You’ve made it through the interview. You can feel it coming to an end. Take a deep breath. You cannot relax just because it’s almost over.
Because there are important questions to ask at the end of an interview:
1. Does the Interviewer Have Misconceptions About You?
First, do you think you might have left the interviewer with any misconceptions about you? If so, ask and clarify.
You might say, “When we were discussing such and such, I’m concerned that I might have left you with the impression that…”
2. Did the Interviewer Miss Any of Your Qualifications?
Second, did the interviewer miss asking you about a qualification for the job that you know you have? Mention it, then describe your relevant background.
You might say, “I remember the job posting required such and such a qualification. We haven’t discussed that. I have…”
You can differentiate yourself and demonstrate your seriousness about the opportunity by asking.
3. Does the Interviewer Have Any Concerns About You?
Third, ask the interviewer if they have any concerns about your qualifications or ability to fit into their culture.
You might say, “I’ve enjoyed our interview so much. I’m very interested in this opportunity. I’m curious, do you have any concerns about my qualifications or whether or not I’m a good fit?”
Be open to the idea that their concerns might be valid.
If they are, ask for more details about the requirements and the company’s culture. Then, discuss your willingness to adapt and grow. Help them understand that the professional growth opportunity attracts you to the job even more.
Highly motivated contenders often beat better-qualified, more laid-back competitors.
If the interviewer’s concerns aren’t valid, then you have a misconception. Return to #1.
4. Ask for the Job
Fourth, if you’re genuinely interested in the role, tell the interviewer you want the job and give a succinct explanation of what’s in it for them and their company to hire you.
You might say:
- I appreciate your time today.
- I hope you hire me because I can’t wait to start working on the biggest challenge, fixing the ERP problems you described.
- As we discussed, I just finished leading an effort that virtually eliminated expensive manufacturing errors.
In sales, this is called “asking for the order.” You’d be surprised how few candidates do it. It matters.
Caution: Don’t overdo it, no drooling.
5. Do a Process Check
Finally, if the interviewer hasn’t scheduled your next meeting, ask them where they are in the selection process, how many candidates they’re talking with, and what the hiring manager’s timeline is.
You might say:
- I appreciate your time today.
- I am curious about where you are in the process.
- How many people are you interviewing?
- What do you think your timeline will be?”
Consider the interviewer’s response a best case, least-likely scenario. Hiring processes usually take more time than people estimate.
Nonetheless, the question is essential because it will help you determine when to follow up.
Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview — Not During the Interview
Note that these are wrap-up questions to ask at the end of an interview, not during the interview.
Ask your smart questions about the company and the job in the flow of conversation throughout the interview.
By the end, your interviewer is likely looking at the clock and feeling pressed to move on to the next item on their schedule.
Don’t try to launch a significant conversation when they need to move you out the door.
Wrap it up, give them your quick references, and let them go — because they need to get on with their day, and you have a thank you letter to write.
How to Tell If Your Interview Went Well
The answers you get to the 5 questions above will give you a good sense of how well your interview went.
Also, check the length. If the interviewer kept you beyond the time you were told to expect, that’s the top sign it went well!
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
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More questions to ask:
If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?
What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?
What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?
I know this company prides itself on X and Y, so what would you say is the most important aspect of your culture?
Do you like working here – and why?
So where do you see yourself (or your organization) in five years?
Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the person hired for this job?
Thank you for these. The first six are especially useful during the course of the interview, when there’s time to open the conversation up, and the seventh at the end when the interviewer might be starting to wrap up because of the next item on his/her schedule for the day.