A Critical Interviewing Mistake!

Candidates more often that not miss one of the best opportunities during the interview to shine, to differentiate themselves, and demonstrate their ability to do the job. What a great opportunity missed!!

In most interviews, the interviewer even sets the candidate up with the opportunity to shine and candidates blow right past it. The interviewer asks the soft ball question, “Do you have any questions for me?” A golden opportunity to shine. The questions you ask can outshine every answer you have given so far in the interview.

However, time and time again, I hear candidates do one of two things:

  1. Answer,”No, not really. Most of my questions were answered during the interview.” What a terrible answer. How did the interviewer answer “MOST” of your questions, when they were asking you questions.
  2. Reply with one or two (occasionally someone stands out and asks three) standard, unimportant, basic no-brainer, no forethought questions such as, “What is the budget?” or “What is your management style?” Again, these reveal the candidate has not prepared and is very shallow.
  3. Actually, there is a third, the candidate sits there like a deer in the headlights trying to think of something to say.

This is your opportunity to ask questions that demonstrate your ability to understand the job and what performance standards will be. Challenge the interviewer, ask “Why” are you doing X, probe deeply into the issues you will face once on board, how they manage, etc. Every candidate knows this question is coming in one form or the other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is a sign of strength, confidence and demonstrates a depth of knowledge. As a recruiter for almost 30 years, when a hiring manager calls back and says, “This person really asked me some great questions. They made me think in the interview.” I know that person is getting the job.

One component of your interviewing preparation should be questions to ask. Not just questions about the company, but specific questions about the job, ask “why”, ask about communications, ask about past issues, ask about future challenges, ask about people, ask about KPI’s, ask about systems, there are so many issues to discuss to make sure you will be successful.

The best advice I have is ask the same questions you will be asking once in the job to be successful. You might as well know them before you accept the position. Otherwise, it might be a position where you can’t succeed.

This is such a critical issue in our job search workbook, “This is NOT The Position I Accepted” (This wouldn’t happen if candidates probed in the interview.) We list over 150 question to ask in an interview in this workbook. We even break these questions into categories to help identify when to ask the question. In addition, we give you the 10 most important questions to ask in an interview. You can receive this book to review for FREE right now. Just pay the $5 shipping. CLICK HERE

Also, join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. This is a very active group that deals with every aspect of a job search. All Linkedin groups are free to join and provide a wealth of information. CLICK HERE

Don’t miss our talk radio show every Monday at 11 AM PDT on www.latalkradio.com. Barry and I discuss the most important challenges you will face in your search. You can listen to past shows in our audio library. CLICK HERE to enter the library. All files are free to download


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Elizabeth Das, September 9, 2009 @ 7:46 am

    Thank you. Great advice.

  • By Brad Pouls, September 16, 2009 @ 7:35 am

    Gread advice. Read through your info and have purchased your book! Thank you!

  • By Barry Deutsch, September 17, 2009 @ 2:04 pm


    What have you found to be the most valuable recommendation or suggestion for your job search that you’ve gleaned from our website, resources, or book? Have you tried implementing any of the tools or techniques we talk about in the book?

  • By Ellen, September 26, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    I always knew it wasn’t smart to say “I don’t have any questions,” but I never knew what questions to ask. Great advice to ask the questions you know you’re going to ask on the first day anyway.

  • By Barry Deutsch, September 27, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

    Ellen, I am astounded by the number of candidates who are excluded from consideration at the last moment in the interview when the Hiring Manager asks “Do you Have Any Questions” and the candidate says no. It’s almost as if whatever you said up to that point is irrelevant. The questions engage the Hiring Manager, move the interview from interrogation mode to consultative conversation mode, demonstrate your intellect, energy, introspection, how you think and process information, and your level of inquisitiveness — all by simply asking questions.

    Let us know how this works out for you on your next interview?

Other Links to this Post

  1. Misperceptions about Selling in the Interview — September 9, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

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