Thursday, March 10, 2011 1:55 PM
You Are Interviewing Us, Too.
To the fresh-faced candidates right out of college, remember this as you sit through interview after interview with questions about boxes and strings and how many uses you can come up with for a unicorn horn (17 is the current record).*
You may be nervous and slightly uncomfortable, and that is normal. It doesn’t bother interviewers.
But you know what is really disappointing to me as an interviewer? When candidates don’t have any questions.
I ALWAYS ask. Every time. And I’m always bummed when a candidate doesn’t want to know anything about us. Sometimes I’ll ask it again, just to be sure.
Call me crazy, but I like where I work. I like this company, and my co-workers. And I want to tell you all about it. I’ll pretty much tell you anything (barring confidential/proprietary stuff) that you want to know. It probably borders on annoying and long-winded, but it’s better than the alternative.
So when someone says, “Nah, I think I’m all set,” I die a little on the inside. (Alright, that’s a lie. But I am slightly disappointed.)
Even if you’ve asked the question of a different interviewer at the same company, ask it again. I can guarantee that the answer will be just different enough that you’ll learn something new. We don’t have a media person telling us what to say, and we all have our own opinions.
Asking questions (even just one!) tells me one, some, or all of the following:
- You care about where you want to work
- You have an inquisitive mind
- You don’t just want to work for anyone
- You are valuing the opportunity to be in front of an employer
- You are enjoying the dialogue and want to keep it going
- You give a tiny rat’s ass
And I know that many candidates are smart enough to do their research, and that’s GREAT! Keep doing that. But know that there is only so much our “About” section can tell you. Besides, we made up the majority of it to keep ourselves entertained.
Here are some things to think about when formulating your questions:
- Environment: Is it fun? Stuffy? Are people laughing? Do you want to work there? What’s going on when you walk in? Is it typical?
- People: What kind of people does the employer tend to hire? Do you think you could get along with those types of people? Why does the interviewer work there?
- Process: Are people running around on fire? Are they calm? Communicative?
- Networking: Is the interviewer someone that would be beneficial to know? Do they have an interesting story?
Bring your questions with you if you have them prepared, and don’t be afraid to ask them twice (of different interviewers, of course).
If you sincerely can’t think of one question, does it mean you won’t get the job? No, it doesn’t mean that. Remember that this is just my opinion as someone who has conducted a bunch of interviews. But I’m always a little bit more impressed and tickled when someone asks me questions.
*We don’t actually ask that question, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.