This recent WSJ article, It Pays to Ask Smart Questions at a Job Interview by Dennis Nishi, rings true with my experience with lawyers and law students preparing for interviews.
Many of the lawyers and students I’ve worked with have previously made their own questions an afterthought in their interview preparation. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to hear: “I never know what to ask when the interviewer asks if I have any questions for him/her. What should I ask? What are good questions?”
To me, disinterest in spending time researching and thinking about a potential employer to formulate questions beyond those which can be answered by its website almost guarantees that an interviewee won’t stand out from other candidates. Fortunately, it’s usually not disinterest but rather a lack of understanding about the value of digging deeper and being more curious about the employer.
After it dawns on people how their questions are opportunities to distinguish themselves, we also talk about asking questions to elicit information to help shape their own answers. And wouldn’t you like to have that insight sooner rather than later when the interviewer finally asks if you have any questions. Better still, weaving your questions into the interview also makes it more conversational, thus more comfortable. What a concept! Try it. I think you will like it.
Therefore, I couldn’t agree more:
“‘Don’t wait until the end of the interview to ask about the job and what the employer is looking for in a candidate… If you ask them at the end of the interview, it’s too late. You already pitched yourself to the company without knowing what they want.’ Being more proactive with questions also allows you to weave them into the natural flow of the interview conversation.”
If you would like help preparing for interviews, including questions to ask, please contact me.