10.01.2005

TIP: It's just a simple question

In the interview, most people ask questions to keep the conversation flowing, or simply for feedback. e.g. "Is that the kind of example you were looking for?," or "I'm not sure what kind of information you'd like me to provide here. Can you be more specific?" But these seemingly innocent questions can do much more for you.

  • Playing Sherlock Holmes
    • Divergent/Open-ended questions: what, when, where, who, how, and why? Opens up the conversation and best for fishing for information - explore every aspect of the situation as you try to indentify the challenges the interviews are facing.
    • Convergent/Close-ended questions: are, will, is, have, did, aren't, didn't, won't? Gradually brings conversation to a single point of decision. ie. Does this make sense to you?
  • Triggering commitment with the right verb.
    • Feel: how do you feel about the situation? Very easy to answer with a complete emotional response.
    • Think: Do you think this would be better than what you currently have? People are a bit more hesitant to answer a think question, but they are much firmer in defending their position afterwords.
    • In your opinion: In your opinion, is this the best solution? You are fishing for a definite stand.
  • Disguising your pitch: Ask well-worded questions that immediately grabs the attention (startle or shock)and arouses the interest of even the most skeptical coworker . e.g. "What is your guess as to the amount of money you're losing every year for failing to execute trades in time? Is it $1 million, $3 million, or $5 million?". One of the best known questions from the insurance industry is "May I ask you one question? Will you widow be able to dress as well as your wife?"

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

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