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Interviewing the Interviewer

As you probably know, goin g on a job interview can be stressful because you do not know what to expect. There is a way to change all that. When preparing for an interview you not only want to prepare how you will answer their questions, but you also want to prepare questions to ask an employer. This way you will know that, if nothing else, your questions will be addressed. There is nothing worse than leaving an interview still feeling unsure about the company.

What questions should you ask? How do you phrase your questions?

Although it is great to ask questions, you want to make sure that your questions are well thought out and will generate the information you are looking for. Start off by figuring out what information you want to know by the time the interview is over. Choose general categories such as, work environment, work conditions, job security, and management style.


Make a list of the characteristics you want your ideal company to possess that correspond with the general categories you contemplated in the previous paragraph. These characteristics are called Power Phrases ©. Make sure your Power Phrases that you create reflect what you want out of a company. After reviewing the following Power Phrases define and select 4-5 Power Phrases that best represent the ideal organization for you. Dream a little bit to discover what you really what from them, because after all you are interviewing them too. Here are some examples of Power Phrases to give you an idea.

Wording Questions

When phrasing your questions you want to be as specific as possible, without being so obvious as to what you’re looking for (which is exactly what an employer does when asking you questions during an interview). As a result you will more often receive a response that is useful in helping you make decisions about different companies. When wording your questions, keep in mind your goal is to receive a detailed response. Asking open-ended questions are better then asking closed-ending questions. An open-ended question will force the person to answer with more than a “yes” or “no” response.

When should you ask your questions?

There is not one correct time during an interview to ask your questions. It is important to ask each question at its own appropriate time. When the conversation goes in the direction of one of your categories try to find a break in the conversation to ask the question that you’ve made to go along with that category.


During your interview it is okay to refer to notes. Your notes should have a list of your company Power Phrases, the categories you narrowed in on, and the questions you’ve composed for the interview. Having these notes are going to help you keep track of what has been said during the interview and let you know what areas you want the interviewer to elaborate on. You don’t want to ask one of your questions if the interviewer has already answered it, unless you want more clarification. Doing so will make you appear as if you have not been focused during the interview. As the interview progresses you want to take a moment to jot down one or two words, near the appropriate category or question, which will help you decipher if the company is the right fit for you.

Now get out there and get the answers you deserve!

- Jessica Marriott

Jessica R. Marriott has been a national career strategist for 10 years teaching people how to be simply irresistible and indispensable in their careers. She also teaches companies how to retain and hire simply irresistible and indispensable employees. Visit her website at and take a free quiz. All rights reserved © 2000-2004 by Jessica R. Marriott.