Chapter: 7

Questions about the next steps


Now that you’re armed with key questions that make you shine in the eyes of the interviewers and give you unmatched insights into the company, it’s time to get into the practicalities of the hiring process.

With the questions listed in this chapter, you can learn about the next steps in the process.

Asking at least one or two of these questions is a must. They help to reduce your stress level after the interview, show that you really are committed to start the work and allow you to follow up if needed.

So no matter what type of company or job you’re applying for, the list of questions below can help you stay on the right track.

Chapter 7: Questions to ask during a job interview - Questions about the next steps
Question for interviewer: When will you be back in touch with me?

[QUESTION #51]:

When will you be back in touch with me?

This is the two-million-dollar question.

Every interviewee wants to know when they will hear. When will their potential employer make a decision? When will they notify you that you got the job? This is also one of the most precarious questions a person can ask.

However, a carefully crafted question – a siren call to action – can insure that your nerves are placated, and that you have a solid timeframe to expect communication.

Why should you even bother asking?

Interviewing is a harrowing process. It’s often nerve-wracking and can take a lot of research and practice to prepare for.

It is only fair to want to know when they will make their final decisions. Asking when they will make their choice, how they will notify you when they do, or even what the date of their last interview is shows the interviewer two things about you: you are seriously interested in the job and their company, and that you are a detail-oriented person who appreciates firm deadlines.

Do not leave the interview without having asked this question. It may be the most clichéd one of all, but it is one of the most important.

The Answer

Employers generally have a time frame for hiring. They need a position filled, and they are, most likely, eager to finish the interview process.

Most of the time, they don’t have a problem answering you straight away and informing you of their plans. However, sometimes, there isn’t a time frame, they have not finished lining up all of the interviews, or they like to keep their next moves close to the vest. In these instances, you are just going to have to be prepared to take a politely worded non-answer.

Following Up

You can follow up in a multitude of ways after an interview.

Some people send handwritten thank you notes, and some people send emails. Some even make phone calls. Either way, without a time frame given to you by your potential employer, a follow-up is much more difficult.

And in a process that is already hard. Why make it any more strenuous on yourself? Ask the question for peace of mind. Ask the question for a timeline.

And ask the question to gain a basic understanding of where you stand at the end of the interview.

Question for interviewer: With whom should I stay in touch?

[QUESTION #52]:

With whom should I stay in touch?

The application and interview process are the hard parts. Sitting through a lengthy interview in which you are trying to sell yourself at every turn is exhausting.

Until you begin the waiting process.

The Interview

During the interview, you likely had the opportunity to speak with your potential new boss, and you probably had a tour. You even had the opportunity to ask a few questions at the end.

You should have asked how you will eventually hear of a hire, and who you should stay in contact with until then.

After you leave the interview, the waiting game begins. It can be intense and nerve-wracking. You might have to come back for another interview, or you might even have questions that you did not think to ask during the interview.

This is why asking for a contact is extremely important.

Before you leave your seat, make sure you ask your interviewer the name, phone number, and email address of a follow-up contact.

Also, be sure to ask how long you should wait to hear.

You could phrase this question in a myriad of ways, but always make sure you do it positively. These questions can be asked in the following way:

  • “How soon can I expect a decision?”
  • “Will there be a follow-up interview?”
  • “How will I know that you have decided?”

You could be the first interviewee, or you could be the last. The timeline will likely vary, and they may not even have it nailed down yet.

Patience is key.

Post Interview Follow-Up

When you are given the name and contact information for whom you should follow up with, do so sparingly. Remember, they are busy, and you do not want to seem like a pest.

The next day or, at the latest, a couple of days after your interview, write a thank you note to the person that you interviewed with. Tell them you enjoyed your experience, and thank them for giving you their time.

And then, you wait.

If you have not heard anything and it has been at least ten business days, go ahead and follow up. Compose a well-written email, and politely ask how the process is going.

Also, if you get hired by another company while waiting, it is always good practice to let everyone you interviewed with know to withdraw your name from consideration.

Question for interviewer: When do you expect to make an offer?

[QUESTION #53]:

When do you expect to make an offer?

You have done your resume, applied for the position, and completed the interview. It is natural to want to know what the next steps will be.

It would be suitable for you to ask this question during the interview process, and it is generally recommended to do so. It is preferable to ask during this time rather than calling at a later date inquiring about the timeline.

Will they give me an exact date?

Some companies may have a specific date that they plan to make a decision. If they are doing a mass hire or starting a training program by a certain time, they may have a certain day in mind to make their final decision.

They will also be considering the fact that even though they offer the position to someone, that person may not accept it! This could prolong the hiring process, as they may offer the job to the next suitable candidate.

Not all companies and organizations will commit to having an “offer date”. If they are interviewing many people for the position, or if it is a newly posted job, they may not have a date set in place at that time.

