THE MOST INSIGHTFUL QUESTION you can ask to finish off a kick-ass job interview

So you have kicked ass in the interview.

So far.

You have dressed in your best professional attire, prepared extra printed copies of your resume, and showcased your experience (however limited that may be; be courageous fellow millennials!), passion for the role, glowing personality which has, with no doubt, convinced the hiring manager you will make a great fit in the team.

You have obviously researched the role, company and industry diligently before coming to the interview and you’ve answered all the job-related questions with professional knowledge and confidence.

You have perfectly answered all the tough behavioral questions like “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with your manager or coworkers and how you solved it”, or classic “Tell me about your failures”, or even “Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?” with lively examples.

You feel pretty good about yourself at this point. You’ve exchanged light jokes and everyone is laughing. The hour-long interview is nearing an end. Only 10 minutes to go.

“So, do you have any questions for us? “

After checking the time quickly, the hiring manager asks with a smile.

This is an open-ended question.

You probably have done enough research and thought ahead about interesting questions you could ask.

Or your questions might be just super-practical (and logical); you will get further clarifications about the role, timelines, or employee benefits.

But if you don’t really have an interesting question to ask, and the interviewers already explained the role pretty clearly to you, or what the heck, if you have time to ask just ONE question, I strongly suggest you ask THIS :

If you were selling this position to a super-awesome (or any synonyms indicating general awesomeness would work here) candidate, what would be your top three selling points?”

I will explain why this is THE MOST INSIGHTFUL QUESTION you can ask in an interview:

1) You Want to Interview Them Too:

This is all about how the company and the role will benefit YOU. You want to know how this role within this company will help you jump-start or further your career. Will this role serve as a stepping stone to where you want to be in 5 years? Will this role give you access to networks you need to tab into? You also want to know what you are getting into before you commit. Most importantly, you want to learn more about the people you will work with. It’s great if they like you and consider you a great fit, but in all fairness, you should ask yourself if they will be a great fit with YOU too. You will likely be working here for a while if you get the job.

2) It Will Show What the Company Values:

To give you an example, in my most recent job interview, the hiring manager answered my question by giving me three selling points, with some explanations: Developmental Role, R&D focused Global Company, and Great Culture. I immediately could picture where I could go with this role, and the perpetual learner in me will thrive, and also that the company values employees’ developments. I also understood that the company prides itself in its strong science and robust pipeline based on R&D. Nuances indicated that I would be working with geeky science-minded people as well as super-business oriented people. I loved that. Finally, I was happy that the hiring manager brought up the culture because culture is one of the most important factors when choosing a workplace for me (it should be for you, as well). Is it collaborative and supportive? Does it foster team creativity? Does the culture allow you to explore and expand? Is it risk-averse or risk-tolerant? Will you be able to seamlessly integrate and be happy here?

3) You Will Learn More About Your Future (Potentially) Manager:

By making your potential future manager answer this question, you can answer many of these questions on your own: Is she(or he) a good communicator? Is she(or he) passionate about her job? What are her(or his) values and how do they fit with yours? Will she (or he) be a good mentor? Do you want her(him) as your boss?

Just ask this question in the interviews, and you will find people are always pleasantly surprised.

They will try to answer the question as best as they can, especially if you are a competitive candidate and they want you for this job. Furthermore, it will show them that you are not desperate for just any job, but a job that you will actually love and excel at, making you that much more attractive candidate. The answer you’ve received may reinforce your desire to work for this company, or do the complete opposite.

Whichever is the case, you will feel great walking out of that meeting room. Because, let’s not be modest here, that was a pretty bad-ass question to finish off a kick-ass interview.

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