Any Questions? This is the Best Question to Ask at the End of a Job Interview
“So… Any last questions?”
We’ve all been there. At the end of the interview, and after nearly an hour of exposing your heart (and achievements) out to a potential employer, the HR manager asks if you have any last questions before wrapping up.
A good interview is more than just artful answers to any question a prospective employer throws your way. A good interview also includes asking that final question right.
When an interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” she’s not just being polite. She’s trying to gauge whether you’re informed, interested or better still connected to your life goals. Now put yourself in an interviewer’s shoes. If an applicant doesn’t have any questions for you, that should be a red flag. You will be thinking that they either don’t care about themselves or the job or can’t be bothered to do research about your company.
The interview questions you choose to ask at the end of your meeting tell hiring managers almost as much about you as your answers to their questions.
Unfortunately, the same “good” questions have become more and more widely used, meaning interviewers are now used to being asked things like, “What would my first month on the job look like?” or “What makes someone in this role highly successful?”
Don’t get me wrong, those are great—but they don’t distinguish you from the other candidates.
This question is also an important opportunity to help you decide if the job and company is the right fit for you.
It’s meant to be a formality, of course—a way to end the conversation without kicking you out right then and there. But it’s also an opportunity, intentional or not, to make one final impression and give your interviewer something to remember you by.
This final remark is actually a moment to “add value to the conversation” before you both head your separate ways. It’s especially noteworthy when you do manage to pull that off, since so many other candidates, having already asked many questions throughout the session, mindlessly shrug off this little last thing at the end.
“Actually yeah, I was wondering what your best moment so far at (name of company) was?”
Here’s the trick: I have always used this question in all my interviews. So it’s not quite picky about the direction an interview actually went. Also, this question has gotten directors I’ve sat down with to shed tears and spill very deep and valuable information. Not only that, it has also granted me the insight necessary to walk away from a seemingly wonderful job offer based on the candid responses received from this innocent toss out.
To ask this question, you must have also carried out a mental study of which 1 interviewer is best to be asked amongst the 2, 3 or 4 of them; because the question needs to be of great benefit to you and achieve the following aims:
1. This simple question, cleverly masked as innocent curiosity, can give you many important insights—on your interviewer’s values, the company, and how well you might fit in with a position there. Think about it: There’s no higher note to end on than with your interviewer’s fondest memory of the company, a feeling that can now be subconsciously associated with your prospects as a future employee.
2. This question packages you. So when you get someone to elaborate about their fondest memory of their career to you, that conversation becomes joined to their emotions subconsciously. And if you’re interviewing against dozens of other potential hires, that bit of fondness while recalling your sit down could be the difference between getting a call back and being forgotten.
3. If the interview has been awry so far, this question releases the tension in the room by a bit. This would be a good opportunity to get the interviewers talking and chatting up with you. At this moment, you may even put in a word here or there in a bid to redeem your image by putting a little humour. Interviewers are human and most are usually won over by the chitty-chattyness or better put, by how they clicked with a candidate.
4. If they can’t think of one, you should reevaluate if you want to work for their company. This should be a huge red flag, especially if the person you asked is an internal staff of the company. Displaying an inability to reflect fondly upon achievements means they likely won’t pay much attention to recognizing them when they occur in the future. If they don’t pause to give themselves a pat on the back ever so often, you shouldn’t expect to receive one yourself.
I could go on almost indefinitely about why you should ask this question and what it’s done for me but it might be simpler to just ask you to go out and try it. You will be surprised.