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YES! There Really ARE Dumb Questions




Yes, There Really ARE Dumb Questions

By, Mark Efinger


Are you ready for a strong interview finish?


No matter how many times your elementary school teacher said, “There are no dumb questions,” she was not talking about that moment towards the end of every interview when the interviewer says, “Well, before we wrap this up, do you have any questions for us?” Don’t blow it here by either deferring, “No, you have answered all my questions, already.”, nor by asking a dumb question, and there are many.


Dumb questions come in two varieties:


1) Those demonstrating that you have not done your homework 2) Those that make it clear you are only interested in how you will benefit

Interviewers are taught to ask you for your questions. Generally this will happen towards the end. If your personal story and responses to the questions have successfully impressed the interviewer, you will certainly not want to destroy this good impression by deferring in this moment. To say, “I have no questions.” Is simply dumb. This response would make the interviewer believe that you are dull and boring, or that you do not learn through interaction, or that you have been stretching things and can’t wait to get away before you are discovered.


You should therefore have several questions that you have prepared before the interview.


I suggest you write these down and pull out your notes when asked, both to ensure you will not forget in the heat of the moment, and also to demonstrate that you have done your homework.

Before any question ends up on your 3x5 card, see if you can find the answer on their website. If you can, pick another question, or a more detailed version for which you cannot find the answer.

Next, stay away from questions that have to do with salary or benefits or work schedules. When the position is offered, you can clear up anything not evident at this point.


Try to find questions that demonstrate you expect to succeed and want to know about the pathways for that success. “If I do well in this position, what is a likely long term career path?” This question implies you intend to succeed and be a loyal long-term employee. Questions that come from the research you have done about the institution and its place in the market or current trends are appropriate.


Finally do not hesitate to ask a closing question. Depending on the level of your success in the beginning of the interview, you should ask for a positive commitment from the interviewer about the next step? “Do you think this has been a positive discussion?” “Have you learned all you need about me to make a positive recommendation?” “When can I expect to hear from you about next steps?” Ask the most positive commitment question you have earned.


For more articles on the interview visit www.iscacademy.org. Mark Efinger, the Founder and President of The Interview Skill Coaching Academy, has published articles focused on Interview Skills. “Yes, There Really Are Dumb Questions” is only one of the major tasks necessary to appropriately prepare for any interview.


Mark has twenty-five years of experience training interview candidates to put their best foot forward when it counts. From high school admissions interviews at selective schools to interviewing for jobs, Mark has trained those that are seeking to rise above the normal interview process. Contact us if you are looking to beat the competition.

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