Interview Stress Reduction (ISR): Sharp Decisions’ Word on Interviewing the Interviewer

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You’ve perfected your resume and cover letter, and now, you finally have that interview you’ve been working towards. This is your moment to outshine your competitors. You’ve researched the company, and you’ve prepared answers for the questions you think you might be asked. But, did you think to prepare a few thoughtful questions of your own to ask the interviewer?

An interview is a conversation. Perhaps, a more formal and goal oriented conversation than many, but a conversation nonetheless. As such, an interview is a two-way discourse driven by questions and commentary from both participants. Remember, not only are you being interviewed, but you are also interviewing the company to determine if the position is a good fit for you.

Because Sharp Decisions understands how stressful interviews can be, we’ve put together a short list of appropriate and inappropriate questions to ask in an interview.

Do ask:

  1. By the time you walk out of the interview, you should have a thorough understanding of the responsibilities and expectations of the position you are seeking. So, do ask: “What are the most important roles of this job?” and “How does the company expect the individual stepping into this role to grow personally and professionally?”
  2. You should also have a very good idea of the company’s obstacles and goals, as well as how the position for which you are interviewing contributes to the company vision. So, do ask:  “What is the greatest challenge facing your team, and would I be in a position to assist in its resolution?” and “How do you see this position contributing to the success of your company?”
  3. Company culture is fundamental in deciding whether or not a position is right for you. So, do ask: “How would you describe your organization’s culture?”
  4. When the interview is over, neither party should exit with any misunderstanding of the other. By settling any misconceptions before the interview ends, you may prevent yourself from being eliminated from the running because of a simple miscommunication. So, do ask: “Do you have any concerns about my qualifications or myself personally that may prevent you from selecting me for this position?”
  5. Knowing the next stage in the hiring process is important. Not only will you be more prepared, but the interviewer will also see that you are enthusiastic about the position and excited to take that next step. So, do ask: “What is the next step?” and “When do you think you will be making a decision?”

Do not ask:

  1. Employers want to know that you are interested enough in the position to research the company. So, do not ask: “What does your company do?”
  2. You want to show your interviewer that you are attracted to the position and the company, not just the paycheck. So, do not ask: “What salary, time off, and benefits are you offering?”
  3. No employer wants to hire a snoop. Besides, you should always project a professional demeanor. So, do not ask: “Is [insert company rumor here] true?”

While asking the right questions is important in showing off your ability to think analytically and on your feet, you never want to bombard your interviewer with too many questions. So, choose only those questions you want answered most, and be sure to work those into the interview at an opportune time.

Preparing for an interview is smart, and we highly recommend you do. But, consulting job placement professionals directly is even smarter. By applying through Sharp Decisions, you will receive interview advice and mock interviews from specialists whose primary responsibility is to help you secure a job well-suited to you. Moreover, we know our clients and, often, the individual with whom our candidates will be interviewing, so we can give insight into which questions will be appropriate and well received. Because we know our clients and will prepare you to meet with your interviewer, you will have the confidence to ask those questions you want answered.

At Sharp Decisions, we welcome your questions and comments. If you have any for us, please feel free to send them in an e-mail to We look forward to hearing from you.


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