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Questioning the Interviewer

October 15, 2012
John Cleese

Hopefully you never have an interview like this.

When you are in a job interview, it’s almost inevitable that near the end the interviewer will ask you what questions you have. As noted in this post, a large number of people have no questions. It’s certainly possible that the interview covered all the questions you would want to have answered, but do you have a list of questions before the interview starts?

You should. I think it’s important that you ask questions in an interview, especially questions that are important to you. Many times each of us wants a job, needs to get a job, and don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize our chances. However taking a job that’s a bad fit, or has some aspect that will bother you every day is a bad idea. You spend a lot of time at work and a poor work environment can make your life miserable.

In the piece, the person makes a good point that your questions reflect your priorities and can result in an unfavorable impression. I think you can ask about topics like telecommuting, but do so in a way that shows you are interested and excited about the job. I’ve noted long commutes and the time they take in an interview, asking if I can better use that time to solve problems by working at home a day or two. The way you bring topics up can matter, so make sure that you word your questions in a way that shows you are interested in doing a good job.

I do think that asking questions which show your enthusiasm or interest in the position are good questions to ask. However you should think about those questions before you go to the interview and determine if what impression they make. Write down your questions, and if they are answered during the interview, mark them off and ask any remaining questions at the end.

The interview is your best chance to determine if the position is a good fit for you and the company, so take advantage of that.

Steve Jones


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