Most people use the last part of a job interview all wrong! I see so many candidates make the same mistakes over and over again.
What the majority of people don’t realise is that any time with your interviewer is VALUABLE. You have to use it to your advantage.
Instead of just asking questions you want to know the answer to, you can use the time at the end of an interview to show off your best skills, bring up certain topics and more!
Table of Contents
1. "Will there be an opportunity to…?"
Have you ever walked out of a job interview thinking “Damn, they didn’t ask me about this, I had a really great answer prepared”?
Use this question to make sure you get to show off your biggest strength!
For example, imagine you’re going for managerial job and you’ve got a brilliant answer prepared for how you would develop the department. If you don’t get a chance to talk about it in the interview, you can incorporate it into this question.
“Part of my current role that I really enjoy is being able to focus on development. This involves activities such as team building events and staff feedback questionnaires. I always try to (… then, you’d go on to show off your unique ideas..). Would there be a chance for the successful candidate to do this in this role?
Of course, you probably don’t care about their answer, because you’ll have done your research and would know exactly how they are going to respond.
The main thing is that you’ll have shown off all of your ideas and skills!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to talk for a while! In interviews, when you’re nervous, talking for two seconds sometimes feels like two hours. Take your time to expand on your skills and ideas. Take up as much time as you can with the interviewer and try to engage them in a conversation. It will make you memorable.
2. "How did your background in XYZ help you in this role?"
A big mistake some candidates make is shying away from researching the interviewer because they’re worried about appearing like a bit of a stalker.
Researching the recruiting manager and dropping hints about their past professional life is one of the best things you can do! It shows respect for them as someone higher up the ‘food chain’. It also shows them that you’re not just interested in working for the company, but you’re interested in working for them specifically.
Obviously, there’s a fine line between appearing enthusiastic and just being creepy.
Tip: To work out what’s appropriate to mention, think about how you’d feel if a stranger brought it up to you. Would you feel proud, or a bit creeped out?
If you come from a similar professional background to them it’s a massive advantage, because you can ask questions such as “Joe, I did a bit of research and I see that you also come from a consultancy background. How did that experience help you in this company?”
Or, if you don’t have much in common with them, you could ask “Joe, I did a bit of research and really admire that project you did with XYZ in 2019, that must have been such an amazing opportunity. Would there be any opportunities for the successful candidate to get involved with something similar?”
Again, you might not really care about the answer. What matters is that you’ve had to opportunity to let the manager know that you’ve done your research!
3. "What do you find most enjoyable about working at XYZ?"
This is a really great tip for anyone who is having to do virtual interviews at the moment.
When you’re interviewing in person, it’s easier to make sure the employer knows you’re prepared and enthusiastic. You should always bring a folder to a job interview, just to give the impression that you’re prepared and have done lots of prep.
However, over Zoom or Teams they can’t see this. So, you can show your enthusiasm by saying “When I saw this role advertised, I was really excited because (….). I knew that I really wanted to put in effort preparing for this interview because the role just looks like something I would really enjoy. What do you enjoy most about working at XYZ?”
By saying this, you can subtly drop in the hint that you’ve spent time and effort preparing for this interview!
4. "What does success look like in this role?"
A lot of people forget that an interview is a two-way street. It’s so important to make sure that you’re not jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. This question is a great little trick to make sure that the role you’re applying for is defined, and that you won’t be over worked.
By asking the simple question, “what does success look like in this role?”, you can tell a lot about the company by the managers response.
If they respond easily, and can give you clear idea about what is expected, this is a great sign that the workload of this role is planned, and the company have given thought to the structure of the day to day working life of the successful candidate.
If they can’t give you a clear, definitive answer, this can be a bit of a red flag. It could be that the person who was in the role before you would just take on anything and everything, meaning you could also be expected to do this.
5. "What opportunities are there for career progression in this role?"
If career progression is important to you, it’s really important you ask about this.
How the recruiting manager responds will give you a much clearer answer than what they actually say.
Again, if they can give you a clear answer this is a great sign. If they tell you definitive answers about training and opportunities to progress into management, then the likelihood is they are a company that encourage their employees to learn and grow.
However, if they struggle to answer, this can be another red flag that the role is a bit of a dead-end job.
Another great way to ask this question is “What have the people who have previously been in this role gone on to do?”.
Changing your mindset about this last section of the interview process is so important. Don’t only view it as a chance to ask questions, view it as an extra few minutes you get to show off how amazing you are to the recruiting manager!
Good luck! Go and smash it