Q&A: The Exchange

The interviewer will ask questions about your career goals, current and past positions, your motivation, the qualities you possess, activities you’ve participated in that demonstrate initiative, why you would be a strong candidate for this position, and why you would be an asset to their organization.

This is where you are going to win the interview. Pay attention to the question being asked. Once the interviewer has finished asking the question, pause before responding. You don’t want to begin answering too soon, only to find you didn’t answer the question. So, take a moment to gather your thoughts.

Draw upon your experience. Speak to specific situations, actions you took, and ultimate outcomes.

Interviewers often expect strong candidates to have questions for them. It shows the interviewer a level of interest, and will allows candidates to demonstrate your communication skills. Be sure to prepare questions ahead of time. A lack of questions may be mistaken for a lack of interest.

Discussions about major accomplishments should dominate the interview session. If the interviewer is not focusing on this right away, you can help get things started. To do this, ask the interviewer to clarify the position, responsibilities and specific skills. It may sound something like:

“I don’t have a complete understanding of your real job needs. Would you please give me an overview of what the job entails, and describe some of the key challenges in the job? Then, I’ll be able to provide real examples of similar work or similar situations.”

This allows you to describe a related project you’ve worked on. Hiring Leaders generally like candidates who are more assertive, and those who ask good questions. Make sure you have a list of insightful questions to ask. Here’s a few to get you started:

What does the person in this job need to do to be considered successful?
What’s the biggest challenge that needs to be addressed right away?
What kinds of resources are budgeted already?
Why is the position open, and how have you developed your team members?

Develop thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer related to both, the position and the organization. Don’t ask generic questions.

Close it out the right way.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any additional questions. This is the time to ask any unanswered questions. It’s also the perfect time to draw an alignment between your skills and experience and those sought for the position. Ask what the next steps are in the interview process, as well as when you can expect to hear about next steps. Finally, thank the interviewer for her time, and re-convey your interest.