Interview the Interviewer

One of the deadliest mistakes in an interview is to have no questions to ask the interviewer.  It is critical do your homework in advance to have insightful questions prepared.  A lack of questions is viewed as a lack of preparation and interest.

  • Do Your Homework – Research the company in advance by reviewing their website and using other online research tools.  Review your networking notes to see what you have learned about the company from your contacts.  Prepare questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and your level of preparation.
  • Avoid Questions About Salary and Benefits – It can ruin your chances for success if you are asking about salary and benefits too early in the process.  Sell yourself and make them see that you can meet their business needs first.  There is plenty of time to discuss salary and benefits later in the process after they have decided they want you on their team.
  • Envision Yourself in the Job – Asking questions that envision you in the job helps the interviewers see you in the position as well.  For example, “How would you evaluate my success in this position after the first six months?”  or “What would be the first challenge you’d expect me to tackle in this position?”  or “What objectives would you expect me to accomplish in the first six months in this role?”
  • Demonstrate your Insight – Don’t simply ask about the recent acquisition you read about on the website, ask how this acquisition will better prepare the company to compete with a specific competitor, complete their product line, impact their entry into a new market, change the priorities for this department, etc.  Show that you are aware of the news but that you are already thinking about the implications.
  • Seek Insight about the Manager and the Team—Ask why the position is open, did someone take another position within the company or did they just leave?  Ask about turnover in the department and probe delicately for reasons.  Initiate a discussion about team dynamics and how the group works to accomplish departmental goals.
  • Don’t Leave Objections on the Table – If the interviewer has a doubt or reservation about your fit for the job, it is better to identify it and address it.  Ask the interviewer, “What questions or concerns do you have about my fit for this job?”  Once you know the concern, you have an opportunity to address it.

Demonstrate your interest in the position and the company by being well-prepared to interview the interviewer.  You will gain valuable insights while also demonstrating your interest and preparation


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