Wrong Interview Questions Are The Kiss Of Death

Posted on March 21, 2017 by

I just interviewed a recent graduate for a junior recruiter position with our firm.  At the end of the interview, I asked if she had any questions for me or my business partner.  She told us that we answered all her questions during the interview and didn’t have any further questions.  Unfortunately, 

Questions

for this candidate, this caused her not to get the job.  After the interview, we regrouped and both decided we couldn’t hire someone that wasn’t curious enough about what her career future and that of the company would look like.  We want candidates that take their future career serious enough to ask questions about it.   We want candidates that are interviewing us as well.

This interview led me to think about other common mistakes that clients shared about candidates asking questions during the interview process:

  • Using time at the end of the interview to ask questions about work hours.  We have had candidates not move forward in the interview process because they asked about work hours.  While this is a reasonable question, our clients shared that they were concerned that these candidates were “clock watchers” and thus they were eliminated.  That may or may not be a valid concern but that is what the clients thought and this ended up costing a candidate a position.
  • Asking about benefits.  There is a place and a time for everything and feedback from our clients is that if this is the most pressing thing that a candidate wants to know then perhaps this isn’t the best fit.  We asked when this would be appropriate and they shared that it would be much more appropriate when in conversation with their HR person.
  • Asking the same question to everyone you meet with during the day of interviews.  Please remember that clients will all compare notes after you interview with a group of different people.  That is why you need to prepare multiple questions beforehand so that you are prepared with a new question for everyone you meet.

The bottom line is that the questions you ask (or don’t) can make or break you.  Do not take a cavalier attitude when it comes to preparing questions.  Jobs have been won or lost based on this.  Treat this time as valuable.  This is your time to learn what the environment is like, what the career opportunities are, what the expectations are for you in the first 90 days / 6 months / 1 year.  Don’t be timid or afraid to ask questions.  This is your chance to shine.  Keep in mind that it is a two way street and you need to make sure this is the best opportunity for you as well.  You should never go into a job blind and at the end of the day, hours, benefits, etc. all matter in making the decision.  Just pick the best time to inquire about that.  Typically that is when there is expressed interest from the hiring company.  Once you have that, you can feel more comfortable to ask some of the other questions that are important to know before accepting a new role.

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Author's biography:

Ted co-founded KCM Solutions and now oversees all business development and client projects. Previously, he founded a financial staffing firm after working with a large investment bank. With passions in mountain biking and triathlons, he can often be found with bags of ice all over his body. When he isn’t training or onsite with our clients, he is still trying to figure out how to corral two, very active boys.