Jim Grant's Blog

Help for Job Seekers – It's all about the process!

Never Leave a Job Interview without Asking ………

When job seekers contact me and ask for advice, it is commonly about what to do after having had a job interview (either face-to-face or over the phone). While they provide me with a fair amount of background information, I usually have to ask where they stand in the mind of the employer. In other words, is the employer going to invite them back in for another round of interviews?

This is an important piece of information. It should be one of the major factors which should be taken into account by a job seeker to determine what to do next. Yet, most job seekers do not know the answer to the question.

Consequently, I highly recommend that you never leave a job interview (either with a Hiring Manager or an HR person, either face-to-face or over the phone) without asking some question(s) to determine where you stand in the employer’s mind.

Here are some example questions. They range from fearful / passive down to confident / aggressive.

  • What do you think?
  • Do you feel that I meet all the job requirements?
  • Am I on your short list of candidates?
  • Will you have me back in for additional interviews? (If speaking with a Hiring Manager.)
  • Will you recommend to the Hiring Manager that he/she invite me in for an interview? (If speaking with an HR person.)
  • When will we have another round of interviews?
  • Do you see any reason not to make me an offer (right now)?

Regardless of which question you may start with, you want to end up with a clear understanding as to whether the employer is going to bring you back in for more interviews (or make you an offer).

Employers commonly survey customers to determine whether the customer’s experience is going to lead to additional business. Extensive academic research has demonstrated that the question that is the best predictor of the prospects of additional business is “Would you recommend our products/services to someone else?” 

Hence, the best question you can ask an HR person is “Will you recommend to the Hiring Manager to bring me in for an interview?”

If the answer you get is “Yes”, then that’s great for you. Then respond slowly and briefly and perhaps only probe for “when.” 

If you do not get an answer right away (that is, the person hesitates and has to think about an answer), then is not likely you will be invited back in. The other person just hasn’t figured out how to let you down easily.

If this case, no matter what the response is (like “Well, we have other candidates to interview, yet.”), then you will need to ask some additional probing questions to find out where you stand. (For example, “Well, based on candidates you have already interview, where do I stand in your mind?”) 

If you get a “No” answer to your question about whether you will be invited back for additional interviews, this will be deflating and you will tend to clam up. However, this is a point in time when it is very important for you to get feedback on why not. A response / question like “Well, that is very disappointing. I am very interested this job. [pause] I do intend to pursue other job opportunities. Could you please give me some feedback about how I could better present myself and my capabilities to help me improve my chances in other situations?”

Your response to a “No” answer is also critical for another reason. That Hiring Manager or HR person may know of another opportunity with his/her company. If you come back with a negative / unprofessional, or worse yet, an angry, response to a “No” answer, you’ll never hear about that other opportunity. 

I hope you feel these ideas help you in your job search.


April 29, 2011 - Posted by | Interviewing

1 Comment »

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    Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

    Comment by Kevin Bouilleaux | April 25, 2014 | Reply

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