“Unasked” interview questions

A fascinating article by experienced HR professional Arnie Fertig came across my desk last week, and it approaches the interview process from a different perspective. Instead of giving you advice about how to answer typical questions, this article asks you to think about “5 Unasked Interview Questions You Must ‘Answer’ To Get Hired.” These are the questions that an interview/hiring manager has in mind, but won’t ask directly—and that you wouldn’t be able to answer directly even if you were asked!  I encourage you to read this article carefully if you’re planning on interviewing soon, but in the meantime, I’m providing a summary below. The “5 unasked interview questions” are listed here verbatim, but the interpretations are my paraphrases of Fertig’s thoughtful insights.

1. How well does this candidate really communicate? 

From the moment you walk in the door, you’re communicating. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Provide enough information to answer the question, but don’t ramble. Use appropriate language and take a second to organize your thoughts before responding to a question.

2. Is this candidate comfortable in his or her own skin?

This question has to do with confidence and poise and body language. Shake hands firmly, but not intensely, IF the interviewer reaches out to shake your hand. Look the interviewer in the eye when you’re listening, and when you’re speaking.

3. Is this candidate intellectually and emotionally engaged?

If you’ve done your homework in preparing for the interview, you should be able to help the interviewer see why you want this job (aside from your need to support yourself) and why you are a good fit.

4. Does this candidate have interesting questions?

I’ve talked about this before, and Tips 6, 13, 42 and Appendix C in my book can help you plan your questions.

5. Does this candidate care about me?

It’s important to demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the position, and you do that by showing that you understand what is involved and how you can contribute to the organization.