job interview

Every job interview is different, but they all end the same way: “Do you have any questions for us?” There are lots of ways you can go with this, and most people ask about the typical workday or some specific aspect of the company. This is all fine and good, but according to MIT career specialist Lily Zhang, it sometimes pays to go a little bolder and ask a question that stops the hiring manager in his or her tracks.

That’s the message of “3 Bold Way to End an Interview,” a terrific post Zhang has written for the Daily Muse. While Zhang admits these tips aren’t for everyone, her research suggests they sometimes pay huge dividends. Read on and ask yourself whether you’d feel comfortable asking any of the following.

1. Do I Have the Job? — This is perhaps the boldest question Zhang includes on her list. It’s one you can only ask if (a) the interview went really well and (b) you think the interviewer would appreciate your maneuvering. In his book Reply All and Other Ways to Tank Your Career, Richie Frieman interviews real estate investor Barbara Corcoran, who shares a story about a female writer who asked this question. “A little rude for some people, but I had to respect her for it,” Corcoran tells Frieman. “It’s an important closure question. It says, ‘I respect my own time.’”

2. Is There Any Reason You Think I’m Not Right for the Job? — As Zhang explains, this question rewards bold askers with three potential benefits. The hiring manager might say he or she has no doubts you’re qualified, in which case you can go home feeling good about your chances. Conversely, if he or she cites an area you’re lacking in, you have a golden opportunity to address their concerns and stick up for yourself. Lastly, by merely posing the question, you’re showing that you’re someone who appreciates constructive criticism.

3. How Can I Convince You I’m Right for This Job? — Sometimes, you get the sense you haven’t completely sold them. By asking this final question, you’re likely to get one of two responses, Zhang writes. Either they’ll mention a specific type of project they’d like their ideal candidate to have tackled — in which case you can explain why you fit the bill — or they’ll give you a take-home assignment. “This may even be an opportunity for you to take the initiative and suggest a work assignment where you can concretely show your ability to handle the job,” Zhang writes.

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