No one likes interviews. They are generally a stressful affair, unless you are on the other side—as part of the interviewing panel!
Those who have easier time are those that prepare thoroughly for the interview. When you prepare thoroughly, you gain self-confidence which helps you to reduce the tense and fear. Thorough preparation is the paramount way to go into the interview room without shaking your legs and fingers.
While what really makes interview candidates to tremble is the fear of the questions one expects to be asked in the interview, the moment when you are asked to ask a question to the interviewing panel, it can also be another challenge.
It is a standard practice that at the end of the interview, the interviewing panel asks the candidate to ask any questions to the panel. This is a rare opportunity that you are given and so you need to maximise its impact.
This is a question that you expect to be asked. Therefore, you should not answer as if you have been taken by surprise. You need to prepare well enough for it to avoid asking the usual boring questions like when can I expect to hear the results or purposeless questions like how many staff do you have?
Basically, you should avoid asking a few types of questions. Avoid asking the questions that everyone asks as mentioned above regarding when to expect the results. You should also avoid questions that may potentially embarrass the panel or those that put the panel on the spot as if you have now swapped roles with you as interviewer and the panel becoming the interviewee!
In fact, you are never obliged to ask a question when the time comes. You can as well tell the panel that you do not have any question to ask rather than asking a wrong question.
I have seen several candidates who said they did not have any question to ask. There was one outstanding candidate who did also say that he did not have any question to ask, but he did that in some interesting fashion.
He listed the multiple ways in which he could have learnt anything he wanted to know about the employing company. He pointed out that he knew several people at the company, that he could walk into some offices and ask and that he could find so much information on the company’s website!
One answer I find best is that which takes advantage of the time allocated to you for anything you want to do. I would say: “I don’t have any question really, but I know that you wonder why really you should pick me and not the other candidates?”
Then I would go on to answer that question. I will have prepared five or ten powerful reasons why they should pick me and not the other candidates. If you do your homework right and prepare thoroughly for this question, it should give you the last chance to go past the rest of the interview candidates, quite easily.
In that answer, you need some structure. You need to address a few thematic areas where you need to demonstrate superiority over the other candidates. You need to demonstrate superiority or preference on the key technical abilities or competences. Every job has key central actions attached with it. You need to identify those and then find ways of demonstrating how you uniquely meet or exceed the requirement.
You need to also demonstrate superiority on none technical competences like stakeholder management, communication, drive for results and innovation and so on.
You must be concise while backing up your claims with illustrations and examples. The good thing is that you have lots of time in the days or weeks leading to the interview to prepare well for this question.
If you can do this well, surely you should emerge the best among the candidates. Good luck as you seek to rise and shine by asking the panel to ask you why they should pick you!!!