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What Questions Do You Have? The Interview Basics

By Phil Berbig

Over the years I have had the opportunity to interview people for a variety of different positions. No matter what I was interviewing for, there was always one thing that could almost instantly shut down the conversation; at the end of my inquiries, I would ask the prospective employee, “What questions do you have for me?” I was always surprised when the answer I received was, “Ummmm, nothing, I think we covered it all.”

Really?!? We covered it all?!?

When I would get a response like that, just about everything that went before was pretty much forgotten. This was true especially if I was hiring to fill a sales or management position. I can’t speak for others, but for myself, I want a person who has a mind that is always interested in knowing more. Every good manager wants her staff to ask “Why do we do it this way?” “Can we make this process faster/easier/better?” “How can we improve our customer’s experience?” …and so on.

If a person doesn’t even have a couple of questions to ask at the end of an interview, there is no way the above thoughts, or others, will flutter through their bland little brain once they are hired.

As you are preparing for your interview, always take just a few minutes to look through the firm’s website. Read through any brochures or flyers. Learn a bit about the organization and construct a few good questions. Write the questions down and have them in an open notebook on your lap or on the table in front of your eyes. (That way if you go blank, you can simply look down and read the questions. That is perfectly acceptable.)

If the interview, for some reason is more spontaneous, as you go through the maze of their queries, take notes (it is okay for you to take notes by the way) so you can construct a couple of questions on the fly.

Whatever the situation, at the end of the interview, always have something to ask them. There is never any guarantee you will get the job, but you are far more likely to impress than the person who just looks back at them with a blank stare while spitting out the phrase, “Ummmm, nothing, I think we covered it all.”

Phil Berbig
Phil Berbig is a sales, marketing, and business professional with over 20 years' experience. Skilled in all things recruiting and networking, Phil has seen it all. As a result he dedicates time writing blogs sharing tips and solutions on subjects like professionalism and networking.
  1. Lee Tyree Reply
    Hi Phil, Good information for anyone interviewing or being interviewed. Showing that you are paying attention, truly pays in these type situations. You have to find a way to shine and make yourself stand out of the crowd, to be choosen for the job!
  2. Scott Plum Reply
    My favorite is: What do you track? Is your sales force being held accountable? Yes - Are you sure? Yes - How do you know? No - Why not? Sometimes the problem lies in managements ability to keep salespeople accountable.
    • Simply Great Resumes Reply
      Hi Scott, your question is absolutely pivotal and especially within sales. Being aware of expectations, quotas, and requirements are a must. Interviewees often forget that the interview goes both ways, they too are interviewing the management team and company for 'best fits'. You may also enjoy the blog - http://www.simplygreatresumes.com/job-searching/five-questions-to-ask-in-your-next-interview/ Thank you for your comments! Kerry
  3. Lynda Whittemore Reply
    Hi Phil, I agree with you on this one. When a candidate has no questions to ask, the same reaction as yours enters my mind – Really?!? It is equally disappointing if a candidate asks generic questions that they clearly copied and pasted from a "list of interview questions to ask.” I am most impressed when you get the sense that the questions the candidate is asking truly mean something to them. The questions are thought provoking, meaningful and genuine.

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