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Interview Tip #9 Ask Questions

Ask questions during an interview to make an impression!
Ask questions during an interview to make an impression!

Review. Well, you probably have an even better understanding of what the experts mean when they say it is important to prepare for the interview. We are mainly covering the interview “soft skills” in this series. In the next series we will review the “nuts and bolts!”

So far in this series:

Practicing – Over Preparing

Taking Notes

Wearing Appropriate and Comfortable Clothes.

Visit the location the day before the interview

Relax – do try to cram for an important interview

Breathe instead of saying um

Strike a pose to communicate you are thinking


Ask questions. In order to avoid an interview feeling like an inquisition, ask questions. Approach the interview as if it were a conversation: You listen, you respond, you interact and the interviewer does the same. If you can nudge the interview in this direction you will feel a lot more confident and comfortable than if the interviewer is asking all the questions!

The most common response to this advice that I get is “I thought you weren’t supposed to ask about salary and benefits during the first interview?” That is right! There are other things you are interested in knowing about the company, though. Right?

Think about the position itself. Wouldn’t you like to know what a typical day is like for a person in this position? You might ask if there could be an opportunity to shadow someone currently doing the job. Another question you might ask is what the interviewer considers the most important contribution the person in this position makes to the company,

What about the company? Sure, you will do your research and yes, you will know a good bit about the company. But, wouldn’t you like more of an insider’s perspective on the company. Why not ask: I have read a lot about the company and like what I am reading, but what can you tell me that isn’t on the website or business magazines? What is the culture like? How do people interact with each other? Email? Phone? Daily meetings?

How about your interviewer. What drew him or her to work for the company? What do they like best about working here? Least? Do they have any advice for someone hoping to be hired in this position? Can the interviewer give you feedback as a candidate or interviewee? All you have to do is ask!

Asking questions shows you are truly interested in the position and not just going through the motions to satisfy a third party or because it is any job you are apply to. Rather, you are truly interested in THIS position and THIS company.

And again, asking questions keeps the interview from being one sided with you in the hot seat. The will remember a pleasant conversation rather than a routine interview session. He or she will be left with a feeling that you would be someone your team mates could really interact with and communicate with. Isn’t that the message you would like to send? Of course!

To recap – ask questions to make the tone of the interview more positive. It also makes you appear more interested and gives you more information for your thank you letter or second interview. You will leave knowing you are a good match and why. What a good feeling.

So, you have practiced (see Interview Tip #1), prepared your notes (Tip #2), and have appropriate, comfortable clothes to wear (see Interview Tip #3), Interview Tip #4 shared the importance of visiting the location the day before, and Tip #5, was relax. They all addressed preparation and tips for before the interview. Tip # 6 (Breathe), Tip #7 Strike a pose, Tip #8 Smile, and Tip #9 - Ask Questions and Interview Tip #10 (Watch your body language) deal with that nerve racking During-The-Interview period.

Good Luck!

Here is a list of resources for possible interview questions and other resources:

Articles in my blog


Articles on the Web

Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Mary is a CAREER AND OCCUPATIONAL CONSULTANT who is masters-prepared and certified. She is a business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in Corporate Management, Career Assessment & Counseling and in writing Career Articles and Educational Materials.

She has worked as a CORPORATE MANAGER experienced in hiring, firing and managing a staff of professionals with a multimillion dollar budget. She enjoys WRITING AND EDITING and has spent many years developing Marketing Materials and Presentations, Writing Proposals and Plans, and Conducting Staff Development Sessions in addition to working as a vocational consultant. Learn more about Mary and her services:

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