This is a really interesting area and one which we are asked often on our courses. What is the right balance between asking questions about a role and an employer, and being questioned by the interviewer? Get it right and you can learn a great deal and work out whether you do want the job. Get it wrong and the employer will learn nothing about you and you could blow the opportunity (even if you do want the job!).
This brief article/discussion has been generated by some forum discussions on the issue. Interesting to hear how the interviewer felt with different approaches. The summary in the article is about right on balance. We would say probably maximum 20% of time asking questions. You can either ask questions as you go along, or saving them until the end is better as they may get answered during the course of the interview itself. At the end you can pick the most pertinent ones – the “need” to have answered as opposed to the “nice” to have answered. The interviewer will be keen to keep to their time slot, so be mindful of the amount of time they have available for you. Asking loads of questions can show you are keen yes, but can show a lack of judgement if you go over the top and ask too many.
With January expected to be a good month for finding new roles, candidates are bound to be searching for advice on how to ace their interview.
One place they may turn to for wisdom is Reddit.
A recent thread under the LifeProTips category launched a discussion following user Scottsman90’s bold statement: “Treat job interviews like you are interviewing them to see if they are worth your time. You will appear as a stronger candidate.”
Other users chimed in and agreed. JoOngle wrote: “That’s actually an excellent tip. All the jobs I’ve ever gotten – have been like this. Also, that was a surprise to me every time, because I basically didn’t think I’d get the job, so I didn’t really care that much, but spent time interviewing them instead just because I was genuinely interested in spending my time sensibly.
“After a while, the dime falls – I began to realise that getting a job is like a relationship. The less ‘available’ you are, the more ‘attractive’ you become.”
Wild_Garlic supported this: “The casual cool, yet professional. Be critical and fair, ask probing questions. Make sure you show them you are weighing you costs and benefits.”
However, one interviewer said the advice was good but as with all things, moderation is key.
TheBotBot wrote: “Phone interviewed a guy recently who was clearly interviewing me, I said maybe twenty words while he talked at me about how amazing he was, there was no having a conversation with him. At the end he tried to schedule the in person interview… ‘Well I guess the next step is getting together in person and seeing if this could work out. Are you free _____?’ My notes from the interview were ‘1,000xNO’.”
Merovean agreed: “My experience summed up exactly, left me with that ‘why am I still listening to this guy’ feeling. It’s a great idea when executed by someone with skills and maturity, a nightmare when attempted by the young and overzealous.”
Thingswithcookies added: “I get annoyed when someone I’m interviewing spends too much time asking me questions. The fact that they’re in the room with me means they want the job. I only have an hour to gauge someone’s ability to do this job and I’m happy to chat or answer questions for maybe 5-10 minutes of that hour but not for much longer than that.”
Hellarar advised candidates that “about 25% asking to 75% answering sounds like an appropriate balance.”
Original article on Recruitment Grapevine