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Interviewing is a Fact Finding Mission not an Interrogation

If you head out to your interview with a new mantra, perhaps you will approach this event totally differently.  Instead of thinking “I want this job”, “I need this job” change your programming to


finding imageWho wants to accept a job that isn’t a good fit?  I continue to read and see how competitive the job market is.  I am not recommending arrogance, but inquisitiveness.

Ask open ended, non-leading questions to get the best answers.  Do thorough research on the company and add specific company questions as well.

  • What are the most significant factors affecting your business today?
  • What is the greatest demand for your services or product?
  • How do you differ from your competition?
  • Describe your star employee.  What are the qualities of people who perform best in this?
  • If this company was known for 3 things as a workplace, what do you think those 3 would be?
  • What trends do you see in the future that will affect your organization and industry?

    By asking these open ended questions, you allow the interviewer to speak about the issues that are most important to them- right now.  Listen carefully to which path they chose to take as they answer.  You may think you know the answers, but the interviewer might have a different logic.

    Asking questions shows interest, that’s a good thing.  Remember to go back and clarify what is important to you in a job, fit and culture.  This will allow you to investigate those areas during the interview.

    Having these pre-written questions with you during the interview will remind you of what you are supposed to be asking.  Those endorphins have a way of stealing your brain power.

    The idea is to have a dialog with your interviewer.  The flow should go something like this:  They ask you a question.  You provide an answer and ask them a question.  A nice tennis match feel.

    However, if the interview is inexperienced this can be quite challenging.  They may do all the talking as a result of their insecurity.  Listen dutifully.  Be careful not to threaten their egos by interrupting too often.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mike lally February 24, 2009, 1:29 pm

    LOVE the list! Keep in mind that you should know the answer to all but numbers 4 and 5. The interviewer should simply be confirming for you what you already know. There is enough intel out there on the internets that you MUST be answering these questions yourself.
    If the interviewer has a different response than you were expecting, you MUST probe deeper. Feel free to bring up your research. You must uncover the truth.
    Also – one of my favorite questions to ask is “what turns you on?” And no, not in a Hugh Hefner kind of way. What gets them into work in the morning? Pay VERY close attention to how they answer this question. Read body language too.