Q&A: Does asking questions make one look incompetent?

Not if you ask the right questions at the right time.

Questions like "How would you define success in this position after six months?" may hit a hot button that will give you more information which you can use to tailor your answers. Common questions include

  • What are your top priorities for the team?
  • What qualities are needed to be successful in this position? Are there any issues that you would like this person to work on?
  • Who are the key people the job holder will interact with?
  • Is there anything else you need to know from me to have a complete picture of my qualifications?
  • What are your pet peeves?

Questions like "What are your 90-day expectations for the person who fills the job?" minimize the possibility of being overqualified for the position. For instance, in an effort to impress the interviewers, it's not uncommon for an applicant to talk too much about unrelated qualifications, raising a red flag that you may become bored soon, therefore not a good fit. aka. the foot-in-mouth problem. Common questions include

  • How do you see this position evolving in the future?
  • How would you describe your management style?

Questions like "When do you need someone to start in this position?" show the interviewer your interest and enthusiasm in the job. These questions are best asked near the end of the interview if you think the interview went well. It also help eliminates the second-guesses many tend to have after leaving the building. Common questions include

  • How many more candidates do you expect to interview?
  • What's the next step in the process?
  • How soon do you expect to make a hiring decision?

Questions like "Is it okay if I take a week off before I start?" tend to turn interviewers off in the first interview since it gives the impression that you are sure the job is yours and it's not a decision for the interviewer to make.

Last but not least, use questions if you get stuck on a question, stall for time by asking them to clarify.

Category: C++ Quant > Land the Job You Want > Interview

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