If you don’t have questions at the end of your interview, you’re putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Your questions are a great way for your potential boss to see that you’re thorough and thoughtful, and that you’ve done your research. One thing people forget is that closing interview questions also set the tone for a powerful closing statement that may stick with the hiring manager long after you’re gone.
Here are four questions you should ask, and tips for closing your interview memorably.
What have been the three biggest challenges you’ve faced in the last year?
This question is a great way to determine your potential boss’s pain points. If you can find these out, make note. You’ll be able to get in some final thoughts on how you can help solve them and make his or her life easier.
What do you believe is the most critical part of this job?
This may have been flushed out earlier in the interview; but if not, it’s a major opportunity to find out the real nature of the job. Titles don’t always tell you a position’s true responsibilities. (Sometimes job descriptions don’t either!) Aside from setting up a great closer, you don’t want to get the job and then realize it’s completely different than you expected. This happens more often than you might think.
Where does your team plug into the organizational goals?
For some gigs, this will be easy to determine. For others, it’ll take some probing to establish how you can have high-level impact at the company. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at in the organization. If you’re entry level, you could make a suggestion to your boss, who will take it to the higher ups. If that suggestion leads to savings, revenue or a few less grey hairs, you will be remembered when they’re discussing up and comers.
What are your team’s three biggest goals this year?
This sounds similar to the last question, but there’s a difference: team or functional goals are more granular. They relate more to your daily responsibilities. Your manager probably came up with them. Do you have a final story about helping your current (or a past) team hit a similar goal?
Can you tell me about your most memorable team member and what made them great?
Want to know your boss’s model for subordinate excellence? This question will give you the answer. More than likely, it’s not something he or she has been asked before; which means you’ll get a candid, and not canned, answer. Listen carefully to what’s described and figure out where you hit the mark.
Once you’ve gained ammo, you should state that you don’t have any more questions to ask, then quickly address the area where you think you can add the most value. The interviewer will remember your closing statement after you shake hands and walk out the door. And because you’ve made yourself memorable, you just increased the likelihood of moving to the next round—or bet yet, an offer.
Rich Jones is a Pathfinder for Professionals with a knack for helping the wayward determine the next steps of their careers. He’s also a certified professional in Human Resources with for-profit and non-profit recruiting experience. Check Rich out on his career blog I Am Rich Jones.