It happens in almost every job interview. Sooner or later, the hiring manager will say: “Do you have any questions for me?” Many jobseekers use this opportunity to ask questions about the organization or compensation details and when they have those questions answered, they’ll stop. But ending the interview at that point misses a tremendous opportunity to make you stand out from other applicants.

(Before coming to the interview, you need to do your homework. Investigate the organization, talk to internal and external stakeholders who know it until you understand something of its challenges and how they affect the position you want. This moment in the interview is where you put your new knowledge to good use.)

Instead of ending the interview prematurely, ask this question: “What’s the biggest immediate challenge the new hire will face when they start work?” When the manager answers, get as much information as you can about the problem and the constraints you will be working with so that you can understand the situation and plan how you will address it. Do your best to anticipate objections and discard unworkable ideas.

Now you have a choice: if you’re comfortable thinking on your feet, you can devise a workable approach on the spot and tell the manager: “I’ve got a couple of preliminary ideas of how I’ll take this on. Would you like to hear them?” When the manager says “Yes,” outline your approach. Don’t go into too much detail; you don’t want the manager to steal your ideas without hiring you. I know of one instance where an applicant did this and he was hired on the spot.

On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who likes to think things over, you can end the interview and save this information for later use. In this case you don’t mention your preliminary ideas. Instead mention that you’ve been thinking about the problems in your thank-you note to your interviewer and ask whether you could discuss them. This approach often prompts a phone call, in which you can not only lay out your ideas but reinforce your other strengths.

To your success!

Tim – Vancouver Resume Writer