At the end of an interview, most interviewers will ask “Do you have any questions for me?” After interviewing thousands of candidates over nearly 20 years, I can confidently tell you that it is at this point where most candidates make mistakes and the interviewer is left with a poor impression.
The responses to that question usually go one of two ways:
The candidate says “I think we covered everything. Thanks for your time.”
What a missed opportunity! Not only is this answer is completely unoriginal, it also gives the interviewer the impression that you don’t ask good questions and therefore aren’t really all that interested in the role. Realistically, no matter the length of the interview you do not know everything there is to know about the company, its culture, services etc., you must have questions.
The candidate brings out a list of questions including details that should only be addressed in the final stages of the interview process.
The result, it isn’t a good one; I can assure you of that! The interviewer will get irritated and perhaps is even left with the impression that you aren’t socially savvy or have a low EQ (Emotional Quotient). They will feel that you are not reading the situation. Hint; hint… the interview is almost over.
Here are some GREAT ways to answer the question “Do you have any questions for me?”
“Yes, I do! Let’s imagine that you have hired me in this role. In 6-months’ time what should I have accomplished for you to feel great about having hired me?”
This question puts the interviewer in the position where they actually imagine hiring you and imagine you being successful. This is exactly what you want! They also tell you exactly what they want you to accomplish. There’s no denying that this information is pure GOLD! When you receive their answers be sure to specifically address some of those points in your thank you letter. This shows the interviewer that you were really listening and are very interested in the role.
“Yes, I do! Compared to the picture you have in your mind of your ideal candidate¸ how do you see me fitting in?”
This question forces the interviewer to articulate how they see you fitting in. Again, they are imagining YOU in the role. It is an “open probe question” that forces them to elaborate. They can’t just answer yes or no. Again, you should mention some of what the interviewer says here in your thank you letter.
“Yes, I do. What do you like about my background for this role, and is there anything that you feel is missing? “
This question has the interviewer articulate what they like about you, which is a great thing! This question is also particularly good if you feel that the interviewer has some concerns about your candidacy that they might not have articulated. If they are honest with you, they will mention what they think is missing. Sometimes interviewers make assumptions that are inaccurate. This gives you a chance to provide another example that may erase that concern and give you a shot at getting a job offer. It can be frustrating for a candidate when the interviewer makes a judgement about something that they never actually asked the candidate about. This question is your best option for getting negative assumptions out of the way. And, if there are things that truly are missing in your background for the role, the feedback is still valuable as you can always go and learn these skills or gain this experience in the future.
The final question that you ask at the end of an interview can be the difference between making it to the next round of interviews and getting the job offer, or not. Practice your final question in advance. It’s even okay to write it down on a notepad and bring it with you to the interview.
Here’s to your success!