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Is it good idea to ask the following question in a job interview?

is there anything that I can do to increase my chance of getting the job?

One time he told me "The test task is very important for us" and I found it helpful But I wonder if it has a bad effect!

122

Yes, you can ask that, but obviously it sounds a little desperate, and the interview would see this as a weak question because you're asking the interviewer to help you.

You can spin this around and ask roughly the same question in a more insightful manner:

Is there anything about my application that raises concerns for you?

This asks the interviewers if they have any concerns about your interview answers or your CV/resume, and allows you to proactively address those concerns during the interview rather than the company using those concerns as a reason not to hire you. This also tells the interviewers that you have the confidence to discuss and defend your resume/CV, meet those challenges head-on and allay any reservations they might have about you.

It's a pretty strong question to ask.

  • 27
    +1 I especially like the idea of flipping the question on it's head, it helps alleviate the possible "desperate" vibe – motosubatsu May 18 '18 at 6:52
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    This so much, interviewers love people who are open to suggestions and feedback, asking for it this way is a huge plus. At my interview at the company where I work now I was asked to bring some demo code and after I ran them through it one of the interviewers said it's not very "expandable". I didn't quite understand how he meant that since it was a simple demo that would never be expanded upon. But I asked in what way he would improve it if it were his project, turns out it was a trick question to see if I'm open to criticism and I passed by asking for feedback directly instead of arguing. – kevin May 18 '18 at 13:50
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    I did this for an interview once but with a different formulation: "What would be your biggest concern about employing me over other candidates?". I could tell it woke the interviewer up, and I assume in a positive way, however is response indicated I was unlikely to get the position for some objective reasons he outlined. It was a blow, but in hindsight was good to know so soon and directly. My advice is if you go down this route please do be ready to accept criticism productively! You did, after all, ask for it. I ended up working for him 2 years later with no need to interview again ;) – Lamar Latrell May 18 '18 at 20:26
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    I like the idea of this answer, but not the phrasing. In its current form, it could introduce doubts in their head. Consider saying something like this as the interview is about to wrap up: "Any remaining questions I can answer for you?" Or even better, go with something like Andrew Hill's answer below. – kmort May 18 '18 at 20:58
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    @LamarLatrell Oh, that's true! I was more thinking in terms of asking at the end of an interview, along the lines of "what could I have done better". In any case, I'd still advise thinking about it after the interview too, because in the moment, like you said, it can be quite difficuklt. – Nic Hartley May 19 '18 at 0:54
11

You can always ask the slightly more generic or aspirational version of this question:

"What would your ideal candidate look like?" if you want to know about theoretical skills. or "What would your ideal candidate bring to your team?" if you want to know about the social / managerial / leadership skills.

Another possible option is to ask through the negative:

"What gaps do you have in the team that you are trying to fill with this position?"

Or:

"Where do you see this project in 5 years' time? What role do you see this post in getting you there?"

Always needs a bit of customisation depending upon the skillset being looked for - technical roles being different to managerial / leadership roles, and startups being different to multinationals etc.

Clearly your job then is to shape your interview responses or further conversation around how you fit those models.

8

No, it's not a good question to ask.

  • It's probably overly broad, with many parts being of comparable importance. Every word you say and thing you do during the interview process is (or should be) with the purpose of increasing your chance to get the job (or finding out whether you want the job). They may not be able to highlight only a handful of things to tell you.
  • It's something everyone would want to know (presumably). You shouldn't have to ask to have them tell you, if they want to tell you.
  • Much of the answer should be obvious, like "do better during the interview" or "get a higher score for the test". They may think you lack the insight to know such things without having to ask it.
  • Much of the non-obvious answer is similar for most positions - things that will increase your chances (beyond answering questions and doing what you're asked as well as possible) are usually similar for many or all applications, such as asking good questions during an interview, sending a good "thank you" email and being well prepared. These things are often seen as a way to show you're particularly interested in the position, so that would be undermined by them telling you to do these things.

How well you're prepared for the interview would probably be the most significant factor in determining how likely you are to get any given job (which is an epiphany that won't really help if you're already in the interview). This includes:

  • Technical knowledge - both learning new things in the long term (especially in a way you can demonstrate on your resume) and reviewing what you already know in the short term.
  • Communication skills - you can generally improve this in the long term and research and practice common interview questions (in general and specific to the company) in the short term.
  • Company knowledge - research the company beforehand so you can discuss specifics about the company during the interview, and you can answer questions in a way that highlights what's important to them.
  • Other things like being well-rested, appropriately-dressed and well-groomed and reflecting on your past experience, strengths and weaknesses and how to use these to help you get this job or the right job.

You can also ask this question indirectly by, as per the other answers, asking about things you're application is lacking (which I'd see more as a way to help you improve yourself in the long term, but it can also help with this application) or about what they're looking for[1], which will allow you to (a) focus more on those areas during the interview or (b) directly address this right after asked.

[1]: I'd actually recommend you gather what they're looking for from the job posting instead, if possible. You can maybe ask a more specific question, like what attribute they value most in their employees.

  • Totally agree with your thoughts on this. My reflections below are based on my experiences of interviewing for stroke physicians. The job description will describe the skillsets you need (or 'are desirable'). Ask me the stuff below on a pre-interview visit and I'll describe the things I wouldn't routinely put in the advert - such as current research needs, and/or service development plans and where the ideal applicant would fit into those plans. These would be off-topic for a job description, but in context they become very relevant. Startups won't want to detail their business plans in an ad. – Andrew Hill May 18 '18 at 14:18
4

There is almost no chance anything good will come out of asking that.

  1. Either there is a real good job chance from the start and if you then ask about increasing chances to get the job you probably will sound insecure and desperate which may ring warning bells.

  2. Or there is no real good job chance and they will feed you some mumbo jumbo test to do to pretend to increase your chances to see how easy you are to fall for tricks playing on your self confidence.

-1

Yes, but I think a more professional way to ask it would be:

"What are the next steps?"

This gets you a very strong feel for how you did as well as gives the employer an opportunity to ask anything else of you (to increase your chances).

  • I like asking this also, and for me personally I use the exact same phrasing, so +1 for the general advice, but it doesn't really address the original query in my opinion. – Lamar Latrell May 18 '18 at 20:31
  • Have you personally tried asking this question, and had it have the mentioned response? I've asked this question a few times (to find out what the next steps are) - the usual answer is them just explaining the next steps in the formal process (usually prefixed with a "if we decide to continue") with nothing related to how well you did or if there's anything extra you can do. – Dukeling May 21 '18 at 7:32
  • @Dukeling So, there's no magic word bullet for getting hired, as you can see by the top rated answer... I wouldn't ever ask if there's something wrong w my presentation, it is what it is and the interview's over. However, you can show that you're assertive by asking next steps. Showing that you're assertive will in fact increase your chances of being hired. – RandomUs1r Jun 7 '18 at 22:17

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