Interviewing Tip #3 – Who Should Be Talking?

It’s very common for the interviewer to have a standard set of questions they want to cover first.  If so, then let them proceed.  But, at the same time, you should find the most appropriate way to get your interviewer talking –especially if they are the hiring manager (or the hiring manager’s boss).  The more you can get them talking, the more you will learn about the company and the job.  You will get invaluable insights into whether this is actually the company you want to work for.  And if you are fortunate enough to get more than one job offer, you will want these insights to assist with your decision-making.  One good way to get the interviewer talking is to ask them a suitable related question immediately after answering one of their questions.  But be careful about this if you detect they are the type of interviewer that wants to get through their question list first.

Conversely, you’ll come across interviewers that just want to talk about themselves and their company.  That’s great for getting additional insights to add to your research but terrible for when the recruiter or hiring manager asks what they thought about you.  You’ll need to cleverly figure out ways to jump in with comments that relate to what they are talking about but related to you and your accomplishments.  The ideal scenario is when you find yourself in a balanced interview with dialog and questions in both directions.

Finally, be ready with a list of questions that will give you valuable information on the role, company, industry and competition.  It’s OK to have these typed/written and stored in your interview binder.  You don’t have to memorize them.  But while asking these questions, inject some commentary that demonstrates that you’ve done your research.  You’d be amazed at how many candidates don’t do research, or if they do they don’t incorporate it into their interview.  This will really help you stand out.  And feel free to take notes.  It shows you’re taking this seriously.

See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.

Author: Gordon Daugherty

Over the past 15 years Gordon has seen nearly 1,000 startup pitches, advised more than 200 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. Throughout his 28 year career in high tech, serving twice as President and three times as CMO, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200M acquisition exit under his belt. Now his emphasis is purely focused on helping startups and early stage tech companies. Through his Shockwave Innovations advisory practice and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor.

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