Interview Series: How to Ask Questions at the End of a Job Interview

questionsYou prepared for days, dressed for success, made a great first impression, nailed the behavior based interview questions, and survived to the final moments of your interview. Now it’s your turn to ask the questions. But what should you ask?

First, remember that the purpose of a job interview is to get an offer. And to give yourself the best chance at getting an offer you will want these final moments of the interview to leave the interviewer with the best possible impression of you as the best possible candidate for this position. This should be the foundation for your questions.

Before we get to how to achieve this, let me first start by saying that this is not the time to ask about or negotiate salary. In any negotiation, whoever talks about money first, which is a sign of weakness, loses. You can talk about pay if/when you get an offer from the company, or if your interviewer brings it up or asks you a direct question about your current pay.

What questions should you ask, you ask?

First, I’ve always been impressed by forward thinking candidates who are already picturing themselves in the job. Candidates who ask questions like these communicate that they are already thinking about being a top performer:

  • “What was the best person who had this position like? The worst?”
  • “What are the key performance indicators for this position or how does the company measure success for this role?
  • What strategies separate the top performers from the middle of the pack on company scorecards?”

Hiring managers like me want top performers AND people who will fit into the overarching company mission and vision. It also helps if I know the candidate could help me fill my personal growth goals, like maybe I need someone who can fit into my succession plan. Candidates focused on the big picture ask questions like:

  • “Can you tell me how this department/position contributes to the company’s mission statement of [insert mission statement here]?”
  • “I’m aware of the company’s mission statement and strategic vision, but what are your personal goals and how can the right person in this position help you achieve those goals?”

Try a bit of flattery at the end of the interview. Hiring managers have egos like everyone else. Questions like these leave a  lasting impression on the interviewer about you as an all-around swell person, which can’t hurt your chances at getting an offer:

  • “Can you tell me a bit about you and how you became so successful at this company?”
  • “I think I’m understanding what the culture is like here, but can you tell me what you love about working here?”

Lastly, the best candidates finish the interview with a power move – the close. If you’ve got the guts, and less than 10% of candidates do, ask for the sale by saying something like:

  • Based on my prior research and our conversation here today I’m convinced I’d be a great fit for this role, and I’d like to ask for an offer.

Remember that giving a good interview is all about being prepared and practiced. A prepared you is a confident you, and the more confident you appear the more likely you’ll be to get an offer.


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