You might have faced this question before – the most important part of the interview. This question comes at you with five or seven minutes left in the interview. It’s a trap.
Consider it as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition – show how much homework you have done about knowing the company, and/or the position – whether or not you are accurately reading the dynamics of the interview.
The interviewer wants to know how much hungry you are, curious about the organization.
Probe and ask when given the chance:
Please tell me how would you describe the kinds of people that thrive in the company and those that don’t fit in? Or even more specific, my two previous organizations, one culture was all about collaboration, teamwork, never using the word ‘I’ and the other was much more a star system, where it was all about standing out as an individual performer.
How does this organization operate on that dimension?
What would success look like in the position?
Wow factor – if I were to be offered the job and a year from now we were reviewing how it’s going, what would I have accomplished for you to say, ‘What an amazing year you’ve had?’
“Tell me a little bit about your story.
How did you find your way into the company?
What have you enjoyed most and what’s been most frustrating?”
People love to be asked about themselves.
An even better way to ask this question is to have Googled the person you’re meeting and framing a question about them with specifics about what they’ve done, where they went to school, what they may be known for.
“In the most recent earnings call, the CFO said that the company is now projecting flat revenue for the year. Market is growing double digits, then why the strategy not working?”
Or “Would it be an accurate interpretation to say that your two most recent acquisitions were made to attract talent, or ‘acquihires?” Why do you find it difficult to attract the talent you need?”
When asking about the company and strategy, assuming you’ve done your homework it’s fine to be challenging – as long as you’re not being insulting or personal about it.
There are any number of questions to ask when you’re given the opportunity in the last part of an interview. Your goal for the interview is for the interviewer to describe you, as being “very sharp and asking great questions.” Asking great questions in an interview is among the most sure-fire ways to get the job.
Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise