An interview process is a two-way street. Not only is the interviewer evaluating the candidate, but the candidate is also assessing the company and the role. While many candidates are prepared with a list of questions to ask at the end of an interview, there’s one question that every candidate should ask the interviewer: “Do you have any reservations about my suitability for this opportunity?”
Let’s explore why this question is turning heads and how candidates can wield it effectively.
Why The “Reservation Question” is Significant
- Demonstrates Confidence: By directly addressing potential doubts or gaps in one’s profile, candidates show a level of self-assuredness. They’re not shying away from their weaknesses but are instead keen to address them head-on.
- Puts the Interviewer in a Reflective Position: This question requires the interviewer to critically evaluate the interview while it’s still fresh, allowing candidates to gauge the interviewer’s initial reactions.
- Offers Instant Feedback: Instead of waiting anxiously for feedback after the interview, candidates get a real-time insight into how the interview went, and where they might stand.
- Opportunity for Immediate Clarification: If there’s a particular aspect the interviewer is uncertain about, the candidate gets the chance to clarify or provide additional details then and there.
Benefits for the Candidate
- Addressing Misunderstandings: Perhaps the interviewer misunderstood a particular point or missed a detail on the candidate’s resume. This question gives candidates a platform to rectify that.
- Highlighting Adaptability: Even if there’s a genuine skill gap, candidates can explain their learning agility, past experiences where they’ve quickly acquired new skills, or their strategy to bridge the gap swiftly.
- Reaffirming Interest: By asking this question, candidates signal their strong interest in the role. They’re eager to understand the company’s concerns so they can address them — showing commitment and enthusiasm.
How Interviewers Might Perceive It
While many interviewers appreciate the frankness and confidence this question reflects, others might be caught off-guard. Some could view it as too forward or presumptive. However, the majority would value the candidate’s proactive approach and interest in personal growth.
Tips for Candidates
- Be Genuinely Open to Feedback: Don’t ask this question if you are not prepared to hear constructive criticism. Embrace feedback with an open mind.
- Be Prepared to Address Concerns: Think about potential reservations in advance and be ready with concise, effective responses.
- Maintain a Positive Demeanour: If the interviewer does express reservations, respond gracefully. This is not a challenge but an opportunity to clarify or learn.
The “reservation question” is more than just a query. It’s a strategic move, designed to provide candidates with insight, offer clarification, and demonstrate confidence. For those bold enough to ask it, the rewards — in terms of feedback, opportunities to clarify, and impressions made — can be substantial. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, standing out positively in the mind of an interviewer can make all the difference, and this question might be the key.
My views are based on my 15 years+ of recruiting for Accountancy Practice and Insolvency professionals.
For advice about your career options, speak to Scott Lowes at Levitate Recruitment, specialists in placing practice-trained accountants and insolvency professionals across the UK, and find the right role to suit your ambitions.