If that is the answer you receive, you may ask if it would be acceptable to contact them some time after the interview.

You will have their permission to do so and you will be able to find out when you would hopefully expect a job offer.

If you have been fortunate to interview with more than one company, you may find yourself in a situation where you have been offered a position with one company, yet have not heard back from another.

It would be appropriate to contact the company you are waiting to hear back from. You can inform them that another company (Company A) has offered you a position, but you would like to see if they (Company B) will be making their decision soon. Company B may be able to make their decision quickly. If not, you may need to either accept the offer from Company A, or decline it and hope that Company B offers you the position.

Question for interviewer: When do you anticipate the person in this job will start work?

[QUESTION #54]:

When do you anticipate the person in this job will start work?

Very often you will need to start working in the new position fairly quickly. Asking when the company will expect you to start will clear up any ambiguity, and will help you set your personal calendar.

The Question and Answer

Hopefully, your interview will run smoothly and feel like a conversation. If you are to the end of your process and they still have not answered when you would potentially start work, then you definitely need to ask before you leave.

They will want to work with you on how to proceed. Do you still have some exams to take? Do you need to give your two weeks’ notice to a current employer? Can you start immediately? These are important things to hash out.

It should be noted that many companies do require a two-week notice before you leave. Staying true to that rule will help you leave in good standing, and will probably ensure a needed reference down the line.

Starting work immediately should be done under careful consideration. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time in order to process what is being asked of you.

Look at your notes when you exit the interview and formulate some sort of plan of attack. How will you operate during those first few weeks on the job? Once you have that figured out, getting to work should be a breeze.

If they have a firm start date, be sure to respect that. They are, after all, the ones that will be potentially cutting your paycheck.

Question for interviewer: How will you get back in touch with me (telephone, email, or something else)?

[QUESTION #55]:

How will you get back in touch with me (telephone, email, or something else)?

Once your interview is over, you do not want to leave the room wondering when you will hear from the company, or how you will hear from them.

Generally, you would like to know what comes next. A simple “We’ll be in touch” doesn’t necessarily mean they will reach out to you after the interview nor does it tell you how you can expect to be contacted.

Before You Leave the Interview Room

Before you leave, find out the timeline for the position. By asking how the hiring committee will get in touch with you, it opens the door to them telling you a general timeline of when they will reach out. This will also give you an opportunity to check in with them, if the end of the timeline has been reached and you still have not heard from anyone.

Having all of the correct contact information is important for both parties.

Remember to Be within Reach

Make sure you are available by their means of contact. You will also now know where to look for contact from them.

Sometimes your email inbox will put emails from an unknown sender in a separate folder. Remember to look in other folders within your inbox as well.

How someone will get in touch with you shows you how that person prefers to be contacted. If you find yourself in a position where you need to reach out to that person, you will know if you should email, call, text, etc.

Double-check that they have your correct email address and phone number as well as you have theirs. You can always ask for someone’s business card to ensure you have their information.

You will also want to know if they will get in touch with both successful and unsuccessful candidates. Even if you are not offered the position, you will still want to hear from someone. Remain positive and ask them to keep you in mind, if another position were to open up within the organization. Also, feedback that you might get will make the experience worth it.

Lastly, it always helps to send thank you notes immediately after an interview. Keep track of who you spoke with and their position so that you know where to send their note. Having this conversation, along with sending a thoughtful note, will make you stand out among the other candidates.

Question for interviewer: Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful or do you have questions I can answer?

[QUESTION #56]:

Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful or do you have questions I can answer?

Be sure to ask this one at the end of the interview, as it will give the interviewer a final chance to ask any additional questions that may have come to his or her mind during the interview.

The more they know about you and your skills, the more of a chance that you will be offered the position.

You can position this question in several different ways. You can leave it simple as “do you have any further questions for me?” Or, you can go a little further by asking if they have any concerns or hesitancy with offering you the position.

Both will bring the interviewer to ask you more questions. You will be able to sell your qualifications to them and show you are not afraid of feedback.

How will this help me?

This question shows you are not afraid of giving more details if they require them. You are not about to leave the interview without leaving everything on the table so they can make an informed decision about you.

If the interviewer has further questions, the answers you give may be the reason you get the job offer, or perhaps a higher opening offer.

The interviewer may ask you to elaborate on earlier information or scenarios you had discussed. They may also want to let you know if they have any doubts about your skills.

It is best to learn these now so you can address them and refute them. Addressing any concerns or hesitations will be a sign of a strong and confident employee.

It is better to state why you can do the job instead of not answering questions, leaving the interviewer thinking you would not be a suitable candidate for the position.

Being responsive to both positive and negative feedback and acknowledging what you may need to work on will benefit you both in the interview and in the position you seek.

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