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.”