Interviews are a two way street. You want to demonstrate how you are a great fit for the role, but you don’t want to do all the talking.
Great interviewers make the interview more like a conversation. If you do a few interviews, you will notice a significant difference in skill between different interviewers. Take notice of the good ones and the poor ones and learn from them.
I recommend that you aim for about 50/50 or 60/40 either way in terms of how much talking you do vs how much talking the interviewer does.
Essential Questions To Ask When You are Being Interviewed
How Are You?
Genuinely asking how are you is the start for every conversation. I missed this recently with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and made a joke instead of asking how they were. It turns out that they were on the way to a family funeral.
Who or What / How …
If this is a first interview, the person interviewing you will almost certainly be a Who type person. Who type people like people, so ask a who type question showing you are interested in people like:
- Who would be my main contacts in this role?
- Can you tell me about the person who previously held this role?
- Who would run the induction? (If they mention an induction)
If it is a second interview, with someone who is obviously not a who person, ask a what or how question related to their interests. This might be:
- What do you see as the biggest challenges in this job?
- What are the most time critical parts of the job?
- How many people are there in XYZ team?
- How is success in this role tracked?
- What do you feel would be the most important thing I could do in this role that would make the biggest difference for the company?
What do you like about working here?
Showing that you are interested in them as well as enjoying your work puts you in a great light
What is your process and your time frame from here?
This is an essential question at the end of the interview. Ask this so you are not left wondering why they have not got back to you. They may need two weeks to process applications and approvals and if you follow up in a week, they will think you don’t understand how it works.
Answering Do You Have Any Questions in a Job Interview
Ask your questions as they come up naturally, if you have had a good conversation and got your questions answered already then interviewers will appreciate not needing to answer another question. Alternately, this is a great time to ask what they like about working for this company if you haven’t already.
A few things to watch-out for in an interview.
The Champagne Effect
Sometimes if you are really excited that you got the interview and you know you could do a great job, then all this excitement comes bursting out in the interview and you accidentally overwhelm the interviewer. This is what I call the champagne effect.
Like a bottle of champagne being opened – it all floods out.
To avoid this happening in an interview, call a friend after you know you got the interview and tell them how excited you are. Tell them why you why you will really help this company and be great in the role. This will get some of your language right and clarify your thoughts and allow you to release just a bit of the excitement. Keep most of your excitement, just release a little to avoid the champagne effect.
You might even practice some interview questions with them.
Extra tip: If you ever come across someone who is suffering from the champagne effect, just let them talk. That’s the quickest way to get back on track – smile at them, but say nothing until they stop and allow you to talk naturally.
Being Too Eager
I ran into this yesterday in a slightly different context. I had made an offer to start a project but told them I needed 1 weeks notice to start. When they called to say they wanted to go ahead early, in my excitement, I offered that I could start in a few days.
They had planned to give me a weeks notice, and I forgot that I was already fully booked next week. Bu offering then needing to backtrack, I just looked foolish. I should have stuck calmly with my initial offer of 1 week notice and gratefully accepted it. That is what we ended up with.
Prepare well and good luck.