You’ve probably experienced that classic moment at the end of the interview where your interviewer asks you that final question: “Do you have any questions for us?” This can result in an uncomfortable shuffle in the chair and the standard reply, “No, I think you’ve covered everything.” How much better would the end of your interview be if you could produce a couple of searching and conversation stimulating questions to top off your performance? Questions which could really make the difference and leave a lasting positive impression in the mind of your interviewer.
There are very good reasons for coming up with a couple of killer questions on your part at the end of an interview. Having reached the interview stage you have probably already been waiting and working towards this hour for some weeks. You took the time to ensure your CV was up to date, you’ve bought a new outfit and polished your shoes. You definitely don’t want to blow it now, and if you can engage your interviewer for just a bit longer and offer something that the next candidate doesn’t, then, you might just have this one in the bag.
There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of questions written on a card which you can refer to at this point in the interview. This shows that you have prepared well and given prior thought to their company and the role you are discussing. Remember that one of the key things you should be trying to achieve at interview is to demonstrate how your skills, qualifications, experience and ethos match their criteria closely. If you ask the right questions at this point, you can use those last few minutes to cement your suitability in the mind of the interviewer.
A good question will give you the opportunity to demonstrate you have done your homework, and taken the trouble to research the company and the job you are applying for. You may have already been asked the question “What do you know about our company?” however this section of the interview gives you an extra opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest and knowledge. Notice how the following questions subtly introduce the fact that you do know quite a bit about their company already. Also remember that flattery gets you everywhere, so a few subtly placed complimentary remarks about the success and growth of the company never goes amiss.
Here are a few questions you might like to ask at interview.
- I know that there are several companies in the UK in this market, who are your main competitors?
- I think that the branding and reputation of your company is very strong, what else do you do which gives you the edge over your competitors?
- I can already see that the company has grown significantly over the past 2 years, are there any further plans for expansion of the company in the next 5 years?
- This job sounds very interesting to me and seems to be a good match for my previous experience, what other teams / people will I be interacting with as part of this role?
- Since the company bought XYZ company in 2007, I know that the profits have increased by 100%, what other benefits has this brought about?
Notice that these questions are “open questions”, inviting a full reply from your interviewer and opening up further discussion. Avoid asking “closed questions” which invite Yes / No answers and are guaranteed to kill the conversation dead.
What you shouldn’t ask at interview
- How much sick leave do I get?
- Can I have time off to attend my anger management classes?
- Can I bring my dog to work with me? (Unless of course you are applying for a role as a shepherd, or a police sniffer dog handler, in which case it would be a definite advantage, and probably viewed as unprofessional if you didn’t bring your dog to work with you!)
Joking aside, make this important section of the interview a positive interaction, prepare for these questions and you will give yourself the best opportunity of landing your next job.