Great Candidates Ask Great Interview Questions

Today I read an article in Inc about the questions great candidates ask.  I like that the reporter says 'great candidates' ask these questions rather than 'great questions' to ask.  Because great candidates DO ask smart questions. Not just questions that will make them look smart, but questions that will really help them understand the job and the company. Questions that give a deeper understanding.  If something isn't obvious or doesn't make sense, there is a reason why.  Trust yourself and ask.  Great candidates are being there at the interview, processing and connecting rather than trying to impress.  They are naturally interested instead of trying to be interesting.  They are processing what they're being told and listening to themselves.  And if you are not busy trying to be someone who has everything on the job description, you can really listen.  If it's a good job, you'll definitely have questions.  If it's a good boss, he'll want to know that you can listen, think and be interested enough to find out more.

The article in Inc has some really good questions but neglects one important area: the search process itself.  This is often filled with mystery for the candidate and when there is no recruiter to find out the answers for you, you have to ask the questions yourself.  Don't be afraid, ask those questions.  Here are a few:

  • Why is the job open?
  • How long has the job been open?
  • Do you have any other candidates that you're serious about?
  • What's the timetable?  When do you need to get this job filled?
  • What are the next steps?
  • What happened to/where is the person who was in this role before?
  • What is the career opportunity for the person who takes this job?

There's nothing wrong with asking these and other questions about the search process itself.  You may not like the answers but it will certainly help you decide if it's a good opportunity and help you manage expectations.

Happy hunting!!


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