Having prepared tons of candidates over the years for interviews, one area candidates often struggle with is asking an effective closing question when the interviewer asks “do you have any questions for me?”
Interviews are a two way process. An effective one should not only be an opportunity for the interviewer to assess the applicant’s suitability for their company but for the applicant to assess the suitability of the company for them and so I always advise candidates to ask any burning questions they might have (ones that cannot be answered merely via own research). You find there will always be the standard What is the culture like, What is the team structure like, What is the growth potential, but here’s a few zingers you can close with to make yourself really stand out…
What would your expectations be of me in the first 6 months?
This is direct, straight to the point and tells the interviewer that you are a focused and motivated person. You want to know exactly what their expectations are of you in the role. It also means for you, you are able to assess immediately whether or not the role is in line with your expectations. are these expactations achievable for me based on the level of experience I have now? Am I going to be given the job empowerment and enrichment I desire within the first six months or later?
What made the previous person successful in this position?
One of my favourites. A well-thought out one. What you are asking here is, how can I be successful in the position too or even better, based on what made the last person in the role successful, how can I do even better? Of course this would only apply if this was not a new opening due to growth etc. but a good question to really dig down into what the hiring manager values in the right person for the position. It could be work ethic, technical skills, perseverance or other factors.
What made you decide to work for this company?
It’s a well known fact that people love to talk about themselves. Drawing back to my earlier point that the interview should be a two-way process, this allows you to get a genuine insight into the motivations behind the people who work at the company, what they like about it, why they get out of bed everyday to come. If the hiring manager is unable to give a convincing answer as to why they decided to work there or what they like about it, then you can make a good assumption from there. This question will help build rapport as the interviewer has the opportunity to speak on a personal level. You’ll be surprised how refreshing they are likely to find it.
How did I do based on this interview?
It’s a bold one, but it’s a perfectly acceptable and unique question to ask. I’ve always found it refreshing when a candidate has asked me for upfront feedback. It shows you care and you’re keen so if you feel the interview has flowed well, don’t be afraid to ask their thoughts. This way you might be able to alleviate any initial concerns they might have and expand on any areas they want to hear more on.
When can I start?
4. was Bold 5. is very brave! This question is not appropriate to ask in all scenarios and you have to play it right depending on the type of industry and the tone of the interview. In sales, this kind of cheeky and confident questioningledns itself well but might not always suit every company. You have to have a good grasp that the interview is going well, be very confident you have built enough rapport with the interviewer and ensure you deliver it in a way that does not come across ass arrogant. I’ve personally tried and tested this one, for the first ever recruitment role I got and guess what…I got the job!:)
Chelsea Flynn, Recruitment Manager UK
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