Before discussing questions, and those you should never ask, we must first discuss listening. Listening, asking good questions and providing good answers to questions asked during an interview are the top 3 things a hiring pro or decision-maker is interested in when interviewing you.
Why is listening even in this equation and why is it so important you may be asking yourself?
Among other things, listening shows the interviewer you are interested in the position they’re discussing with you. You’re paying attention and eager to learn more. When you’re intent, and really listening, you’re able to ask good questions which help you and the interviewer get to the heart of the matter fast. Bottom line, asking good questions brings you closer to getting a job offer.
A good interviewer can quickly tell a variety of other things about you – even when you aren’t speaking. Here are 3:
>> If you’re actually listening to what they’re sharing your eyes are clearly focused on them not scanning the room telling them your mind is drifting and elsewhere.
>> If your eyes are seemingly glazed over, you’re showing you aren’t following them; whatever they’ve been saying may be overwhelming and you’ve stopped listening. While this could be the fault of the interviewer, on the other hand you might be mulling over a personal problem and dropped off the grid.
>> If your shoulders are slumped this generally suggests you’re bored and would rather be elsewhere.
Here’s 7 ways hiring pros, interviewers and decision-makers know you are listening to them:
- You’ll occasionally respond by nodding your head.
- You may show you agree, or understand, with a smile.
- You may respond with a ‘yes’.
- You may say ‘I understand’, ‘I see’ or ‘I hear you’.
- You may respond with the word ‘sure’ or ‘absolutely’.
- You may begin to lean forward showing you are intently listening.
- You ask good questions.
When you respond in the ways listed above you are ‘emotionally listening’. In short, you are invested in the conversation – in the interview. Your actions are signaling the interviewer you want to learn more.
The result of good listening is generally good listeners are able to ask good questions. These good questions further show your interest and desire to gain more insight into the position, into the company and its culture.
And, bottom line, good questions pave the way to helping you secure the job you want.
4 Questions You Should Never Ask at An Interview
While hiring pros and decision-makers love it when you ask good questions – and worry if you don’t there is some protocol for questions you shouldn’t ask.
- Ask no questions about salary or benefits, sick days or allowable vacation-time at the initial interview. Regardless if via email, phone or Skype, for example. While all of these scenarios are personally important – knowing benefits and vacation time allowed, for example – the first interview is strictly for business. This is an interview in which the interviewer, the company, is determining whether you have a serious interest in the job. And, very importantly, whether you’ll be a good fit for the job, their company and satisfactorily fit into their culture.</spanStrictly speaking it’s get-to-know- you time. Questions re benefits, serious salary negotiations, vacation allotted, are all questions which should only be asked at a second interview or if the interviewer makes you an offer before the end of the first interview. Asking pointed questions, about the previously mentioned topics, could be telling the interviewer you are only interested in money and time off. Which could have them quickly ending the interview and crossing you off their ‘hire’ or ‘2nd interview’ list.
- Never start any question with the word “why”. Asking ‘why’ tends to put hiring pros and decision-makers on the defensive. For example – ‘Why did you….’ ‘Why’ questions generally put people on the defensive; sometimes in attack mode. Your ‘why’ questions could be suggesting you’re asking them to stand up for something their company did or a decision they made; to explain how they came to that seemingly negative decision.While it would be good to know the answer to your ‘why’ question, an interviewer may feel the question/s are a direct personal attack on them and/or the company. After all, you are an unknown to them and why should they answer any direct or personal question/s? This can quickly turn them off. And – again – have them crossing you off their ‘hire’ or 2nd interview list. If you are compelled to get the answer to your query ‘Why’, instead rephrase the question. For example – ‘I read your company is doing…..; what are your feelings about how this positions the company for the future?’ In short, take the onus off them and ask for their opinion instead.
- Never ask ‘who is my competition for this job?” This isn’t a strategic question which will push the interview positively forward. Instead not only is this a rude question to ask but – bottom line– it’s none of your business. It’s highly likely asking it will bring a swift end to your interview. This question not only smacks of unprofessionalism but can suggest you aren’t confident enough to do the job.
- Never ask questions about a company’s review or appraisal policies. Or ask questions like ‘How many warnings do I receive before getting fired?’. Psychologists say this type of question can have a hiring pro or decision-maker thinking you may not be as skilled as your resume or profile suggest since you’re worried about being caught-out by a supervisor once hired. Again, this points to lack of confidence or actual lack of skills and/or experience. Maybe, strongly, suggesting you aren’t someone they should hire.
End of interview questions.
An interviewer wants and expects you to ask questions at the end of the interview. If you have none to ask or have no response but a shake of the head suggesting ‘no’ when an asked ‘Do you have any questions for me?” this can reflect negatively on you.
Regardless how good the interview, having ‘no questions’ tells an interviewer you’re disinterested. And interviewers are more inclined to dismiss you than set up a second interview.
Not sure what to ask?
When you’ve done your pre-interview research on this company, write down several questions to ask. This could be anything from something about the founder you found interesting, how it’s culture developed, how they came to develop their first product. These are great topics which help restart conversation, help to continue engaging the interviewer – even at the end of the interview. Your deep interest in the company is something they will remember, hiring pros say.
It’s also important to have several questions on hand regarding the job. If the interviewer hasn’t told you they want to hire you, or scheduled a second interview with you, steer clear of questions regarding policies and benefits, for example.
Regarding questions –Ask open-ended questions which encourage and engage. For example – use words like:
Each of these words helps create opportunities for a conversation to start or continue. Not to mention they open the door to further engagement.
Author: Get Your Job Buzz On Staff