How and Why You Should Ask Questions on Your Next Interview
In preparation for “the big interview,” many of us invest our time anticipating all of the questions we’ll be asked. Less often do we give adequate time to preparing our own set of questions for the interviewer.
Indeed, we must know how to respond to interview questions, but we should also know how to ask questions that are equally concise, competent, and enthusiastic!
Why ask questions? According to Ron Fry, author of 101 Smart Questions to Ask on Your Interview, asking well-placed, finely-tuned questions:
- Impresses interviewers and shows them that you’ve done your research and thought about the position before the interview.
- Shows interviewers that you are assertive.
- Places you in control of the interview, which is what you want—especially if you are being interviewed by an unskilled interviewer or an incessant talker.
- Can transform an interview from a “Q & A” session (where the interviewer is the “Q” and you are the “A”) into a real conversation. This is precisely what you want. Dialogue is a collaborative activity, something that enables you to explore common interests, trade comments, and chat rather than “talk.”
- Gives you additional chances to demonstrate the extent of your research.
- Builds on whatever rapport you’ve already established.
- Aligns your skillset—that is, what you know and can do—with what the company needs.
- Indicates that you are truly interested in the position. Likewise, the complete lack of questions will undoubtedly convince most interviewers that you are not interested.
- This bullet point almost didn’t make the list, but I decided to add it anyway: Asking a good question is a slick way to get out of answering an uncomfortable question from an interviewer—at least for the time being. “What’s the story with the one-year gap in your resume?” Darn, we’re out of time….The topic probably won’t go away, but it’ll give you a temporary reprieve.
If you’re looking for more advice on asking interview questions, I highly recommend reading Suzanne Lucas’s recent article, “Job hunting tip: You don't need to ask for the job.”