Every interview ends with the employer asking you their final question, ‘Do you have any questions for me/us?’. This is a formality first and foremost, a natural close to the interview rather than abruptly showing you the door. More importantly, however, it should be seen as an opportunity for you to make a lasting impression before the next candidate comes in.
Most interviews will give you the chance to interject with questions as they come up naturally during the conversation, but it’s a good idea to keep a question or two held back for the end. It’s surprising how many candidates still shrug this moment off nonchalantly before leaving, so having any kind of question will make you stand out instantly, but there is a constant discussion about what the best question to ask is.
The last time I was job hunting myself, the best question according to my research was ‘Do you have any reservations about me, my skill set, or experience?’.
It’s a brave and bold question to ask, as you’re basically asking for criticism, but it’s also a great opportunity to quell any concerns the employer may have. If they bring up an issue, that’s your chance to talk them out of it. Perhaps they’re concerned that you don’t have enough experience with a certain piece of software. You might have actually had years of working with it, but the conversation never brought it up naturally, and now there’s the moment to explain that to them. Of course, the employer may give no concerns at all, and that’s an instant indication that you’re well within a shot of getting the job.
That was two years ago, and as always, opinions have changed. Some research has brought up a new favourite question to ask, which is ‘I was wondering what your best moment has been at [Company Name]?’.
It’s a simple question that’s masked with an air of innocent curiosity, but when you think about it, what better way to end an interview than inviting the employer to share with you their fondest memory of the company you’re looking to work for? It gives you an insight into what kind of culture that company cultivates for its team members, and of course, if the employer can’t give an answer, that’s an instant red flag.
At the end of the day, everyone will have their own favourite question to ask, but the key thing is to actually have a question prepared and to leave a positive, lasting impression.