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Four questions to ask at the end of an interview (and avoid sounding stupid)

The interview draws to a close and you are asked if you have any questions. What to say? How best to make a final, lasting impact on the person you hope will be your next employer?

We asked several recruiters in Tokyo for some advice: Toni Kitchaixankul, senior consultant at Legal Futures; Melissa Kuwahara, practice leader for the financial services team at CDS; and Kevin Naylor, finance team leader at Wall Street Associates.

If I am asked to join your team, what can I do in the meantime to get prepared to step in and start adding value as soon as possible?

Naylor: “This question shows that candidates are genuinely interested and thinking on a practical level about joining the firm. It also may get them some concrete advice on how to prepare themselves or close the gap in case they do get an offer.”

If I were to be hired, how would you see me fitting into your current team environment? Do you think my personality is a good compliment to your existing team?

Kitchaixankul: “This is called the visualisation method and should be used at late-stage interviews with your future potential manager. Ask questions that make the interviewer visualise you already working for them.”

Why did you join the company and what motivates you to stay?

Kuwahara: “Asking this can give you a great understanding of the culture of the company or the team. I usually recommend candidates also ask one technical/specific question about a product, the industry or the company that clearly displays their knowledge and understanding.”

Based on what you have learned about me in this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my ability to do this job?

Naylor: “This is a pretty aggressive question, but if there is a good rapport built in the interview, it can be useful. More assertive, non-Japanese hiring managers like this as it shows the candidate is not shy about seeking feedback. This can also clear the air of any lingering concerns or possible miscommunications/misconceptions that are a subtext to the interview.

Kitchaixankul: “This is daring, but allows you to clear away any final doubts in their mind and sets you up for final negotiations.”

And finally, a question not to ask

What kind of compensation package could I expect?

Kuwahara: “It’s important to not ask administrative questions or compensation questions at this point. It’s better to address those though the recruiter. The interview is a short time in which you should be showing your best side to the interviewer, and the type of questions you ask should reflect that.”

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