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Do you have any questions for me?
When you hear this question in the interview, the interviewer has just signaled to you that the interview is over in their mind. They have asked you all the questions they planned to, and now it is time for you to ask a couple of questions. If you have succeeded in turning the interview into a discussion, then there should only be a couple of questions you haven’t asked. Below is a list of good questions to ask an employer during an interview. The list will hopefully spark other questions you might want to ask.
The only wrong response to this question is to say you have no questions at this time. Most interviewers interpret this as a lack of interest or homework on your part. It is a good idea to pull out the sheet of questions you prepared ahead of time and say something like, “I have prepared some questions. Let me look at my list and see which ones we haven’t covered yet.” The interviewer will be impressed by your organizational skills and attention to detail.
Here are some questions that should always be asked at this point. First, the scary one.
- Do you have any questions or concerns about my ability to do this job or my fit with your organization?
Now why on earth would I ask that question, you say? Simple. You need to know if the interviewer has ANY hesitation at all about moving you to the next round of interviews, or moving you to the offer stage. If they do and you don’t address their concern, you will not move on in the interview process. The only way to find out is to ask.
When you ask this question watch the interviewers body language closely. You will be able to tell in the first two seconds if they have any questions or concerns. Chances are they misunderstood one of your responses or they are making an assumption about something that isn’t a valid assumption. Draw the concern out of the interviewer if at all possible.
If you sense there is something of concern and the interviewer is hesitating in telling you then say something like, “I believe I will be a great asset to your organization and do an excellent job in this role. But I have a sense there is something you are uncomfortable with, and I would really appreciate the chance to address your question or concern.” At this point they should tell you what is on their mind. If they don’t, you have given it your best shot.
- Where do we go from here? or What are the next steps in the hiring process?
It is important for your peace of mind to understand the employer’s timetable for making the hiring decision. Remember: employers RARELY stay on track with their own timetables, so be prepared for this. The way to manage this reality is the following:
- You say, “Where do we go from here?”
- They say, “We have a few more people to interview, then we will compare notes and get back to you by the middle of next week.”
You say, “Great, so I’ll expect to hear from you one way or another by next Wednesday. If, for some reason, I haven’t heard from you by next Wednesday, would it be okay for me to check in with you next Thursday?”
What you have just done is very subtle and powerful. You have just received the employer’s permission to follow-up on a specific date AND you have gained a little control over the process. If you don’t do this chances are that you will not hear from the employer on Wednesday because something will come up that will throw their time table out the window, you will be hovering around the phone all day waiting for a call that never comes, make some erroneous assumptions as a result of this, and then wake up depressed on Thursday. Why do this to yourself when it can so easily be avoided?
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