Interview for job at Japanese company

Author: Yukadon

Job Interview: Reverse Questions

Have you heard the term “reverse question?” This is when the interviewer, at the end of the employment interview, asks “do you have any questions for us?” In general, employment interviews will proceed with responses to questions from the interviewer. Finally, you are given the chance to ask questions to the interviewer.

It is not really good to answer “I have no questions” at that time. This is because the reverse question is not only to find answers to anything you are wondering about, it is also an opportunity to sell yourself.

Therefore, this time, I will introduce about reverse questions that is give a good impression to the hiring committee at interviews in detail.

Reverse questions should be prepared in advance

One basic strategy of the reverse question is to prepare several questions in advance, and choose the most natural and effective ones to ask depending on the flow of the interview. In addition, it is good to prepare with consideration of different interview circumstances. Some examples are described below:

  • Reverse questions for a single interviewer
  • Reverse questions for an interviewer from the personnel department (HR/recruiter)
  • Reverse questions for an interviewer from the section where you will work

The above are just examples, but by preparing reverse questions assuming such various situations, you can choose the appropriate reverse question that suits the air of the interview.

In particular, in the case of recruitment in the web industry and the game industry, not in clerical work or the manufacturing industry, there are many cases where other programmers are actually interviewers. You should prepare questions from different angles depending on who the interviewer is.

Reverse questions that give a good impression

In the following, I will introduce three kinds of “reverse questions” giving a good impression to the interviewer.

1. Show your motivation
  • How many people are there (部署の人数) and what are their responsibilities (社員の構成) in the department I would be in?
  • Please tell me more about the work of the department I am applying to? (仕事について、もっと詳しく教えてください。)
  • Can I meet with some employees I would be working with? (社員の人と面会する)
  • Is there anything I should study further before joining the company? (さらに勉強をしておく)
  • Is there something in particular you think is missing from my experience? (経験で足りないもの)

Asking for specifics about the content of work shows motivation and gives a good impression.

On the contrary, getting to in-depth could have the opposite effect. Bad questions might be, “please tell me about your overseas strategy,” or, “when will the stock listing be scheduled?” Let’s avoid questions exploring too much into the company’s internal circumstances.

2. Reaffirm your strengths
  • I think that I can become close with anyone (誰とでも親しくなれる), but please tell me the atmosphere of the workplace (職場の雰囲気).
  • I have [this skill], is there a way to make use of it in your business? (御社の事業で活かしたい)

Three good strengths are personality, sense of responsibility and cooperativeness. The important thing is to review your strengths that you want to showcase in advance. If the interviewer does not mention that strength during the interview, bring it up with a reverse question.

It is effective to indicate specific numbers and qualifications from your past, and to include how it can be applied to this company. However, it is counterproductive to show off past achievements with a bragging attitude.

3. Confirm working conditions
  • In my previous job (前職では), I was working overtime about 10 hours a week; how much overtime is there on average? (残業の平均どれくらい)
  • When is the busy season of work? (繁忙期)
  • When do employees usually take holidays? (休日)

Working conditions are important considerations for deciding whether to take a job. However, asking about working conditions before you are offered a job can be tricky. The interviewer might get the impression that you would rather take vacation than work. So, first of all, you should tell the fact that you have worked properly up to now, such as “I worked overtime 20 hours a month in my previous job.” After that, it would be a good idea to ask questions about overtime hours or holidays and others.

Also be careful when asking about salary so you don’t give the impression that you are interested in money rather than the work content. Therefore, let’s ask about average salaries of other employees and the pay raise system, rather than confirming the amount of specific salary.

Reverse questions you SHOULDN’T ask

It is not a good idea to ask questions about contents posted on the job description, the company’s website, etc. OR about something the interviewer has already talked about. If you ask such a question, the interviewer might think, “you do not know anything about our company” or “didn’t you listen to anything I told you?” and your impression might get worse. If you need to clarify some information, acknowledge that you heard or read about it before, but would like a little more detailed explanation.


As I explained at the beginning, preparation is important for the reverse question. Please utilize the know-how introduced in this article for your job hunting activities.

By Yukadon

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