I had an uncomfortable thing happen to me during an interview. Towards the end of the interview, I said to the interviewee, “What questions can I answer for you?” Questions about the company, team structure, specific projects, my favorite thing about the company– those are all things that I am all very comfortable talking about. Those are questions that I expect to be asked. That, however, is not the question that they asked. “How do you think I did in this interview?” HUH? I was a little stunned. It’s just a terrible question to ask your interviewer. I thought it was a one off. But then several interviews later, it happened again. Different candidates, same question. I’m not sure who is telling candidates to ask this during an interview but I’d wish that they’d stop. Opinion as a hiring manager or being on an interview panel – AWKWARD!
First, its off-putting to your interviewer and literally drives the momentum of the interview to a screeching halt. They are not expecting this question so it totally ruins the flow of the interview, no matter how good or how bad the things were going. On the surface, it seems like you’re fishing for a compliment. Realistically, the hiring manager or interviewer hasn’t had a chance to think about your interview in relation to other candidates or get feedback from any other panelist. My point, you’ve introduced an element of negativity to your interview and there is little if anything to be gained from it.
Secondly, your interview is all about selling yourself and putting your best “you” forward. You have limited time with an interview panel or hiring manager. Spend that precious time talking about your skills and the position or making a positive, memorable impression. This is especially true if you are having a panel interview or multiple interviews — you may have one bad interview, but ace the other interviews which may go a long way when the panelists get together to discuss the candidates. Talk about the things that you’ve done, the things that you can do, the things that you want to do for the team and for the company. Talking about the interview itself is not a high priority – -its like having a meeting about the meeting.
Finally, you kinda know if you have rawked an interview or if you have tanked it. You don’t need someone else to validate what you already know in your gut. What you may not know is if the other people who interview had great interviews or if they had terrible interviews. You can’t control that and so don’t dwell on it. Be positive. Be happy. Keep the focus on you.
If you want feedback, in my opinion, its appropriate to ask for feedback after the interview, preferably after a decision has been made. Its an easy way to say “thank you for your time and consideration” and show that you are open to feedback and continuous improvement even if you were not offered the job. You might be tempted to ask the manager and everyone who interviewed you, but start with the recruiter and ask them for their feedback first and if they think its appropriate for you to reach back out in this way to the hiring manager.
… and what do I say when I get asked that question? “I’m happy to follow up with you at the end of the interview process with the recruiter. You’ve been in the hot seat answering all of our questions, its now your turn to put us (me) on the spot and ask me anything that you want to know about the process, the positions, the team, the company, or anything else that may have come up in the interview process. What questions can I answer for you? 🙂 ”
Do you have a question(s) as a hiring manager, HR manager, or recruiter, that you wish interviewers wouldn’t ask?