Another Question for Hiring Manager
September 6, 2019 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I had an in-person interview the other day, and I just thought of a question I'd like to know the answer to--but I forgot to ask it while there. I've already sent my thank-you note. It's a great question and I feel could only help reinforce my interest in the role, at the very least (I want to ask about whether I'll have a mentor at the organization), but do I still have an opportunity to ask it?

Appreciate any feedback. Thank you!
posted by shelle to Work & Money (5 answers total)
As someone who is both a hiring manager and has been on job hunts recently, I wouldn't, and here's why:

1) It's not a question that is impressive/improves your candidacy. Best case scenario, it's neutral. Worst case, it makes you sound junior (do you need a mentor?)
2) Given (1), it will make some (not all!) hiring managers suspicious of your motives. Are you just trying to use it as a backdoor to talk to them again? Is this really a question that couldn't wait?
3) Given (2), of course this isn't a question that can't wait - there's no urgency here. If you're still a candidate for the position, there will be a next step, which will be either another interview/conversation with someone - and you can ask then, or an offer, at which point there is usually a bunch of additional, more specific questions you'd want to ask, and it will be appropriate there.
posted by brainmouse at 11:26 AM on September 6, 2019 [19 favorites]

If and when they contact you about next steps is the time to say, "I would be delighted to follow up with you but I had some more questions about [aspect X] to help me better understand the position. Is that something that you can answer for me or would it make sense to put me in touch with another member of the team?"
posted by matildaben at 11:32 AM on September 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't think you have that opportunity at this time.

I cannot fathom a question an interviewee can ask in an interview that would really sway me that much. In my eyes, the Q&A part of the interview is for the candidate to try to figure out whether they will want the job if it is offered. By that point, I've already had my chance to figure out whether we should offer the job.

Maybe if dialog opens up again there may be a time to ask your question, but again, the point of you asking questions is to help you decide if you want to take the job. If they get back to you and offer you the job, or request another interview, you may have the chance to ask more questions to get your side figured out.

If I got an email from a candidate days after the interview asking me another question, I'd find it pretty absurd. If you were head and shoulders the best candidate and we had already decided to extend an offer, I'd think you're trying too hard but answer your question probably but it would have no bearing on the process. If it were an honest to goodness interesting question maybe I would answer it if the process was still ongoing. If it were one of those "hey look how smart I am researching your company and asking great questions - please hire me" questions, I'd view that as a negative.
posted by cmm at 3:24 PM on September 6, 2019

As a hiring manager I would assume this was a ploy to impress me, and I would therefore be the opposite of impressed. Why? Because it would make me worry that you're the type of person who thinks you can get by on showy-but-meaningless things rather than quality work. And also because it would feel a little manipulative, which is also not a quality I look for in someone I want to work with (and also feels icky, like, you think so little of me that you think I'm susceptible to manipulation?).

Sorry if this is a little harsh, but I'm being explicit about the knee-jerk, almost subconscious reactions I have when candidates do stuff like this. Even if you'd given a strong interview, something like this could make me go with another candidate who also gave a strong interview and didn't do something weird like this.

It's not a strong enough question that it's worth the risk of backfiring like this. I'm not sure there are any questions that are strong enough to be worth it, honestly, unless you're genuinely trying to get the answer to something that would be a dealbreaker for *you*--and even then, I'd wait until the next time the recruiter or hiring manager reaches out.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:50 PM on September 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Many years in hiring. No. At this point you shouldn't be asking follow-up questions.

If you get invited in to round 2, you can ask it then, but... it's not a question that would make me assess a candidate more highly, to be honest. It'd be neutral, unless you're interviewing for a senior role, in which case it'd be weird. And the only way your interviewer can answer the question definitively is if the company has a formal mentorship program, which isn't all that common; most mentorships don't come about that way. (I worked for one company that did have a formal program, but it never did me any good; none of the mentors I've actually had were in a formal assigned arrangement like that.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:31 PM on September 8, 2019

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