MBA Career News: Ending the Interview Strong

In this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

As you come to the end of the allotted time with your interviewer, he/she will likely invite you to ask a few questions. Although you may think the hard part of the interview is over, do not lose focus. These last few minutes can be particularly important in accomplishing the following:

  • Reiterating your interest in and qualifications for the position
  • Demonstrating your understanding of the company’s challenges
  • Gathering more information about the company and the role
  • Furthering your rapport with the interviewer

We suggest preparing five to seven questions to ask at the end of each interview, though you will likely have time to ask only one to three.

What types of questions are appropriate to ask?

We recommend asking questions that relate to the job (day-to-day responsibilities and metrics of success), the interviewer (his/her personal experiences at the firm), the company and/or team (mission, culture), and next steps (when you should expect to hear back). Remember, you do not have the job (yet), so keep your questions positive and not too probing or direct. You will have the chance to ask a lot more questions after an offer is extended to determine whether the job is the right fit for you.

Smart questions are tailored to the situation based on the following considerations:

  • The interviewer (his/her role, level of seniority) – Ask questions about topics into which the interviewer will have insight and on which he/she can comment. Do not ask a very senior-level executive about the day-to-day responsibilities of an associate role, for instance; instead, ask about the future of the firm.
  • Your interest – Demonstrate your level of company knowledge by asking questions that build on information you already have about the role/company or that can help you better understand the opportunity/company.
  • Your desire to learn more – Do not ask simple “yes” or “no” questions, but focus on open-ended questions that will get both of you talking and will allow you to learn more about the opportunity.
  • Previously asked/answered questions – Make the end of the interview as conversational as possible. If you ask a question and your interviewer provides an answer, consider whether to ask a follow-up question based on his/her initial response.

As you prepare for your interview, consider the following sample questions:

  • What are the immediate projects that need to be addressed in this role?
  • What makes an employee successful in this role? or What attributes are necessary to be really successful in this role? or What constitutes success in this position and at this company?
  • What are the biggest challenges someone in this position will face? or What is the single largest problem facing your staff, and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem?
  • I’m really excited to leverage my experience in X to help with the product launch of Y. Can you tell me more about the goals for this new product?
  • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
  • What has been the biggest accomplishment of this group?
  • Why did you decide to join this firm? or Throughout my networking, I heard from many people that the company culture is what attracted them to the firm. Why did you decide to join the firm?
  • What is your biggest accomplishment at the firm?
  • Can you tell me what you love most about working here?
  • How would you describe the work environment here, and can you give me a specific example?
  • Where do you see this company in the next few years?
  • What are the company’s primary goals, and how does this team work to help accomplish those goals?
  • What gets you most excited about the company’s future?
  • What are the next steps in the process?

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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