Toward the end your interview, the person interviewing you will usually ask you something like, “What questions do you have of me?” This is an opportunity to demonstrate you have done your homework on the firm/the specific job opportunity and an opportunity to reinforce in the mind of the interviewer that you fit in well with their organization.
One question that can help you demonstrate that you are thinking about the firm/job in a way that suggests you are a strong candidate is:
“From your perspective, what are the top performers in the job we are discussing at your firm doing to distinguish themselves from everyone else?”
This question will do the following for you:
1. Communicate that you not only aspire to get the job at their firm but also desire to be a top performer at their firm
2. Show that you understand there are both hard and soft skills are critical to being successful and that those vary from firm to firm
3. Communicate that you are focused on understanding the culture of their firm without asking a general question like “how would you describe the culture?” – something you should already know something about.
4. Challenge the interviewer to think about his/her answer
If they respond by asking if you to be more specific, then you should respond with something like: “Beyond things like ‘top performers are doing stronger analysis or generating more revenue’, I am interested in knowing more about how are they interacting with others to enable them to do great work, what are they doing (and not doing) to fit with the firm’s culture and how they are navigating their careers and building key relationships along the way?”
The answers that you get will help you understand what it would take for you to be successful and they will shed some light on whether the interviewer really understands what it takes to be successful. But at the very least, the interviewer should be impressed and should remember your question when he/she evaluates your candidacy and discusses you with others.
Finally, this is also a critical question to ask yourself once you are on the job because if you don’t know the answer, then how can you be a top performer? A key to getting off to a good start is to identify top performers and ask them what they and other top performers are doing and not doing to be successful. If you can develop a strong understanding of this question – both during the interviewing process and on the job – you have a much higher chance of landing the job and being successful once there.
For more guidance on successful interviewing, check out Gotta Mentor`s comprehensive Interview Channel