Diane Stafford

Got a job interview? Turn the tables

Updated: 2013-04-19T19:25:25Z

At a point in almost every job interview the interviewer will ask – or at least should ask: “Do you have any questions for me?”

This is not the time to stay mum or shrug no.

Neither is it time to ask, “What does this job pay?” If you don’t know that, you shouldn’t be sitting in the interview chair yet.

But it is time to prove that you’ve researched the job, the company and the industry enough to ask a couple of smart questions about the place where you hope to work.

Making a few smart inquiries is particularly good if you’re a new graduate without much work experience or if you’re trying to get into a markedly different occupation from what you’ve had.

Asking decent questions says that you’re curious – in a good way – because it shows you’re probably inclined to learn something. And it indicates you’re prepared, that you’ve given careful thought to how you’d be a fit for that job.

Don’t spend all your time stressing over how your resume looks and how you’ll answer some predictable questions. Yes, you should be ready when you hear: “Tell me about a time in which you solved a problem … or led a team … or saved some money.”

Most good interviewers are going to ask “behavioral” questions like that to flesh out experiences that the words on your resume don’t reveal. Inexperienced applicants and job changers can almost always prepare real-world examples to answer those questions.

(Of course, you might run into a perfectly awful interviewer, too. Hint: If you’re asked what kind of tree or flower you’d be, just say, Something that blooms where it’s planted. Then look for another opportunity if the vibes are just too weird.)

The point is that some well-planned questions show you’re informed and interested, and they’ll help make you a more memorable applicant.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and twitter.com/kcstarstafford.

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