10 Job Interview Answers To the Question: "Is There Anything You Would Like To Ask Us?"

10 Job Interview Answers To the Question: "Is There Anything You Would Like To Ask Us?"

How to use this question to interview THEM

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It is usually the final thing you're asked in almost any serious job interview.

"Is there anything you would like to ask us?"

And you've probably been told to always say something at this point, right? But what?

Advice usually ranges along the lines of "just be yourself" to "remember, you're interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you", but in the thick of the interview, these platitudes are of very little practical use.

In my short but eventful professional life I have spent plenty of hours on both sides of the interview table and I have put together an article that is going to give you a handful of quick-fire options that will apply to almost every interview situation. These questions will help lock in that second round interview but, more importantly, they will give you information you need to know about your potential employer.

1. How's the work/life balance at the compan​y?

Basically a nice way of asking if employees are expected to put in extra hours and, if they are, how many.

This is a crucial bit of information. The value of any salary you are offered can only be properly evaluated when it is compared against the amount of hours you will be putting in.

2. Can I see the area I'd be working in if I get the job?

Many companies will interview at a separate location to where you will end up actually working (for a variety of reasons, sometimes completely legitimate).

Asking for a tour of your potential workplace is a great question for a number of reasons:

  1. It will be perceived as extremely proactive and help you stand out from other candidates
  2. Seeing your work environment will help you gauge how to approach you first day of work, eg: dress code, kitchen facilities etc
  3. It will give you a small snapshot of the conditions (and to a certain extent the culture) of the company.

3. How long have you been with the company?

If the answer to this question is only a handful of months, this could be a red flag.

This is not a definitive guideline, but most companies will try and get someone in the room that is trusted and knows the business well.

If your interviewer is new to the company themselves this might point to staff retention issues.

4. Is this position a new position or am I replacing someone who has left?

This can be a question that tells you a lot about the company.

If it is a new position, this points to growth. In this case, follow up on it by asking about the company's journey over the last 1 to 2 years. A recent history of growth means opportunity, which is a good sign that you will be able to move up in a short period of time.

On the flip side if you are filling a vacant position you should try and find out why it is vacant. Did the previous employee leave the company or were promoted internally. Also try and find out how long they were in the role for. If someone left a position less than 12 months after accepting it, that could be the sign of a bad culture.

5. Does the company have a high turnover rate?

This might sound a little blunt, but if the interviewer is expecting you to walk on eggshells, then this might not be the sort of job you want anyway.

High turnover is almost always the sign of a negative work environment. Whether people are leaving because of stress, work overload, poor processes, unpleasant working relations or anything else, the bottom line is: if no one wants to be there, why would you?

If they give you an non-specific answer to this question, ask something along the lines of: "How long does the typical employee stay with the company before moving on?"

6. How would you describe the company culture?

If you are qualified enough for the role you're likely to get a similar range of offers at the same level. This is what makes company culture such an important aspect. You're going to be spending a minimum of 40 hours a week at this place for the foreseeable future and spend more time with your workmates than most of your friends and family.

Having an insight into company culture is more important than nearly any other information you could get from the interview.

7. What is your favourite thing about working here?

This is a good follow up to the previous question.

Chances are a handful of interviewers will have a canned answer to any question on company culture. If what they are saying feels fake make it specific to them and they'll find it a little harder to dodge the question.

8. What does a typical day entail in my position?

The answer to this question will tell you how focused and professional the company is.

Be wary of answers like: "There really isn't such thing as a typical day in this role". While this might be pitched as a positive or exciting aspect of the job, it could just as easily suggest that you will be walking into an unorganised mess of a position, or that the interviewer doesn't truly understand the position they are trying to fill.

Either way it is bad news, as you're either getting fed to the sharks or potentially joining a workforce full of poorly recruited employees.

9. Is there anything in particular that is giving you reservations about hiring me?

A tactical question more than anything else.

Gives you the chance to address anything that otherwise might go unsaid.

It also gives you the opportunity to show how you deal with constructive criticism and shows a self-awareness in your abilities and desire to improve.

10. Is there any question you feel like I haven't fully answered?

Another tactical question.

Helps you get a second change if you think you've flubbed a question but also helps cut down the reasons you might get cut from any second round process.

After you've left and they are narrowing the field it will be a lot harder to justify filing your resume in the trash can for failing to properly answer a question if you specifically asked if they wanted more.

And one final note:

Always remember you don't want to ask these questions to impress or show you're engaged. Ask them because you want to know the answers. You need to decide if the company is worth your professional effort.

Go in the room and hold them accountable. With this attitude you will seem calm, capable and independent. Doing this is what will really land you the offer.


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Bang for Your Buck: Are OU's Meal Plans Worth the Cost?

