The Interview: Walk Out with a Bang or Go Down in Flames?
Your awesome resume snagged you this interview at your dream job and now you’re in the homestretch of your hour-long interview. You came prepared and dazzled the interview panel with your experience and ability to answer their questions on the fly. You know you’ve really knocked this one out of the park, but you’re not done yet. Here comes that final question…”Thank you for your time today; it was a pleasure talking with you. Do have any other questions for us?”
You researched this company for hours before the interview. You’ve talked to these people for what seemed like forever, so you smile back politely and say, “No, I don’t have any more questions for you at this time. I think you’ve answered any that I might have had.”
Although it’s hard to imagine someone walking out of an interview without being able to think of one, single question to ask, I’ve definitely interviewed my fair share of folks who take the smile politely route and say, “nope, I’m good, thanks”.
The questions that you ask as an applicant at the end of an interview should not be something you do just to check the box. Don’t just ask random questions because you’ve been told to always ask a question at the end of an interview. There is nothing more annoying than when an applicant asks a lame filler question like “so, tell me about your job”. The questions you ask should actually serve a purpose.
Four Reasons Why End of Interview Questions Are Critical
- Shows the interviewer that you are interested in working for their company.
- Helps you to determine if this company is a good fit for you.
- Allows you to drive home a final point or add information you forgot to mention.
- Clears up any reservations the interviewer may have about you.
So, now that you understand why you should ask intelligent end of interview questions, let’s focus on the types of questions you should ask and not ask.
Stupid Questions: Hint, don’t ask these.
Here are five examples of questions that will get your resume a one-way ticket to the paper shredder. These types of questions don’t add value or they make you look presumptuous and lazy.
- Did I get the job?
- Tell me about your company.
- Do I get an office?
- When will I be promoted?
- Can I work from home on Fridays?
Smart Questions: Ask away!
These types of questions show that you are interested in the position, can see yourself working with the team, show a sense of teamwork and that you are striving to understand the realistic expectations about this position.
- Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?
- What are the next steps in this interview process?
- What does the average workday and workweek look like for someone who has this position?
- Aside from the technical skills needed for this position, what types of soft skills would benefit the company and this position the best?
- What have you enjoyed most about working here?
Brave Questions: These questions will leave an impression, can you do it?
You will learn a lot from these types of questions. However, they will put the interviewer on the spot and not everyone is cool with that. These questions will definitely show that you are engaged. However, be prepared for the interviewer to possibly come back with an honest answer that you may or may not like.
- What is the biggest problem your team/company is facing and how could I help you solve it?
- Are there qualifications for this position that you think I am missing?
- Describe an ideal candidate for this position, how do you think I compare?
- Who would you list as your major competitors? How do you think you are better?
- What do you dislike about working here and why?
Finally, when you are all done with the final Q&A, make sure to close the interview on a positive note and with a solid statement. In the interview, I had for my current position, I told them that I appreciated their time, enjoyed meeting the team, and that I loved the workplace culture, and could see myself there. However, I tried something new this time in addition to the “thank you for your time” spiel. I flat out told my future boss, “I want this job and I want to work for you”.
I think this approach worked well because it allowed both parties to see the cards on the table. From my perspective, it let me walk away on a positive note with no uncertainty for them that I wanted to work there. From their perspective, they could walk away from the interview knowing that if they offered me the job, I would accept. The “I want this job” technique must not be abused, only say it if you really mean it.
Obviously there are a million other aspects of the interviewing process that show a potential employer if you’ve got the right stuff for the position. However, I beg of you. Don’t slack off on the tail-end of the interview and go down in flames with a lame question or a wishy-washy “thanks for your time today” statement. Instead, go out with a bang!