How to answer the question all interviewers ask

There are few things you can be sure of during an interview, but hearing this is one, the closing question you can guarantee you’ll be asked. So why, I’ve always wondered, do so many people avoid the opportunity? I always, always ask this question at the end of an interview (usually with about 15 minutes to spare) and so do the vast majority of employers, but many job seekers seem to forget that it is just as important, perhaps even more important, than any of the other questions you have already answered.

Firstly, don’t be mistaken, your interviewer isn’t just being polite! You are still in the interview process and your interviewer wants to see what you’re made of, they want to know that you are genuinely interested in working with them. Therefore, it is your perfect opportunity to put all of the things you should’ve learnt about the company to the test, don’t waste valuable information, show off a little! Ask them a question about an article you read or about their latest product launch and I promise you will make a lasting impression.

Seventy percent of candidates I meet either answer this question with a ‘No I’m fine, thank you’ or come up with a woolly question which isn’t really relevant. This has always baffled me because you are basically telling me out right that you are not curious to learn more and haven’t understood the dynamics of the interview, clearly showing you haven’t researched thoroughly enough.

But if you say, ‘Actually, there are a couple of questions, James, if you have two minutes. Recently you launched this new product, how’s it going?’ I will wonder, ‘how did you know?’ And will be eager to delve deeper. Another great one is asking ‘Why did the last person leave?’ – this oozes self-assurance and immediately I would think, this person has some guts, they have a bold, confident character and could really fit in well with our community.

Although I’ve heard some shockers in the past, I also have a bank of great questions which managed to impress me. I was once asked, “How long will it take me to get to the board?” and showing such eagerness meant that a) I was immediately taken aback and b) I had to justify them with an answer.

At that point the quality of your question has a bigger impact than you might think on my decision to hire you or not and the way you decide to respond tells me a lot about you. You know I am going to respond – so make sure you have something to fire back to me.

Ultimately, your success falls down to how much research you have put in. Preparation, preparation, preparation! It’s the best way to secure the job of your dreams.


Author: James Caan is a Serial Entrepreneur. He is CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group and CEO of Recruitment Entrepreneur.

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