How to end the interview with a bang

Author: Jonathan Attwood, Executive Director – Financial Services & Insurance

What questions do you ask at the end of an interview?

This topic can be a minefield and one that often gets the least attention from interviewees. I’ve seen countless examples of candidates who can tell me when a company was formed, where it’s offices are located and what last year’s EBIT number was but have nothing prepared when it comes to their own questions.

Generally there are three schools of thought – ask to show you’ve done research; ask to demonstrate you’re thinking long term; and ask to mitigate any concerns.

In my opinion, before any interview you should take the time to plan, practice and predict.

1. Plan.

Planning is without question the most important part of any interview process. Being ready, doing your research and having questions prepared is critical.

I recommend sitting down and writing three headings under which you can formulate a minimum of 3 questions. These are: Corporate / Strategy (direction, vision and growth); Role / Capabilities (challenges, opportunities); and Personal / Culture (the interviewers own experiences with the business).

2. Practice.

Once you know what areas you want to question, practice your delivery. Be specific – what is the company’s 3 year plan? What will your first 90 days look like? What does your interviewer enjoy most about coming to work?

Keep questions succinct, don’t over explain and have multiple ready in each of the categories.

3. Predict.

You’re being interviewed for a role. You should have a good enough understanding having read the job description or spoken to your recruiter, what areas of your background and capability the interviewer is likely to explore.

Have follow up questions prepared for areas you predict might come up. Have questions to go deeper on issues that are important to you. Be ready to get more specific information if it will help inform your choices.

A few final points

LISTEN. There is nothing worse than asking a question that has already been answered during the course of the interview.

BE CURIOUS. You could spend 5-10 years working with this business if you’re successful, make sure you can see yourself doing so.

CHOOSE. Select your top 4 questions to ask at the end, but have backups in case you need them.

Interviewing is a two way street, don’t miss your opportunity to ask what’s important to you.