“Just one more thing….”


Columbo’s immortal words, and if he was interviewing a suspect and he said them, then that was it. Case closed. Columbo’s MO was to patiently question, bide his time, give the suspect enough rope to hang themselves, before catching them out with his final question; just one more thing….


Most interviewees will never come across an interviewer as shrewd and cunning as Columbo, however many have found themselves caught out by the typical final interview question; do you have any questions for us?


The problem with this is that most people feel the need to ask a question even if they don’t have one. So they think on their feet, hope to be inspired and …..end up asking a stupid question. Real life examples of such questions include:

- What type of coffee do you have in the coffee maker?

- Do you pay for sick days?

- I’ve a couple of other offers right now so what’s the most you can go on the salary?


Another problem is the timing. It’s generally asked right at the end of the interview. While first impressions last, last impressions are pretty important too. Ask a stupid question and all that hard work you did to create a good impression will have been wasted. The case will be closed and that stupid question you have just asked will hang around the interviewers like a bad smell long after you have gone.


“That was a really good interview”, they will say. “Right up until he/she asked that ridiculous question!”


So how do you avoid this nightmare scenario? First of all prepare thoroughly for the interview – and I don’t mean check out the company on their website. Instead adopt Columbo’s meticulous approach and ask lots of questions! Research the market; where does the company fit in? Research their competitors; how do they compare? Are they bigger, smaller, cheaper better etc. etc.? Ask your friends what they know about the company? Make discreet enquiries in your network. If possible call or visit the company to get some information first hand.


Your meticulous research will give you a better understanding of the company and the role which in turn will allow you to more easily highlight your relevant skills and experience. It will also impress the interviewers. Any questions not covered can be asked at the end of the interview.


Secondly, never miss an opportunity to compete for the job. If you have no more questions left to ask, use the opportunity to either ask for the job or reinforce your relevant skills for the role.


Examples of questions you can ask here include:

  • Is there anything we spoke about today that would suggest that I’m not the best person for this job?” (Gives you a second chance to match your skills if you were unconvincing first off) Or
  • “No, I have no more questions but I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your time today. I am very interested in the position and I hope to hear from you soon”. (Gives you a chance to close the deal) Or 
  • “When do I start?” (Ok maybe not this one, unless you’re absolutely certain you nailed the interview and have the charisma to pull it off)


Remember the vast majority of interviewers are not trying to catch you out like Columbo. They are instead looking for the person who will suit the role and their company best. You will convince them of your suitability by meticulously researching and then matching your relevant skills and experience, not by asking an inspired question right at the end of the interview.


Posted by Rossa Mullally, Sales & Marketing Manager on 28 November 2017

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