Turn the Tide of an Interview

April 25th, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »


The barrage of questions during job interviews can quickly drain your energy. While talking about ourselves comes naturally, being grilled about why we are the perfect fit for a company is not so easy to withstand. Fortunately, there is a simple way to turn the tide of any interview, and it all starts with the questions you ask.

Go from being the interviewee to the interviewer

A great way to go from being the interviewee to the interviewer is to consistently pose questions throughout the entire process. Don’t bookmark questions that pop into your head for later. An interview should not be set up like an interrogation, where they ask and you answer. It should be a conversation where you are posing queries of your own. If you approach a topic that you already had a question written prepared for, ask it. This will take some of the pressure off of you by focusing on the interviewer’s knowledge of the company, and grant your mind a much needed break from the barrage of questions being posed to you.

Of course the interview needs to remain about you, and you will want to tell them why you are the best fit for the position, but you can easily take control of the conversation by asking lots of questions that put the turns the spotlight on the interviewer. It will show that you are truly interested in the ins and outs of the company, and aren’t there solely because you need a job. The following are a few yes and no ways to go about this.


Ask them to explain, describe, and elaborate. Constantly pull more and more information out of them. If they tell you that they are thinking of heading in a certain direction, highlight any experience or skills you possess that relate to it. Then offer your own ideas and how you would help them achieve this goal.


Simply pull questions from the internet. Chances are hiring managers have heard them a hundred times before and are fully prepared to answer them, turning the momentum back in their favor. Rephrase the questions from their generic writing and tailor them specifically for the company. This will force the hiring manager to avoid responding to them with a generic answer.


Ask open ended questions that cannot simply be pushed aside with a yes or no answer. Otherwise the hiring manager can and probably will answer with a simple yes or no. Followed by an awkward silence.


Ask obvious questions that could have be answered with the information given on the company website. They will expect for you to have done your research and don’t want their time wasted explaining to you what the company does.


Ask where the company sees itself in the future (sound familiar). Provide suggestions of your own as to how you could help take the company in this direction. Present an idea and ask for feedback. It shows creativity and initiative. You will be presenting a vested interest in the future of the company before you have even accepted, or been presented, a job offer.


Interrupt them while they are speaking. Wait for them to finish, or at least pause to think. Then answer their question and immediately pose yours.


Save at least three questions for the end of the interview. Avoid using up all your inquiries before they ultimately turn the table over to you. If you find yourself blanking on what to ask, thank them for providing you with such throughout explanations to your previous questions.


Turning an interview into a conversation requires quick thinking and a delicate balance, but doing so will take a lot of the pressure off of you while making you appear like a much stronger candidate. The important thing to remember is that the company is not only interviewing you. They should be telling you why you should work for them. Find out as much information as you can before choosing the office that you will be devoting yourself to in the future.

By Kevin Withers

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