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The One Question You Should Never Ask In Your Job Interview

ByBiron Clark,
business.com writer
|
Mar 08, 2017
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> Career
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Ending the interview with this question could kill your chance at a job offer.

There are ways to end your interview to maximize your chance of getting the job offer. But there's one thing you absolutely cannot do if you want to consistently get job offers, and I've seen many "experts" dangerously recommend it online. 

Here's the question you should never ask (in any variation): “Based on what we've discussed today, is there any reason you wouldn't consider me for this position?”

Why is this a bad idea?

  • They just finished talking to you and need time to think. Would you be comfortable if they asked you immediately after the interview if there was a reason you might not take their job? This feels the same from their perspective
  • Asking this brings the negatives to their attention. You're encouraging them to rack their brain for any possible reason they don't want to hire you. Not a good idea.
  • Even if there's a concern, they're never going to tell you. They're going to discuss it internally after you leave. Why? Fear of discrimination lawsuits. Companies don't tell you why you weren't hired. They just say they chose somebody with more experience, or somebody who they felt was a better fit. 
  • Finally, it ends the interview awkwardly. There's no comfortable way for an interviewer to respond truthfully to this question in the moment.

So what should you do instead? 

You have a few options, and can even combine the following suggestions. First, if you insist on doing something like this, here's a similar question that's much better:

“What can I help to clarify that would make hiring me an easy decision?”

Write that down, and never use the first question again. Yes, you want to know how you did after your interview. But unfortunately there's no way to find out until they tell you their decision, and trying to find out immediately will only hurt your chances.

How can you improve your chances of getting hired with other questions?

Ask questions throughout the entire interview, and turn it into a dialgoue where you're gathering information as you go. There are a lot of other great questions to ask the interviewer that will get you a much better result and give you a sense of what they're looking for (and whether you're impressing them or not). 

Here are some ideas you can use immediately:

  • Ask what they're evaluating and what their criteria are for who they hire.
  • Ask what sets the top performers apart from everyone else in their organization.
  • Ask what personality traits they feel would help someone succeed in this role.
  • Ask what are one or two things that are clear indicators to them that somebody is not a good fit for this position. 
  • Ask if they've spoken with other people that they felt weren't a good fit, and what brought them to that conclusion. 

There are so many great questions you can ask, and this type of back-and-forth dialogue will give you far more information about how you're doing in the interview, and what traits and experience you need to show them! Plus, since you're finding this out as you go, rather than at the end, you'll be able to turn things around if it's going badly. 

How should you end your interview?

End your interview by looking the intierviewer eye, shaking their hand, and saying, "Thanks for your time today, I appreciate it. I'm looking forward to hearing about the next steps, and if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me."

That's it. If you do this, you're putting yourself in the best position possible to get the job offer. Even if you have to wait a few days to find out you're getting it. 

Photo credit: Lolostock/Shutterstock

Biron Clark
Biron Clark
See Biron Clark's Profile
Biron is an Executive Recruiter, Career Coach and founder of the blog CareerSidekick.com. As a Recruiter he has partnered with Fortune 100 firms down to 6-person startups while helping hundreds of job seekers advance their careers. He’s passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and technology.
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