As a career coach, I've had the pleasure of helping many people get ready for job interviews. It's a thrilling journey that often has its own set of problems. One question that often comes up is how to ask questions in interviews without making the hiring manager defensive. Let's look at a candidate's story from a coaching session to shed light on this common problem.
Picture Sarah*, a talented candidate with an impressive resume and years of experience. However, she noticed a recurring pattern during her previous interviews. When she asked in-depth questions about how the company worked or what problems it faced, the interviewers sounded defensive. This reaction left her feeling disheartened and uncertain about how to proceed.
Sarah's experience brings to light a common issue that job seekers face: how to confidently ask questions without making interviewers feel defensive. Traditional job search methods often focus on rehearsing answers to anticipated questions, but they often neglect the importance of genuine curiosity and active engagement.
Let's be honest: conventional interview preparation can feel a bit robotic at times. They often prioritize providing the "right" answers rather than encouraging candidates to explore their own inquiries. This approach fails to address the vital aspects of curiosity, active listening, and the genuine need for clarification. As a result, job seekers may feel ill-prepared to navigate the interview process effectively, missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with interviewers on a deeper level.
So what can you do?
Embrace the Discovery Process:Think of it as your compass on this exciting journey. The Discovery Process, with its focus on self-awareness, personal branding, and networking, empowers you to articulate your career goals and stand out in the ever-competitive job market.
Craft Thoughtful Questions: Prepare a list of well-thought-out questions that not only show your interest in the company and the role but also spark meaningful conversations. Ditch the yes-or-no questions and opt for open-ended inquiries that invite dialogue, allowing the interviewer to share their insights and expertise.
Embrace Active Listening and responding. Remember, an interview is a two-way street. Engage in active listening, absorbing the interviewer's responses, and responding thoughtfully. Build upon their answers with follow-up questions that demonstrate your genuine curiosity and willingness to delve deeper into the conversation.
Practice Empathy: Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes, my friend. Approach your questions with a mindset of empathy and understanding. Frame your inquiries in a way that shows you genuinely care about their perspective, challenges, and aspirations for the organization.
Showcase Your Research: Before the interview, dive headfirst into research about the company, its recent achievements, challenges, and industry trends. Armed with this knowledge, weave it into your questions, showcasing your proactive nature and genuine interest in contributing to the organization's success.
By embracing these tools and strategies, you can defuse defensiveness and build rapport with interviewers. Showcasing your curiosity, engagement, and critical thinking abilities will set you apart from the pack.
You're now equipped to master the art of asking questions in interviews! By utilizing the Discovery Process and implementing the tools and strategies we've discussed, you'll navigate interviews with confidence, leaving defensiveness in the dust. Remember, asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your genuine interest, your curiosity, and your ability to make a meaningful impact in any organization.
Strike a balance by asking well-thought-out questions.
Engage in active listening and thoughtful responses.
Approach questions with empathy and showcase your research.
Our platform offers job search coaching, access to a supportive community, and a range of resources to help you identify & write your unique value proposition. With Peppercorn.ai Discovery, you'll have everything you need to stand out in a competitive job market and take your career to the next level.
Our community has already helped hundreds of people improve their job search & feel confident about their career paths. Many have landed top positions at companies like Meta, Adobe, & AWS as CPO, Head of Talent Acquisition, Director of Engineering, & UX Manager. We're proud of the community we've built & the success stories that have come from it. Check out some of our testimonials.
Hear from one of our Discovery Participants: "Peppercorn Discovery helped me not only identify my values but showed me how to communicate them in my resume, in my networking messages, and in my LinkedIn profile. I now have materials that represent me authentically in every situation, and applying for jobs is so much easier. This program has set the tone for the rest of my career. I highly recommend going through the process.” Jaselin | Marketing Consultant