Did you know that the quality of a candidate’s questions can be more telling than the candidate’s answers to your job interview questions?
The following disaster happened when I was interviewing a senior Finance Director candidate together with my client’s CFO.
CFO: What would you like to ask me?
Candidate: Err. Err. How do you run your petty cash?
CFO looked at me, stunned, then at the candidate: Is that your best question?Job interview between candidate and client
The context was the interviewing of shortlisted candidates for a senior executive to run the Accounting & Finance team for a company in Thailand with more than 10,000 people.
Note: The candidate did not move to the final round.
And it was just another example from a job interview where a candidate gets caught by surprise, the brain stops working, and all the great questions you thought of the day before have disappeared.
Like a rabbit caught in the headlights
The quote by Benjamin Franklin, Fail to Prepare or Prepare to Fail, means that if we do not prepare, then we are setting ourselves up for failure. Conversely, if we do prepare, then we are setting ourselves up for success.
One of the most important things you must do before the all-important job interview is to write down the questions that you want to ask the company you are interviewing with.
Yes, I know that the day before, at home, you have all the great questions in your mind. You know them well and feel confident you can recall them when asked during the job interview. You feel no need to write them down.
But trust me, once you sit in the interview chair, with a few people on the other side firing questions at you, and then out of the blue the question: What would you like to ask?
There is a high risk that you are like a rabbit caught in the headlights in a state of paralyzing surprise, fear, or bewilderment. The great questions that you wanted to ask have gone with the wind.
So please, bring that paper with your questions and your resume to the interview. Place it on the table together with a pen and paper for note-taking.
Interviewers love when candidates take notes; it is a sign of active listening and visible interest. You can always throw the paper out when you get home. But during the interview, show that you take notes, and you will get another plus point.
When the interviewer invites you to ask your questions, just take the paper so the interviewer can see you have prepared yourself. One more point to you.
5 impressive questions to ask in a job interview
Here are some questions you can ask your prospective employer:
- What are the most important tasks that need to be looked at, say the first 100 days?
- What are the skills or profiles of people who are the most successful in your company?
- How would you describe the company corporate culture?
- What is the leadership style of my boss?
- What 5-6 things should I deliver in the job to be considered successful?
If you have the courage, ask for the job. At the end of the interview, you must say that you are interested in the job (of course only if you are at that point) and that you would like to know what the next steps are.