The Question You Should Always Ask at the End of an Interview

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You landed the interview — congratulations! While it’s just the start of the application process, being invited to interview for a position means a company has an interest in learning more about you and thinks you’re qualified for the position, at least on paper.

The interview is your time to prove that you are, in fact, qualified for the role and the best person to fill the opening. But don’t forget that you’re also interviewing the company, the team and the manager that you’d be working for, should you be offered the position and accept.

That means you should always ask questions at the end of an interview. Find yourself stumped? There has to be something that the hiring manager or recruiter didn’t cover that you’re still wondering about. Start by considering what you liked and disliked about your last job. If it was typical to work after hours but you’re someone who likes to clock off right at 5PM, ask what the average working hours are. Or more broadly, what a typical day would look like in the role. If you had a boss that gave you a lot of autonomy and you found yourself thriving in that situation, ask what the hiring manager’s managing style is.

As you’re preparing for the interview, whether it’s a phone screen with a recruiter or an in-person interview with the hiring manager, having a few thoughtful questions will go a long way in showing that you’re not only interested but are taking this seriously.

There is, however, one question that should be asked at the end of every single interview: “What is your hiring process?”. This can be brought up at the end of the phone screen if the situation warrants it or a bit further into the process, like during an in-person interview.

Regardless of when you ask, it’s important that you do ask. This will relieve all kinds of what-if thoughts running through your head in the days following the interview and can provide clear direction on what your next steps should be. If a company is looking to hire right away then you can expect to hear back from them quickly and you want to be prepared for a quick hiring process. So, you may want to think ahead and prepare for a second interview or reach out to potential references to see if they’re comfortable being contacted about your past performance.

On the flip side, if a company is casually looking or isn’t in a rush to fill the opening, you can match their pace. While you should always follow-up with a “Thank you” email within 24 hours, a second follow-up isn’t necessary until a couple of weeks later. Sometimes, companies will even tell you when they expect to reach out if you’ve moved on to the next step, so if you haven’t heard from them in that time frame, you know to follow up.

An interview is a way to arm yourself with as much information as possible, and asking about the typical hiring process is a great way to gain insight into the company as a whole while understanding where, exactly, you are in the hiring process. No one has time for games, so ask this question in your next interview and eliminate some of the guesswork in the hiring journey.

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