"I am always surprised how some interviewees tend to trail off towards the end of an interview instead of finishing strong and leaving a lasting impression," says Zachary Rose, CEO and founder of Zack Academy (formerly Green Education Services), a green-jobs training firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Whether you're a senior preparing for campus recruiting or a recent graduate still hunting for a job, here are the top questions experts recommend asking at the end of a job interview to leave a great final impression on hiring managers and establish yourself as a top candidate.
"Is There Any Reason Why You Wouldn't Hire Me?"
Kelsey Meyer, former president of Digital Talent Agents in Columbia, Mo., says, "A recent candidate asked, 'If you were to not offer the job to me, what would be the reason?' This was extremely straightforward and a little blunt, but it allowed me to communicate any hesitations I had about the candidate before he left the interview, and he could address them right there."
"This one question is something I would suggest every single candidate ask," adds Meyer. It lets you know where you stand and if you need to clarify anything for the interviewer. "If you have the guts to ask it, I don't think you'll regret it," she says.
Rachel Dotson, formerly content manager for ZipRecruiter.com (now a marketing manager at SaneBox), says, "All too often you hear about candidates leaving an interview and thinking they aced it, only to get a swift rejection email soon after. Take the time while you're face-to-face to ask about and dispel any doubts that the hiring manager has." Make sure a key asset of yours hasn't been overlooked.
"As an Employee, How Could I Exceed Your Expectations?"
Michael B. Junge, a staffing and recruiting industry leader with Irvine Technology Corp. in Santa Ana, Calif., and author of "Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market," says that one of his favorite interview questions is when a candidate takes the lead and asks, "If I were offered this position and joined your company, how would you measure my success and what could I do to exceed your expectations?"
Why is this so effective? "The question shows confidence without being overly brash, while also demonstrating that you have an interest in delivering positive results," Junge adds. What's more, the answer you receive can reveal what the interviewer hopes to accomplish by making a new hire, and this information can help you determine whether to accept the position if you get an offer.
"How Could I Help Your Company Meet Its Goals?"
Dotson also suggests job candidates ask the interviewer, "How does this position fit in with the short- and long-term goals of the company?" The response to the short-term side of the question gives you further insight into your potential role and helps you tailor the remainder of the discussion and your interview follow-up, she says. "Second, by bringing up long-term goals, you are telling the hiring manager that you're there for the long-run, not just another new grad that is going to follow suit with her peers and job-hop every six months," Dotson says.
Junge also recommends that interviewees ask, "What challenges have other new hires faced when starting in similar roles, and what could I do to put myself in a better position to succeed?" He says few students or new grads will ask this question because most haven't witnessed failure. To a hiring manager, this question demonstrates maturity and awareness, and if you're hired, the answers can help you avoid the pitfalls of being new.
"What Excites You About Coming into Work?"
Murshed Chowdhury, former CEO of the specialized staffing firm Infusive Solutions now in charge of hiring tech talent for Capital One, suggests that candidates ask the interviewer, "What excites you about coming into work every day?"
"This is a role reversal question that we often suggest candidates ask," he says. People love the opportunity to talk about themselves, so this question provides an excellent chance to learn about the hiring manager and find ways to establish common ground. "This is also a great opportunity for the candidate to determine whether he/she is excited by the same things that excite the hiring manager to see if the culture is a good fit," Chowdhury adds.
The Bottom Line
Although it is important to provide a great first impression to a potential employer, as well as acing the basics of a job interview, closing the interview strong is just as important.
"Prove to your interviewer that you want this position and you are in this for the right reasons, not simply to fill your day with something to do," Rose says. Ask these questions before you leave, and leave your potential new employer with a great impression.