You’ve met your panel, you’ve answered their questions, and now, at the end of the interview, there’s one last section…
Do you have any questions for us?
As a recruiter, I always enjoyed this bit; Now that our questions were over, we could sit back and get to know the candidate better, on their own terms.
In effect, we’d given them the floor… and now they got to direct the conversation.
So it always surprised me when the answer came back: No.
Not really, thanks… or, No, you’ve already answered my questions.
If you’ve ever said this yourself, you’ve not only lost a golden opportunity to make an impression – you’ve basically told your panel, you’re really not that interested.
And if you’ve got interviews coming up, you want to do better than that.
Putting some real thought into the questions you ask at interview can have a big impact on how you come across – and your chances of standing out, and getting the job.
More than that, well-thought-out questions can help you to delve deeper, gain valuable insights and make better decisions; to pick a role, team and workplace you’ll enjoy.
When you’re next preparing for interview, I’d encourage you to re-think this section and see it for what it really is…
1. An opportunity to show us who you are
The questions you ask say a lot about you; your questions reflect your mind-set, interests and motivations. Ask us about training, and we know you’re someone who wants to learn and grow… something most employers are going to want.
Ask about money, and we know that’s your key driver… less impressive. Holidays? You’ve not even got the role yet, and you’re already planning your time off. Nope.
Make sure what you ask says something positive about you, aligns with our needs and reinforces your value. How you answer can clinch the deal… or kill your chances.
2. An opportunity to connect with your recruiters
Your panel are people, and people are wired for connection. They’re looking to engage you in conversation – so engage personally, in return. Be human and positive. Show enthusiasm in your language, tone and eye contact. Be your best – friendly, polite and professional – self.
Where are your shared interests? What core values do you align with? Ask about projects, opportunities or developments that they’re engaged in – invite them to tell you more about the things where your interests intersect. Meet them somewhere meaningful.
Let them see your spark – step forward, connect, and stand out.
(NB. If they don’t want to see you, do you want to work there?)
3. An opportunity to showcase your interview preparation
There’s a heap of information on the web about most companies – there’ll likely be a web site, a LinkedIn page… and a google search may bring up local or national news. Do your research, learn beyond what’s obvious, and show them this in your questions.
First, review their situation: Are they involved in a take-over, or opening new premises? Are they launching a new product line, or initiating a new project? Do you know someone who works there – have you heard interesting news?
Now, find ways to build links. How does this relate to the role you’re going for – and what do you want to know about that? Use your research to drive intelligent, well-informed questions.
Doing your homework and showing this = smart, committed and keen.
4. An opportunity to interview us
In any interview, we’re checking to see if you’re right for us – so do the same back. Ask the questions that will help you make an informed decision, about the role, the team and the company.
Ask about culture, leadership, team. Ask about challenges, goals and expectations. You’ve got assets to offer, so be considered and discerning – not desperate for a job. I’m not going to hire just anyone, and I don’t expect you to take just anything either.
Think: What information will help you make a good decision about your future? Ask!
Above all, whatever questions you ask, ask because you care. Ask because you want to know, not because you have to fill that time. Going through the motions shows.
At the end of an interview, this question heralds your dedicated air time – it invites you to step forward, show yourself and engage with the panel.
It’s your last opportunity to shine in the interview, so use it!