Closing out your interview in the best way possible by asking the right questions.

Throughout your interview, you’ve been smashing all the questions. You’re starting to see the end of the tunnel, unlike previous incidents of interview tunnel vision. With the weight lifted off your shoulders, you can easily float up into the clouds, but I’m asking you to tighten your tethers. You still have one-step to keep that great impression!

Which takes us to properly closing your interview! If you have questions on the how and what, great job, I sense that you’re invested by asking questions, which is what should happen at the close of your interview. Each question may vary by person and interview, but further below we’ve provided objectives to help with developing your Right Questions.

Why? Asking questions demonstrates your engagement and investment in the interview. However, not asking questions can be perceived as a lack of interest. Are you rushing off and unknowingly leaving the wrong impression? Will this blind date prosper into something? You can bet that I’ll be moving on to another, if you’re not showing an interest. So what if the hiring manager doesn’t ask, “Do you have any questions?” What should you do? Ask questions. What if the hand full of questions I brought were answered already? Your questions may fluctuate from one interview to another. Be prepared to ask an unprepared set of questions, especially when those you brought were already addressed. Use the following objectives and take a methodical approach to ask at least three Right Questions.

  • Validating the job description
  • Understanding the environment and roadmap
  • Capturing priorities and expectations
  • Gauging your own interest

Asking questions demonstrates your engagement and investment in the interview. However, not asking questions can be perceived as a lack of interest.

1. Validating the job description Reassess through confirmation! Take the initiative to validate the job description and ensure you fully understand the requirements. What is not clear in the core message is open for interpretation and what’s out of sight, is often out of mind. Perhaps the hiring manager left out information or you misunderstood. So take a proactive step and discuss your understanding of the job. What’s that? You didn’t realize working occasional weekend shifts was part of an old job description that was taken down from the posting last week? Too bad, you didn’t check the posting recently, but good thing you asked for clarification, otherwise you may have unwittingly agreed to weekend work.

2. Understanding the environment and roadmap Did you get a chance to discuss the dynamics of the team and their or your impact on other divisions or company? It’s easy to be caught up in the details of the position. However, a broader picture helps with anticipating potential involvement or interaction with those inside and outside the core team. Can you tell me about the project team? What do the day-to-day responsibilities of this role look like? Will there be opportunities for advancement?

3. Capturing priorities and expectations If you’re not clear on a job’s priorities and expectations, now’s the time to start asking questions. Broaden your understanding of what’s to come. This sneak peek may end up saving you a lot of stress. It can reduce your chances of being caught off guard, with unexpected job duties that may not have been discussed during the interview. There are many ways to phrase your questions. What are your priorities and expectations for the person filling this role? What accomplishments would you expect of me in the first three months? Can you tell me how you would measure my success for this position? I say, the fewer work surprises the better. Let’s leave surprises for office birthday cake.

4. Gauging your own interest Hiring managers and candidates be aware and share the responsibility for truly understanding and discussing the role. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. Now we see the importance of running candidates through the ringer and ensuring a good fit. And what about you? Are you gauging your own interest enough? When it comes to your time/cost, have you done the math? Is it eye opening? I’d imagine so.

So what are you waiting for? Turn the table and ask questions that help determine if this position is right for you. The fine print in a job can be the deciding factor that makes or breaks one’s decision to accept a position. Do you like how I did that? Besides, not every hiring manager is going to point out the details, so take it upon yourself to inquire about things that matter to you most in a job. You now know that a hiring manager will be gauging your interest in the position and running you through the ringer. Don’t you want to make sure that this position is the right fit for you as well?

Additional questions that you can ask during an interview include the following:

  • Will this position lead to any opportunities for advancement?
  • Is there a typical assignment that you can describe for this position?
  • Are there any concerns in my background that you would like me to clarify?
  • What are the next steps in your hiring process?
  • Will there be a second round of interviews?
  • When do you anticipate filling this position?

Last, but not least, avoid asking questions about benefits and salary, until after the offer. With all the strategies that you’ve learned and applied from Apex’s Interviewing Blogs and Career Readiness Workshops we’re certain that an offer is soon to come! Happy negotiating and I’ll catch you on our next blog.