Discover the cost of dining at OU with and without a meal plan
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This semester, I embarked on two new adventures. One, living in an off-campus apartment; and two, working in one of OU's dining areas. Those two things may not seem connected, but they definitely are. Although my apartment is subsidized by the university, it is not technically on campus. It's about a 30-minute walk or 15-minute bike ride away. Because of that, and the fact that my apartment has a kitchen, I decided not to purchase a meal plan this semester. Ironically, I ended up getting a job at a group of restaurants on campus. When you work around food often enough, you either despise it or crave it. I usually fall into the craving category. That's where not having a meal plan comes in.

In case you aren't familiar with how meal plans work at OU, allow me to explain. There are various types of meal plans, some geared toward freshman, some to commuters, and some to everyone. These plans consist of points and/or meal exchanges. 1 point equals $1. The current value of a meal exchange is $8.50. Students purchase one or both types of payment and use them to buy food around campus. Most restaurants take meal exchanges, but some only allow points. Sometimes, both are needed. For example, if your total comes to $10, you use a meal exchange and then 1.5 points.

Many restaurants adjust their prices to fit with a meal exchange, so students can purchase an entire meal with an exchange. This is a nice system because of its convenience. However, the question arises, are students with meal plans spending less than students without them? It sure seems like it. When I'm not working, and I want to buy food on campus, I have to pay with either cash or debit. I immediately feel the loss of that money, whether it's leaving my hand or my bank account. I don't have the luxury of swiping my student card and not having to worry about how much it cost.

Obviously, students with meal plans aren't eating for free. They pay for the plan all at once at the beginning of the semester and don't have to worry about it until the next. Does having a meal plan save students money, or is it just as expensive as paying out-of-pocket for every meal? Let's crunch some numbers.

Freshman meal plans currently cost $2,308 per semester. The different plans are 12 meals a week and 250 points a semester, 10 meals and 400 points, 8 meals and 550 points, and 6 meals and 700 points. Let's look at the first plan. A meal exchange is worth $8.50, you get 12 meals a week, and there are 16 weeks in a semester. Therefore, the value of those meals is $1,632. When you add the points, which are a dollar each, the total comes to $1,882. That's how much the 12/250 plan is worth. But look at how much it costs! You are actually paying $426 more than the value of the plan. The difference is even larger with the rest of the plans.

I am confident that my math is correct, but I also concede that some of that extra money may be going towards convenience and paying the restaurant employees. Even so, that makes meal plans seems less than sensible. Without a meal plan, you don't have to worry about paying for more than you're getting.

This disturbing overcharging for meal plans also occurs in the enhanced and commuter plans. The only time you actually save money is when you dine at Couch Restaurants or in the Residential Colleges dining halls. If you have a meal plan, you can have access to all-you-can-eat food with a meal exchange, which is valued at $8.50. However, the cash price for entering those dining areas is $12.50 for lunch and dinner and $10.50 for breakfast. If you purchase one of the commuter plans where you can only get meals from either Couch Restaurants or Headington Hall, you end up paying $11.40 and $11.70 per meal, respectively. When you eat at these places for lunch and dinner, you save about a dollar. When you eat there for breakfast, you lose about a dollar. If you eat there for every meal, you basically break even.

This price discrepancy gets worse when you don't use all of your meals each week. Unlike points, meals don't roll over. For every meal that goes unused each week, you lose $8.50. I'm lucky to have friends who occasionally use one of their exchanges on me, but it turns out I'm also doing them a favor. Points roll over from Fall semester to Spring semester, but they expire the Friday of Spring finals week. Luckily, most people have no problem spending all of their points. After all, it's basically like using a debit card.

After seeing these numbers, I don't feel as bad about having to pay out-of-pocket for every meal I eat on campus. I don't eat there much anyway, so a meal plan wouldn't be worth it solely for the convenience. I'm not even sure if it's worth it for students living on campus who eat there daily.

One other thing I'd like to point out that I've noticed from working at on-campus restaurants is the price of the food. The prices seem fair to students with meal plans who can usually get an entire meal with an exchange. But those of us who have to pay with cash or debit may not be willing to spend so much money on certain foods. For example, where I work at Cate Restaurants, one piece of fruit-apple, orange, banana-costs $1.55. You can almost buy a pound of fruit for that much at the grocery store! A cup of soup costs $5, which you could use to buy 5 cans of soup. A B.L.T. sandwich by itself costs $6.50. It's an additional $2.25 to make it a combo with fries and a drink. That's a meal that costs even more than an exchange.

These discoveries may be shocking for OU students who have/had a meal plan. Even if you don't go to OU, you may find this upsetting. They say that numbers speak for themselves, but I also feel that OU should have a chance to defend themselves. They may have a good reason for charging more for meal plans than their actual value. For now, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I have given you only the information accessible to me. I hope you find it helpful, or at least enlightening. If you're an OU student, feel free to leave your thoughts on living with or without a meal plan.

Cover Image Credit: ou.edu

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