitement for the role and your questions should scream that message. You have the right to ask almost any question you want. But asking about flex hours, vacation, benefits or telecommuting at this stage is off-putting and inappropriate, and can take you out of contention for the job. All first-round interview questions should be based around the company, the people and the role itself.
When researching the company you are interviewing with, along with the people you'll be meeting, be sure to prepare questions that cannot be easily answered through the company's website, by your recruiter or through any social media outlets. Coming in with these kinds of simple, flat questions shows a lack of interest, preparation and even strategic thinking.
In addition to the questions you prepare ahead of time, questions will come to mind during the interview. For instance, a conversation about the company's technical environment could bring to mind related technology questions. It's fine to jot down your thoughts as you are talking, and ask those new questions during the interview.
Walk in Your Interviewer's Shoes
There is a job that is not being done and the company needs someone who can jump in and help. Your interviewer may be stressed and eager to get the right person in the role fast. By understanding your interviewer's mindset, you can think about your questions from her perspective. Leave the hiring manager feeling like you are more interested in the company's needs than your own.
Know your Audience
While it may not be in your best interest to ask your potential new manager about certain aspects of the job, you can appropriately vet some of your questions with a potential peer. A question like, "What is your typical day or week like" for example, can help you understand the time demands of the job without coming across as being afraid of long hours.
Coffey also offers these questions you may ask the interviewer to help you stand out among the interviewees: