“Do you have any questions for me?” The age-old interview close. And if you’ve done your research, you probably have some really good questions to ask. But at Finlay James, good isn’t good enough.
We work with excellent sales and marketing candidates, excellent companies and we like to think our consultants are pretty excellent in setting you up for excellent offers – that’s a lot of excellence.
So, how do you set yourself apart? Well, an interview isn’t a one-way street and often asking the right questions is just as important as giving the right answers.
To help you nail your next interview, here are some questions that will catch the attention of the interviewer and potentially get you further down the line…
1. How does this role fit into the overall growth strategy of the company?
If you’ve got to the interview stage, the likelihood is you can do the job on paper. Asking this question shows the hiring manager that you have the ability to see beyond the job at hand and asserts your interest in the overall company goals in the short, medium and long-term. It’s also an opportunity for you, the interviewee, to see what the career path looks like for a successful candidate.
2. What is realistic for a successful candidate’s first month?
This could be in terms of commission if you are in sales, campaign management if you’re in marketing or simply the day to day of what to expect. This question gives you the chance to get all the nitty-gritty information from the hiring manager before you get to the end of the road. This is also a good opportunity to find out about training, support and how to replicate the success of their best employees!
3. What are the next steps in the selection process?
This helps you set your own expectations. If the hiring manager isn’t looking to actually hire someone for 6 months, you may well find that you are part of a time-wasting ‘window shopping’ exercise. It also shows that you have a very firm eye on the prize and sends a strong message of interest to the interviewer.
4. What is the most challenging part of this role?
Asking about the good AND the bad is important, as this shows that you are really visualizing yourself working for the company. This also shows the hiring manager that whilst you’re excited about the job at hand, nothing in life is free of obstacles and should you land the gig, you’re prepared for what may lay ahead.
5. What sets you apart from your competitors?
Like the first question, finding out what makes the company or product unique is important in weighing up a) whether it’s somewhere you want to work and b) shows the hiring manager you can see the bigger picture and not just the short term. If you are in sales and marketing, you’ll find this line of question particularly important, especially if you are working in a saturated market.
6. What is your customer success strategy?
This is a great question, as it shows that you can draw a correlation between customer retention and the overall company goals. As a recruiter, one of the things I come across time and time again when speaking to clients is they want “customer-centric” candidates. After all, happy employees make happy clients.
7. You’ve clearly been successful, what’s your background?
It’s no secret that successful people don’t mind talking about their success. Asking the hiring manager about their background shows that you have taken a personal interest in how they have got to where they are, but more importantly if gives you a candid picture of where you could be... And at the very least, even the most stone-faced interviewer will be caught off-guard by this question and warm to you for your curiosity.
8. Do you have any questions or concerns about my background?
This question is critical to ending the interview on a positive note from both sides. It gives you the opportunity to overcome any objections there and then and it also shows that you aren’t afraid of feedback. The last thing you want is to jump through every hoop, only to be let down by a tiny element of your background that wasn’t addressed at the interview. Asking this final question provides a non-confrontational platform for both sides to cross their T’s and dot their I’s.. and hopefully, leads to an offer.