The interview has gone well, you’ve clicked with the panel, they clearly like you, and you know you’re in with a good shot at being offered the job. Then comes the one question that every candidate dreads, however well prepared they are for their interview in every other aspect. You might have hundreds of questions about the company but not feel like any are appropriate for the interview room.
You may also have prepared a few questions which have been at least part-covered over the course of the discussion and would now make you look like an idiot – or worse still, that you weren’t listening – if you were to ask them now. Additionally, you’re still nervous enough that you can’t think on your feet enough to come up with something intelligent.
Here are a few tips to enable you to have something impressive to say:
- Don’t prepare just one killer question before the interview – do enough research to have four or five up your sleeve. You’d have to be either incredibly unlucky to have covered them all over the course of the interview or have had such an in-depth discussion about the business that you’re well-placed to be the successful candidate anyway!
- Don’t ask the ‘slacker’ questions – any queries you have about working hours, core hours, flexitime, holiday, or pay come across as not being engaged with the position beyond taking home a salary for the minimum amount of effort. These are questions for your recruiter, not for the interview panel. If the position is advertised with a salary scale and you are asked something along the lines of “what kind of salary would you be looking for in this position?”, bat the question straight back with “what kind of salary would you think was appropriate?”
- Press releases and the company blog are your friends – reading the last year or so of these should give you enough material to have several questions that you’ll be keen for the panel to answer, let alone just providing you with material for the end of your interview! Good areas for discussion are:
- Corporate social responsibility schemes, such as charitable events or fundraising activities within the local or wider community
- Any acquisitions or disposals that the company has made within the last few years, and which factors drove them
- What was the deciding factor which attracted the panel members to apply for a position at the company
- What is the best thing about working for the company
- Of course, there is a remote possibility that all your questions really have been answered, or you truly have drawn a complete mental blank. At this point, a good response is always something along the lines of ‘I did have questions about [insert appropriate subject area], but I feel you’ve already answered them for me’.
If you genuinely think of important questions (rather than just statements to impress the panel!) after the interview, no potential employer is going to mind a quick phone call or email to clarify!