[Based on an answer I provided today on a LinkedIN Staffing/Hiring question:]

There is a moment near the end of job interviews when the interviewer finally is relaxed.  When the interviewer has been asking questions, and assessing your answers, they are working.  When you hear the magic question “What questions do you have for me?”, they are ready to relax.  This is a golden opportunity that most interviewees squander. 

Biggest DON’T:  Do not ask about hours, benefits, vacations, all the “What’s in it for me?” questions.  There will be time to get these answered when the offer is being extended. 

Employers do expect and value when you ask questions – it demonstrates genuine interest, so you do want to have a few serious questions ready.  You can perhaps ask about things that came up during the interview, and stay mostly focused on clarifying anything you need to understand about the company or the job requirements.

When you are talking to the hiring manager (the person who would be your boss), the most valuable thing you can do at this golden moment is capitalize on the interviewer’s relaxed state to create a bond AND cement your value to the employer, by showing them why you care about them, and about getting them the solution they need in this hire.  Ask:  “What keeps you up at night?”, or “What problems really get solved when the right person is hired for this position?”, or, “What gets better for you professionally when you bring in the right person for this?”

You may find that the interviewer lets down their guard, and really shares something meaningful.  Be sure to respond with an empathetic, solution-focused statement that further illustrates why you are the answer to their needs.  When you leave, the interviewer will say to themselves, “Wow, that candidate really GETS it!”  This favorable emotional response will help ensure you will get the offer.


For more insights, be sure to visit The Headhunter's Secret Guide!


Views: 208

Comment by Valentino Martinez on December 1, 2011 at 8:33pm


Good Dos and DON’Ts advice for job seekers who, during a job interview, want to impress a hiring manager through the questions they pose about the job opportunity.  However, I would add that your advice does not apply to all candidates in a job interview setting.  Highly sought after candidates, for example, will ask what’s in it for them to make the move from their great job and employer to your job and company. 

That’s a fair question and we recruiters who have crossed paths with highly accomplished, high potential candidates field those questions all the time.  We attempt to answer those questions but mostly defer to the hiring manager.  I even prep our clients to certainly evaluate such candidates—but to be prepared to also woo such candidates who will impress and will be asking what’s in it for them to make such a career move in their direction.

Comment by Jennifer Olsen on December 6, 2011 at 11:16am

These are excellent questions.  It always bothers me and doesn’t bode well for the candidate when I ask if they have any questions and they say “no, I can’t think of anything”.  I completely agree that it is important to ask thoughtful questions that show that you care about the company’s future and how you can affect it.  I share more information designed to help you stand out with the potential employer by demonstrating your value to the company in my recent blog, “Distinguish Yourself – Interviewing Tips for Job Seekers” which can be found at http://springboard.resourcefulhr.com/?p=1935


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