One Question Recruiters Say Financial Pros Should Never Ask in a Job Interview

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There's a debate going on over whether job candidates should close out their interviews with the following technique. First ask: "If you didn't offer me this job, what would the reason be?" And then explain away all the problem areas.

One supporter of this strategy, Forbes contributor and author of Ladies Who Launch Maseena Ziegler, said that when she used it when she was in her twenties, she was offered every job she interviewed for.

Career counselors and financial services recruiters however urge financial job candidates to never ask that question.

Stephen Laser is a Chicago-based psychologist who is often hired by financial services companies and other organizations to interview and test job candidates before they’re hired to make sure they’re right for the job. He says “eight out of 10 times, such questions are born out of insecurity and anxiety, and probably reflect a gut feel on the part of the candidate that he/she may have performed poorly in the interview.”

Laser tells eFinancialCareers that whenever a job candidate asks him that question, he refuses to answer it. In fact, reasoning that even when the job candidate has done remarkably well and there’s no clear reason not to hire them, saying so could subject the ultimate decisionmaker—in this case, his client—to litigation if they decide against hiring the person in question.

Hedge funds and investment banks wag a finger

Even Ziegler admits that even though she was successful with the technique overall, things can look a heck of a lot different in financial circles as compared to more creative ones like journalism. She says she posed the interview scenario to two fairly senior professionals in the finance industry, and their reaction bordered on "apoplectic.”

A London hedge fund executive said he would think such a question was totally inappropriate and would be unimpressed. He would also think complete lack of judgment on the part of the job candidate.

Like Laser, the hedge fund exec concluded, “If you have to ask why you might not be getting the job, it means that you are insecure and ignorant.”

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