When Questions ARE Answers

A job interview is a tried-and-true evaluation tool that offers you a chance to quiz a candidate on anything you consider pertinent to their future with the company. But there is another aspect to this: you are supposed to answer questions the candidate might have. This part is in no way less important. Done with proper focus, it will make the picture much fuller, and your decision easier and better. What people ask during the interview speaks volumes about their intelligence, motivation, and fitness for the job. You’ll find that pertinent and purposeful questions are sure to warm you up towards the candidate—because they show them to be the person you’re looking for.

Too often, applicants feel so fortunate to secure an interview that they neglect to spend enough time preparing well thought-out questions. In my latest article for PsychologyToday.com I suggest a few important questions that any job seeker should be prepared to ask. One of the readers (who has experience hiring people) commented: “Asking questions is the only way to get a job”. That’s the attitude I can get behind.

Candidates’ questions show how much they know about the company, how well they understand their future role, how serious they are about making a real contribution. A strong two-way interchange projects an admirable, inquisitive mind and shows someone who can think on their feet. If at the end of the meeting, when you offer to ask questions, you hear a tepid “No, I think we’ve covered everything”—consider it a flashing red light. You’ve given the person an opportunity to “sell themselves” with meaningful questions, and they blew it. “Asking questions is the only way to get a job”. It should be, anyway.