How to Nail a Job Interview Via Questions


Darnell Clarke

During a job interview, there comes a point where you are asked if you have any questions.  The answer to that question should always be “YES I do!”  I can’t tell you how many times I have asked that question to a candidate, just to hear “no I do not.”  At this point, a very shrewd thing to do is to pull out your questions list from your portfolio or binder, and start from question number #1.

You need to have your questions prepared in advance, these questions are important. The questions you ask, including the words you select to express them, will strongly influence the interviewer’s assessment of you.  These questions prevent you from overlooking needed information.  After the interview, you can easily determine the information you still need to get and this information will help you decide whether this opportunity is right for you.  Preparing the lists of questions will make you much more organized and efficient. The interviewers will notice. I always did!  Moreover, the answer to your questions will prepare you for your closing statement.  Having questions for the interviewer is strongly advised.

This will make it crystal clear to the interviewer that you took the interview seriously and were prepared. Pay close attention to the answers that the interviewer gives you when you ask him question number #1 from your list. (What kind of person are you looking for to fill this position?  And what is your ideal job candidate like?)  The interviewer is getting ready to tell you exactly what they are looking for.

You need to capture this information by writing it down next to question number #1 and let the interviewer see you write it down.  This will be the beginning of your closing statement.   Go through every question on your list one at a time! Pay close attention to every answer given; capture each answer by writing it down next to the question.

Question Suggestions

There are many questions that you can ask, but below are some of the more important ones:

  • What kind of person are you looking for to fill this position?  What is your ideal job candidate like?
  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the position?
  • What are the most important responsibilities of the job?
  • What are this job’s priorities for the first 90 days?
  • Do you have any other questions or concerns about my ability or work history that you are not comfortable with to determine that a next step is warrant? · When will a decision be made about the person hired?
  • What are the NEXT STEPS???

Here are a few off-limit questions that a candidate should NOT ask:

  • How quickly do I accrue vacation time?
  • How often can I work from home?
  • Do you pay for parking (cell phones, car allowance, sodas, gym memberships, etc)?
  • How often will I get paid?

If by the end of the interview if you are interested in the position, ask for the job.  I can’t tell you how many times I had a solid candidate to hire and he/she walked right out of the door without asking me for the job.  This is one of the reasons why I’m so successful at obtaining employment, because I ALWAYS asks for the job.  And if the candidate would have just asked me, I would have hired them on the spot.

When asking for the job, this shows that you have the fortitude and confidence to ask for what you want.  “You have not, because you ask not”.  So ask for it, you will be amazed of the reaction for the interviewer when you ask for the job.  Be ready, because they just might make you an offer right on the spot.

This does not commit you to anything.  It will positively affect compensation.  It may be the difference between getting an offer or a rejection letter.  Tell the key interviewer (probably also your supervisor-to-be) that you are interested in working not only for the company but for them personally. Interviewers like to hear positive things too. If the “chemistry” is good between you, they need to know it so they’ll go to bat for you.

Close with these words, “I am very interested in what I have learned here today and the opportunities that this position presents.  I believe I would enjoy working here and learning from YOU as well.  Is there anything more you need to know about my background to ensure we go to the next step of the process, because I WANT THIS JOB!!!!”

Then give them your “PERSONAL GUARANTEE”. You look them right in their eyes and say, “Mr./Ms. interviewer, if you select me, I give you my personal guarantee and I promise you won’t be sorry or disappointed in hiring me”.  Then shut up and wait until they speak.

If you are not interested in the job, DO NOT USE THIS STRATEGY!  You see, employers are ALWAYS looking for someone they can count on.  It’s called accountability.  That means the employer can count on you to get the job done, no matter what.  And when it comes down to it, that’s what every hiring manager is looking for in his/her staff.  That includes me as well.  It is perfectly OK to ask when you can expect to hear from the employer, but you should not mention other opportunities for which you are being considered.  Close with a firm handshake and a sincere “thank you” to the interviewer for their time.

Darnell Clarke is the author of “Employmentology: A Practical Systematic Methodology of Finding Employment by a Hiring Manger.” As a front-line hiring practitioner, Clarke knows precisely what today’s hiring professionals are, and are not, looking for—knowledge he now imparts to the candidate marketplace at all levels from colleges to executive suites.

5 thoughts on “How to Nail a Job Interview Via Questions

  1. In a lighter setting, you hear the same story from actors. How many times has some celebrity given their amusing anicdote on landing the starring role by saying ‘…and I said, Yes I do.’

  2. Looks like I’ve been living a lie! Apparently, I have handled the closing portion of interviews all wrong. Most of the time when potential employers ask if I have questions, my initial response is “No, but thank you so much for your time!” I assumed all the bases were covered in the interview and asking further questions would seem like a burden. After reading this blog post I realize an employer may want to have questions asked. In addition, it’s smart thinking to ask the employer about what they are looking for in an employee. This helps put them on the spot and shows that the interviewee is serious about the position.

  3. After reading this post I have a whole new outlook on job interviews. The idea of asking for the position at the end of the interview, if interested, is something that I would never think to do. This is great to know because I think it shows confidence and a serious interest in the job. I also don’t think many people think to simply ask, which sets you a part from other applicants.

  4. This was extremely helpful being an undergraduate. I do have one concern though — with the stigma of women aren’t supposed to be up front about things, could this decrease a woman’s chance of getting the job? I can see this tactic backfiring on a woman.

  5. Not to fear, Meagan. These tips will only increase your credibility as a strong candidate. Gone are the days when women were expected to sit back in such situations. Just be sincere and smile. If you’re overly serious, it will come off as a negative.

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