Whether the interview is 30 minutes, three hours, or any amount of time in between, it’s all about creating a positive impression in the mind of the hiring manager. We won’t go through all aspects of the interview, the various do and don’ts, but we will address what is often the most neglected component of the interview— asking questions.
Prior to the interview, candidates typically do some research on the company and have an idea of what the company does and for whom; candidates often have some sense of the hierarchy, where they would fit in within the organization and what will be asked of them if they come on board with the company.
Based on this prior knowledge, candidates normally prepare a few basic questions in their minds. In most cases, these often generic questions get answered at different times during the interview, which many times leads, unfortunately, to this conclusion to the interview:
Hiring Manger: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Candidate: “No, I think you have answered all my questions.”
This last exchange is leaving the hiring manager at the end of the interview wondering if the candidate really knows what he or she is getting into. The hiring manager may feel like the person is a good fit for the position and will add value to the organization, but passes on the candidate because there is concern that he or she may resign after learning more while on the job.
Good interviewees should be prepared not with a few pre-determined questions, but rather with an interview approach that focuses on asking engaging and thoughtful questions throughout the duration of the interview. The questions should not be prepared in advance but rather should flow from the dialogue and from what is learned from the hiring manager during the interview.
Good questions build credibility, demonstrate the candidate's capacity to listen and learn on the fly, and give hiring managers comfort that there will be no post-hire surprises.