A Candidate’s Interview Questions

At the end of any job interview a candidate is often asked “Do you have any questions for us?” When the candidate answers “No, not really” the impression is created that they aren’t interested, insightful, or engaged.


Source: businessinsider.com

Here are some typical candidate questions from Business Insider. Check them out and consider asking a couple of these at the end of an interview.

I have heard many candidate questions over the years. Here are my reactions to a few of them.

How did I do?

I recommend you ask for feedback if you are rejected for the position. Outside of the interview room some employers will willingly coach you on your interview skills. Make sure you thank them. This is a gift you don’t often receive and one they are in no way required to give. If they hem and haw they might not even remember your interview very well. That’s important feedback as well.

I have been asked “How did I do?” at the end of an interview, and rather than say anything meaningful I might respond with a banality such as “Well you seemed tense at first, but then you were able to relax and let us know about yourself.” The fact is I am concentrating on whether I think you’ll be a fit for the position. Don’t try to turn an interview into a coaching session. That’s not what we’re here for. This question during an interview will make me question your confidence and your judgement.

You will train me, right?

That question was the death knell for the candidate who asked it. He signaled that he was not sure he could do the job, and if he were to get the job and struggle it would be our fault for not training him. It revealed an attitude of “what can you do for me,” rather than “what can I do for you.” It signaled to me that he had likely received a poor performance review in the past and blamed it on poor training.

If you haven’t worked in this industry before but have sold us on the fact that you have transferable skills, you might want to ask “I will bring a lot of skills to this position, but can you see any gaps that I need to address?” The difference here is that you are eager to take the initiative and gain those skills. The answer can reveal areas where the interviewer might be unsure if they should hire you. If they mention something you actually can do, here’s your chance to rectify that impression.

What’s this position’s typical day like?

I am often asked some variant of this question. I don’t think it is effective at getting at what the candidate really wants to learn; things such as the relationship with their boss, personnel issues, production issues, and so on. It is better to ask directly if there are any personnel or production issues you should know about and whether deadlines met and staff are engaged. I would definitely ask some variant of this if you have already heard rumors that such issues exist at this company.

If you get an admission that things aren’t what they should be then ask more probing questions about the expected turnaround timeline and how you’ll be initially evaluated on the job. You need to be able to evaluate whether their needs match your skills and interests. The “typical day” question generally will not get your future employer to reveal internal dysfunctions.

When I was a job candidate I once got a rosy response to a question about whether there were any compliance issues or missed deadlines . I already had some inside information on this school district. The response indicated that my future boss was clueless or worse. I took the job anyway. It was even more painful than I expected, but at least I had some idea of what I was getting myself into.

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