• Antony Campbell

6 Follow Up Questions that Can Make You a Better Prospect for That Job

You walk in for a job interview, spend 45 minutes with the hiring manager, listen to a detailed description of the job and what could be expected of you, you answer all the interview questions with great confidence, and you walk out feeling like it was the best interview of your life.

But you don’t get a call back. What happened?

Well maybe you didn’t ask enough questions – and if you didn’t ask enough questions, you didn’t have a conversation, and you didn’t build enough rapport. The more rapport you build, the better the chances are that you’ll get called back.

When you walk into an interview, you expect the interviewer to ask you questions which you respond to. But it seems that many candidates fail to ask follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. According to a new research by Harvard Business School professors Alison Wood Brooks, Karen Huang, Michael Yeomans, Julia Minson, and Francesca Gino, people who ask follow-up questions show better responsiveness, and build better rapport. Both are critical to job interview success.

It’s not rude to ask questions, especially if the interviewer has asked you, “What questions do you have for me?” And in the interviews I’ve done over the year, and there are a lot of them, no questions usually means that this is the end of the road for this particular candidate.

So, avoid answering “What questions do you have” with “None” or “I think you’ve covered everything.” Instead, ask questions like these…

1. What in your opinion are the most important qualities for this job?

Only ask this, of course, if the interviewer hasn’t already covered this somewhere else in the interview – looking like you haven’t been paying attention won’t help you get called back. But if it hasn’t already been covered, it’s a great way to get to know more about the job and the specific skills required. You can keep the conversation going by giving some examples of specific tasks or projects you’ve done previously that illustrate those qualities.

2. What would my career path look like in this role?

The interviewer may also have covered this in the body of the interview, but if not, it indicates that you are thinking about a career, and that you’re interested in this organization for the long term.

3. If I’m hired, how would you as my manager define my success?

This is a great question, although of course you can only ask this if you’re actually being interviewed by the person who’ll be your manager, not a recruiter or someone from HR. But it shows that you’re someone who’s not in it for just the money. You’re actually interested in the job you’re going to do and you want to learn.

4. What have been the biggest projects this team has worked on recently?

This is an excellent question to get the interviewer talking and the answer tells you a lot about the scope of the work, what achievements the team is proud of, and what the strategic priorities of the company are. Be sure to listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.

5. Why do you like working here?

I love being asked this question and I usually think more positively about candidates who ask it. As a candidate, it gives you great insights into the organizations’ culture from someone who works within it. And anytime you’re asked to narrate a personal experience, a conversation becomes instantly more engaging – and can result in better rapport. Once again, listen carefully to the answer, and ask follow-up questions as appropriate.

6. What are the next steps?

Never leave the interview without asking this question. This tells the interviewer that you’re interested in the role and, at the same time, gives you information about the timelines they work with for hiring.

The bottom line: Always ask follow-up questions in an interview. It’s a great way to demonstrate responsiveness, build rapport, and influence how the interviewer perceives you. And that will increase your chances of getting called back - and even getting the job.