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How to Correctly End an HR Interview

Published: May 15, 2014 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Job Hunting - Interviewing

Invariably, the final question you'll hear on any job interview is this one: "Do you have any questions for me?" And this is where many candidates fail--most often, because their answer is a variation of: "No, I think I've got it all."

This is not what potential employers want to hear. The "questions" question is your opportunity to prove that you're interested in this specific job, with this specific company, and that you'll be a good fit if you're hired. The interviewer wants you to ask intelligent questions that demonstrate your attention and engagement.

Like all interview questions, this one can have right answers and wrong answers. Here are some examples of good and bad interview closing questions to ask your interviewer.

Good end-of-interview questions

I see that [something about the company]. How will this affect the company's future?

This is a question that shows you've done your homework. By discovering a recent development in the business prior to the interview, and then asking how it will impact things, you're demonstrating that you have a real interest in this particular position and you're looking to make a long-term commitment.

Why are you hiring for this position?

With this question, you're helping yourself decide whether you really want the job while showing your interest in the way this company works. It can help you to know if this is a newly created position--and if not, it's useful to have an idea of what happened to the person who held the position previously. You aren't likely to get a lot of details, but any information is helpful.

Of the people who've held this position before, what separated the good from the great?

This is a double-duty question. You're not only indicating to the interviewer that you want to do a great job (not just a good one), but you're also finding out what kind of standards you'll be measured against if you're hired--because you will be measured. Every position has a legend, and if your goal is to become the next legend, the interviewer will notice.

Poor end-of-interview questions

How much does this position pay?

To some interviewers, asking about salary is like showing interest in dirty laundry. They may be offended, think you're greedy, or wonder if you're just looking for a paycheck and not an actual career. Hopefully, the job description will have given you a ballpark idea about salary--but if it didn't, the end of the interview is not the time to ask. In some cases, you'll be given an opportunity to discuss this subject over the course of the interview when the topic comes up.

Will I be able to work from home if my kids are sick?

This is an important question for working parents, but it's not one to ask during an interview. Asking a hiring manager this question might indicate that you're already planning on missed or early days, and that isn't an impression you want to leave. Instead, ask about flexible work options after you're offered the job, and before you accept.

Do you mind if I take this call?

It's shocking that any interviewee would ask this question, but it does happen, and it's a guaranteed interview fail. Your cell phone should be turned off completely--not muted or set to vibrate--before you walk in for the interview, and should stay that way until you've left the building. If for some reason you forget and your phone makes some noise, the only correct way to deal with it is to apologize profusely and turn the phone off right away.

Take some time before your next job interview to come up with a great end-of-interview question. After all, this is a test--and when you're prepared, you'll pass with flying colors.

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