With so much emphasis on the importance of first impressions in the interview process, it can be easy to overlook the significance of those last few minutes. Yet for many interviewers, it will be those final few moments that create the strongest impression of all. It is, most definitely, an opportunity for a candidate to be original, memorable and impressive, but it can be vastly overlooked when it comes to interview preparation. When answering that final “So, do you have anything you’d like to ask us?” question it is easy to stick with the lazy options – the safe-bets of asking about CPD opportunities, team structure, or logistical information about theinterview process. But what questions can our clients ask that will help them stand out for all the right reasons?
“What do you personally believe are the main skills someone needs to bring to this role in order to be successful in it?”
The interviewee is creating two opportunities with this question 1) the chance to identify exactly what the interviewer (who may well be their potential line manager) is looking for, cutting out the waffle from the person spec and getting a ‘real life’ perspective on what is needed. And 2) the chance to then reaffirm these skills as something that they can offer. By bringing the word ‘successful’ into the question the candidate is showing their desire not just to do the job, but to excel in it. Subconsciously or otherwise, this can help create a very positive impression to the interview panel.
If I were to be offered the job, what would my immediate priorities be?
This question is cleverer than it may first appear – it is encouraging the interviewer/s to picture the candidate in the role and, subconsciously again, this can be an added strength if the interview has gone well. But the question is doing more than just that. It is also showing that the candidate is commercially focused , that they understand their will be business critical priorities to address and that they are keen to hit the ground running and get stuck in.
I’ve read a lot in the company literature about its culture. How would you describe it and what type of person does it suit?
There is more to a successful recruitment decision than a pure match of skills. In order for a company to be successful, and for an employee to thrive within it, there should be close cohesion in ‘cultural fit’. This question allows the candidate to consider whether or not it is the right ‘type’ of organisation for them to work for. An interview is a two-way process after all.
Can you tell me a bit about your own career development within the organisation and why you have enjoyed working here?
As a general rule, people like talking about themselves and their own successes. But, by observing the reaction from the interviewer, this question should help to give the candidate a good understanding of whether or not the company really offers a positive working environment with genuine career progression. An animated answer to this question will tell you a lot, as will a stilted and awkward response.
Is there anything in particular about my skills and experience for this role that concern you?
A question for the brave, but by asking them effectively to critique your interview performance so far you are opening up another opportunity to convince them on any points of your application that they may be worried about. Don’t forget – interviewing is not an exact science. Assumptions are often made along the way and these may not be correct. This is a potential chance to correct them on any wrong assumptions they have made, or to turn around their existing concerns.
Obviously, not all of these questions will suit every situation so candidates must be careful to focus on the questions that are appropriate for them. However, those last few minutes of an interview should be more than just about avoiding inappropriate questions about salary and sticking to safe ‘tried and tested’ options. It is a very real chance for our clients to raise their game and set themselves apart from their competitors.