Part of preparing to interview effectively includes developing three or four exceptional questions for the conclusion of the interview based on your research. It is perfectly acceptable to jot these down at the top of a legal pad in the portfolio you bring to the interview. Obviously (but you’d be surprised the number of times I hear from hiring authorities how often this advice is disregarded), pay attention throughout the interview—you may already have gotten answers to some of the questions you’ve crafted; to ask them again near the close of the interview is a sure nail in the coffin of your candidacy.
As the interview begins to wrap up, you’ll undoubtedly be asked if you have any additional questions. Should the interviewer announce the conclusion of the interview by standing up without this question, you most certainly want to take control by quickly interjecting something along the lines of, “Before we wrap up, Dana, I did have a few additional questions.” Then segue into your best-of-best, previously researched questions.
Consider including the following as additional questions for the very end of the company-specific queries you’ve previously formulated from your due diligence: • How does my candidacy stack up against your expectations and the competition? • What would you expect me to be doing to earn a rave of “excellent job” 90 days into the position? • Or, worded another way: How will you measure my success in this role 90 days, 180 days, and one year from now? • Are there any questions you may still have that keep you from knowing I’m absolutely the most qualified candidate for this opportunity? • What are the next steps in the interview process? Who should I anticipate meeting with next? • When do you expect to make a decision?
Whether it’s your first interview with this company for a coveted position—or the fourth: Remember to immediately prepare and send formal thanks for the interview opportunity to everyone who spent time with you. Go beyond the courtesy thanks to reflect on several key points from each exchange. Use the thank you as a platform for strengthening any replies you felt were weak. Likewise, use the note to bring forward additional information you may have overlooked (but, of course, remembered in the elevator after the interview). Asking strong closing questions helps to cement your candidacy in the mind of the interviewer. When interspersed among several very specific questions you’ve carefully researched, this will also create a positive, lasting impression.
Finally, as mom would say, remember your manners, thank the interviewer, reiterate (with enthusiasm) your interest about coming on board, and offer a big smile with that handshake.
– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage