"People, not profits, make companies successful," said Howard Schultz former CEO of Starbucks.
When it comes to the hiring process, the companies who understand the value of people are exceptionally curious about every candidate before they make their decision.
You may have nailed all the curveball questions thrown at you throughout the interview, but there is one question, in particular, that tells the employer everything they need to know about you as a person and as an employee.
“Do you have any questions for me/us?”.
According to SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan, “When it comes to job interviews, it's a candidate's questions — not their answers to hers — that seals the deal.”
When an employer asks if you have any questions, they’re essentially asking what’s important to you. The answer that follows this question can determine a lot about someone including:
Whether you’ve done your research
If you’re an intellectually curious person
If you’re super organised and have prepared a list of questions earlier
If you're a ‘shoot from the hip’ kind of person who cuts off the conversation.
In all cases, this question gives you a chance to demonstrate if you were fully engaged throughout the entire interview.
If you were simply focused on small and insignificant stuff, you may ask something like;
“What would a typical day look like for me?”.
Whoops. Not good enough.
It’s so expected and it’s probably already been covered in a non-direct way throughout the interview.
So, what's the secret to nailing THAT question? Most likely, the employer would have spoken about the company, the products, the culture, the management, etc. This is your chance to show you are on the same page and were fully engaged.
Your questions must demonstrate these two qualities:
Demonstrate you’ve been listening
Show that you have done your research and you’re a strategic, big-picture thinker
Focus on an aspect of the job that was mentioned in the interview.
This will demonstrate you’ve been listening. For example, “Andrew said part of my job would be helping with the execution of new product developments. I’d love to know more about what that would entail?” Or ask more about a particular product or service that intrigues you.
Think like a leader.
Ask about the competition, the changing landscape of the industry and how the company is responding to the new demands and new challenges, etc. For example, “I read an interesting article on how your competition is using artificial intelligence to improve workflow. What do you think about this?”.
This will show you’ve done your research.
IMPORTANT: Keep your tone upbeat and positive to ensure you sound curious and enthusiastic, rather than putting them on the defensive.
So, how can you pull off these types of questions authentically and professionally? Research, research, and more research.
Google the company and read any relevant news from the past 6 months. Ensure you are completely across the company movements, new developments, product launches, and events. You want to be able to speak confidently and demonstrate you’re excited about the future and that part of your brain is already there.
Demonstrating curiosity about the role, the company, and the company’s vision is one of the BEST things you can do in an interview.
Show your hiring manager you have an active mind, you’re excited to work at the company and you’re ready to hit the ground running. Leave no room for them to question your ability or hunger to fulfill the role.
The worst thing you can say is, ‘No, that covers it. You seem to have answered all of my questions leading up to this point.” If you’re a true leader, you will ALWAYS have a question.
And lastly, never ask about benefits, compensation, time off, salary, work-life balance etc. Save those questions until you’ve got the offer in hand.
If you’re yet to enter the interview phase, get in touch with help on your personal branding to help you get your foot in the door.