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As an interviewee, there is a simple yet very powerful question you can ask the hiring manager during any interview. You’re likely to be the only candidate to ask this question. It’s appropriate for first time job seekers and seasoned professionals alike. And it could very well tip the scales in your favor.

Late in your conversation with the hiring manager, simply ask:

“I wonder if you’d do me a favor and give me a little feedback… how do you feel about my candidacy for this position?”

It’s important that you ask the question in a straightforward yet humble manner. You don’t want to be pushy; rather, you are simply seeking some direct feedback as to how you stack up as one of several candidates. You’ve both invested a good deal of time and energy to this point; it’s altogether fair to ask for a little feedback.

What do you accomplish by asking this question? First, you may very well get what you’re asking for – some immediate feedback on the viability of your candidacy. Good or bad, you’ll know more than the average candidate does when leaving the building. Second, and more important, you establish that you are someone who favors open, direct communication, and in doing so you’ll convey that this is how you’d operate as a subordinate and colleague. Finally, if you can ask the question in the manner I’m suggesting, you’ll likely leave a very positive impression on your potential supervisor. A good manager will appreciate the fact that you’ve sought feedback, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Is it possible that a hiring manager might be threatened by the question or otherwise react negatively? I suppose so. My question for you is: do you want to work for that kind of manager?

Try it during your next interview… you may find that this is a powerful weapon in your interviewing arsenal. Good luck!

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3 Comments on A powerful question to ask a prospective employer

  1. Kristi says:

    *cringe* Although this is a fair question, it’s m/l asking the interviewer for a decision on the spot. The interviewee could claim bias, discrimination or anything of the sort dependent on how the answer is perceived. In a nutshell, it will be a rare interviewer willing to take this risk.

    Better question(s) to ask would be ‘May I ask a blunt question? (of course) ‘Do my experience and qualifications fit this position?’ (wait for reply – then sell yourself by talking about your accomplishments that fit the job)

    Even if you’ve stumbled through the interview, this is a way to save face & get the job or at least a 2nd interview.

    BTW I haven’t seen this covered but it’s okay to say you’re nervous ~ I’d rather you say it than listen to myself telling you to relax lol. Interviewers have been in your shoes before, once you claim nervousness a competent interviewer will try to put you at ease because 1. Preference for open communication 2. I don’t want to waste an afternoon.


  2. kc says:

    Kristi – Thanks; great comment.

    I think SO much of this depends upon chemistry. If the interview is going well, you seem to hit it off well with the interviewer, I believe it’s appropriate.

    I’ve asked this question twice during interviews and was subsequently offered the job both times.




    Christy Reply:

    I’m curious…is this a question you could ask after the interview has already been completed?

    Or what would a good question be to ask after the interview.

    I think I had a really great interview recently. He gave me his card and told me to email him if i had any questions. I don’t really have any the job is pretty straight forward but I do want to stay on his mind. So…how do I do this without appearing over zealous (even though I am).



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