Friday Forum – Questions to Ask in a Final Interview?

Every Friday, we take a question submitted by one of our readers and have our professionals field it and provide advice.  We then encourage you to comment below and give your personal take!

Here is This Week’s Question:

Rich asks:

“I had an interview last week and it went really well.  I was impressed with the organization and I feel like my experience could be a good match for the position.  The company just reached out this morning to schedule a final interview.  I am very excited about this opportunity so I have already started preparing.  Typically when I interview I like to bring a list of questions with me, but since I had most of my questions answered in the first interview I am drawing a blank.  I don’t want to ask the same questions, but at the same time I don’t want to show up without any.  Any ideas?”

Bringing questions with you to an interview is a great strategy to not only learn more about the organization/opportunity, but also to figure out if it is a good fit for you.  Chances are that if you have ever interviewed in the past you have been asked  “what questions do you have for me?” at the end of your meeting.  The absolute worst answer to this questions is “I don’t have any.”  It is vital to come to your interview prepared with questions and to make sure that you are asking the right questions, to the right people, at the right time.

First Interview Questions

Before we can dive into the appropriate questions for a final interview, it is important to understand what questions you should ask during your initial meeting.  Typically if you are brought in for a interview you will meet with the Hiring Manager and maybe a few other folks in that department or in HR.  They will likely go through your background, ask questions about your experience, maybe a few behavioral questions, and tell you about the position.

At this point in the process you should ask questions that are geared toward the position/responsibilities, the company, and the team.  It isnt necessary to ask extremely deep and detailed questions during the initial interview as this could muddy the waters.  Save your tougher questions for a future meeting.  Here area few examples of some good questions to ask at the end of a first interview:

  • Can you tell me about the day to day responsibilities of this role?
  • What is the structure of the team?
  • Why is this position open?
  • What is a typical work week like?  Is there overtime?
  • How soon are you looking to hire someone?
  • What is the culture like at this company?
  • Is there an on boarding process?
  • What are your expectations for the person in this role 30/60/90 days in?
  • What are the next steps in the process for this position?

Final Interview Questions

If you have been called back for a final interview, congrats!  You are moving along in the process.  So what questions should you prepare for the second time around?  Well, it really depends on who you are meeting with.

Department heads and peers

If you are meeting with other department heads (who you may also report to) and peers for the first time you can recycle/tweak some of your previous questions.  This is a good strategy because you will be able to see if their responses align with the other folks that you have met with.  You can also use this time to do some additional homework on the company and your potential Manager.  Here are some good examples:

  • I know that this position reports to Jim, but how would you interact with the person in this role?
  • What can you tell me about Jim’s management style?
  • How would you describe the team and environment?
  • What type of candidate do you think would work best with Jim?

Same Hiring Manager

If you are meeting with the same Hiring Manager you will need to put together some new questions to reiterate your interest and also dig a little deeper.  First and foremost, rack your brain and mark down any questions that you may have thought of in the interim or forgot to ask during your last meeting.  In addition to those questions, now is the time to get into the details of the position and the company.

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • Does this position have a career path and are there opportunities for future growth?
  • How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  • What do you think are the greatest challenges for someone coming into this position?
  • What skills do you think a qualified candidate needs in order to be successful in this position?

Executives

If you are meeting with executives then you get a high five!  Typically this is a great sign, but you still need to nail your interview with them.  When it comes to asking Executives questions it will be a little bit of a different animal.  If you are not reporting directly to them, they are most likely meeting with you to give their stamp of approval.  With that being said, they may not have any clue about the responsibilities or daily duties of this role.  It is also important to remember that their time is precious so you should not get carried away asking silly questions.  Try to come up with 2-3 good ones that are more company focused.  Here are a few examples:

  • What type of person does well here?
  • What can I clarify for you about my experience?
  • What can you tell me about the the (group you are interviewing with) department?
  • What is your take on the culture of the company?
  • How can I make a direct impact on this business?

What are Your Thoughts? Comment Below!

What questions have you asked during your final interview?

Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig.  Follow his blog for more great tips like this!

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