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Turning the Tables

When the interviewee asks the questions

➔ One of the big steps prior to a job interview is preparing your answers for some of the standard questions: “Tell me about yourself.” “Why do you think you’re a good fit for this organization?” The list goes on.

According to some recruiters and hiring managers, the reverse can be just as important. “I’ve often interviewed people by letting them ask me questions,” said one recruiter. This perspective presents an entirely different opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate key insights into their personalities and work attitudes.

The view from the other side of the desk

“This lets me see how their minds work, how curious they are, and if they’re prepared,” she added. The candidate’s questions “lets me observe their analytical and emotional-intelligence skills up close and personal.”

This approach highlights one of the most difficult parts of the entire interview process. If you’re listening, if you’re paying attention to what the recruiter is saying, that will shape your questions and how you ask them. It can be one of the most telling examples of how your mind works, how quickly your mind works and how quickly you can make adjustments on the fly.

If the goal of the interview is to get to know the candidate, it stands to reason that the hiring manager can learn as much about the candidate based on the questions asked by the candidates as by the answers given to the questions asked by the hiring manager. Interviews are conversations, and the most effective conversations are two-way streets.

This may not be what you’re wanting to hear, but here’s one more thing to add to list of things to do to prepare yourself for your next job interview: You had better prepare the questions that you intend to ask. There’s a spot for them on your scorecard.

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