Tough Interview Questions: “Any questions?”

February 4th, 2011 § 0 comments

How you conclude your meeting is a crucial part of the interview process that will, most importantly, leave a lasting impression of who you are in the interviewer’s mind. It is, after all, part of the last few things you say to him or her.

In no instance should you ever, ever, simply fail to ask any questions of the person who just gave them an hour of your time. Even if your interview was a comfortable back and forth where you had the chance to probe the interviewer, there should always be at least one other item you’re curious to hear about.

Questions at the end of an interview serve to show your interest in the firm, that you’ve done your research and that you genuinely care about what they do. Reading recent news or press releases about the company gives the interviewee some great leading questions. For those in the financial world, an interesting transaction is always something I think carries impact. You can demonstrate product knowledge, industry experience and convey that you keep yourself current on happenings in the financial world, all by asking a question.

Let’s say your a tax professional interviewing at a CPA firm:

I recently saw that ABC CPA advised the DEF private equity firm on their acquisition of American Widget. I’ve worked on some similar deals in my current role and am curious to hear your transfer pricing philosophies on such a deal.

It’s also a good idea to ask the interviewer specifically about their experience with the firm during this time.

Where else have you worked? Were you hired into a role similar to this one when you joined the firm? What have you learned about ABC CPA that has helped you achieve success here?

You should also be sure to cover, if it hasn’t been discussed already, the size of the group you’re joining and who you’d be working with and reporting to.

Finally, I feel quite strongly that most interviews should end with a “hard close.”

Mr. Smith, I appreciate your time and feel as though I have a good understanding of your firm, my potential role and how my current skills translate. Is there anything else you’d like to know or can I provide more detail about anything we’ve discussed?

In using the hard close, you give the interviewer a genuine opportunity to follow up. It shows that you’re not just feigning interest in the role but looking to land it and that you want to assuage any concerns they might have. At this point, if all questions are answered, reaffirm your interest and tell the interviewer you’re looking forward to next steps.

A lot of this might sound simple and, honestly, it’s not that complex. It’s just not widely preached and practiced even less. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy conducting hearing someone try to close me during an interview. Interviewing is making a sales pitch and you need to be able to lock it down at the end.

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