The Single Most Powerful Question to Ask After the Interview

job interview questionOne of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard from recruiters and advisers: at the end of an interview, candidates should ask about any concerns or reservations the interviewers might have about hiring them, like this:

“After our conversation today, what concerns do you have about my ability to this job here at <Company Name>?”

And I understand the purpose: If the recruiter does have concerns this is an excellent chance to address them on-the-spot, and not let them linger, fester, or worst of all, take root and grow in a person’s mind.

On the other hand, asking this question could call to mind something negative about you; it forces a hiring manager to think of something negative. Even if they come back with “No, I can’t think of anything,” they’re going to have that question ringing in their ears and reverberating in their consciousness – not what you want in an interviewer’s mind when you leave the room.

So it’s a conundrum: a candidate should definitely identify – and ideally squelch – any lingering objections to their being hired, but how does one find out without bringing their interviewer’s mind around to negative points? Perhaps it isn’t worth the risk? And perhaps there is a better way to ask this question, like this (which I first saw in a blog post comment by @FrankO):

“Do you feel that I’m a fit for what you’re looking for today?” 

Very basic, yes… but very powerful!

For example, they may respond:

“Well, yes, but I’m looking for someone that has experience with Powerpoint.”

You then have the opportunity to counter:

“I’m glad that came up! I am proficient in Powerpoint. I have used it in many school presentations, and other jobs, and at my internships. However, it was not a major part of my daily duties so I didn’t put it on the resume. Can I send you examples of my work? Or send you the links to my work on Prezi?”

Wow!  Consider the enormous potential of this question and the response:

  • Asked in this manner, the question avoids “objection”, “negative”, “concern” – or any other word that could create a thumbs-down connotation.
  • This question offers a way for the the interviewer to answer you in an objective manner that includes instant feedback, which is always helpful, whether or not you get this job.
  • This approach comes with a positive expectation: with your answer, you’re talking about why you are a fit, not why you aren’t.

And here’s another powerful benefit: as they answer your question, you get them thinking about you in the role.  When an employer can envision you doing the job, and especially if you used Ask The Headhunter’s methodology of reinventing the interview to outline what and how you’d do the job while you’re there talking with them, you can stand head-and-shoulders above any other candidate.

That deserves another “Wow!”

So go ahead. Ask your “closing” question. But do it in a way that continues the conversation in a productive way, and has a positive expectation!

 

For this post, YouTern thanks David Hunt!

 

david hunt, pe

 

David Hunt PE AuthorAbout the Author: David Hunt, PE is a Mechanical Engineer with a background in multiple industries, but predominantly in plastics. Currently “in transition,” he blogs at davidhuntpe.wordpress.com to draw attention to his knowledge, accomplishments, humor, and intellectual curiosity. He seeks a job in Design, NPI, or Sustaining Engineering in or commutable from southern NH; he just started a Graduate Certificate in Six Sigma to complement his two Masters degrees. Reach David via email or Twitter.

 

 

 

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