You’ve finally reached the end of a long interview, and just as you’re about to exhale after an impressive performance, the interviewer chimes in with seven last words: “Do you have any questions for me?”
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have yet another chance to make a positive impression and to wrap up your interview by learning important details about your prospective employer. If you haven’t, and you stumble through some obvious topics or decline to ask anything, your interview could end on an unwelcome note.
Jo Weech, the founder of Primary Consultant and a resource for transitioning servicemembers for nearly a decade, offered some tips during a recent MOAA webinar on networking and interviewing skills; the full webinar recording is available for Premium and Life members as part of MOAA’s webinar archive. Find some of that guidance below, and get more advice on all parts of the interviewing process at MOAA’s Transition and Career page.
1. Multi-Stage Prep
Have at least three performance-based questions about the roles and responsibilities of the position ready to ask each interviewer, and tailor your approach based on the level of interview you’ll be undertaking, where it’s:
- An introductory interview, possibly over the phone
- A panel discussion, with more than one future boss or co-worker
- A hiring manager interview, possibly in the middle or late stages of the process
- A C-suite interview, often the last step toward an executive-level job offer
Know your audience, and do your research.
2. Look for Clues
Instead of asking the interviewer whether they like working for the company, phrase the question in a way that will elicit a less-programmed answer.
“You can ask them about their [company’s] culture,” Weech said. “The person with whom they’re speaking, what attracted them to work there, and why do they stay there? … Those are kind of good questions to ask because you can watch their reaction when they are answering the questions and you can almost tell if there’s a hesitation, or if it’s awkward for them.”
3. Avoid the Obvious
While the interview should be “a two-way street” for information-sharing, Weech said, don’t use this portion to find out details on benefits, salary, or vacation time. This article at The Balance refers to this topic area as “‘Me’ Questions” – items that make it seem you’re putting yourself as an individual ahead of the needs of the employer.
Consider waiting until the job-offer stage of the interview path to bring up these topics – you’ll have more leverage, and it’s likely the hiring manager will bring up the topics as a way to sell you on the company’s compensation package.
4. Look the Part
Sitting for a virtual interview? Print out your questions, and other talking points, and tack them onto the wall in front of you at camera level. You’ll be able to reference your material without digging through notes and seemingly maintain eye contact.
“If you put it right behind where your laptop is … it’s almost right where your eyeball is looking anyway, so it looks very natural,” Weech said, adding that a smiley-face sticker next to the camera may help you keep focused.
“Just have smiles everywhere, just to remind you to smile,” she said. “It makes you sound more warm and inviting.”
Find upcoming MOAA transition and career webinars at MOAA.org/Events.
Get More Financial and Benefits Advice From MOAA’s Webinar Archive
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