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Interviews: Asking Too Late
From Career Tips, 2014 Volume 2, February 2014A well-prepared candidate thoroughly researches the opportunity, the company, its issues and its people prior to an interview. Part of that effort involves coming up with relevant, intelligent questions to explore.
Surprisingly, many candidates then proceed to blow it by waiting for permission to ask those questions. They expect that there will come a 'natural' time late in the meeting when the interviewer will ask if they have any questions.
You are right that there will come such a point. You are dead wrong if you save up your most substantive questions until that time.
Why is this?
First off, what am I looking for in a candidate? I'm seeking someone who will make a good member of my team, who I will enjoy working with, and who I can relate to easily. If you spend most of the meeting simply answering my questions, then I'm not getting to judge those aspects. I'm left thinking, "Jane gives good answers to my questions, but I'm not really sure if she can have a substantive conversation."
Second, I'm looking for someone who is going to make a solid contribution not just now but as they grow in the job. I'm looking not just for what you can do today, but am also judging your potential. Saving up your good questions for the end of the interview suggests hesitancy, perhaps over-deference, and makes me start to question leadership potential.
Third, if you actually have some really insightful questions that could lead to a serious discussion, does it make any sense to wait until we only have a few minutes left in the interview? Is it really a good idea to assume that I will make as much time as possible for an in depth discussion of any of your questions, when the pre-scheduled time for the meeting is approaching its conclusion?
Here are some thoughts I might have if you ask a truly insightful question when the interview is almost over:
If you'd like to talk about how I could help you turn interviews into offers, take my Career Search Assessment at https://www.tinyurl.com/CareerSearchAssess, and I'll reach out to schedule a 30 minute call to explore your goals and challenges, and explain what working together would look like.