Avoid this mistake in a job interview

I haven’t been on the receiving side of a job interview for more than 10 years. Although I do feel like every customer presentation is a form of interview, in terms of a traditional interview, it’s been a while.

That being said, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people for the two companies I co-founded and I learned a lot from being on the hiring side.

Here is one suggestion to help you in your next job interview: Do not Google “great questions to ask at an interview”, write down 5 of these questions word for word, and then read them off during your interview. Trust me, it won’t come off as sincere.

Here’s what you should be doing instead.

Yes, you should ask questions but…

You’ve been told time and time again that asking questions about the company and role is a good thing, and it is – it signifies your interest in the role and curiosity about the company. BUT you should ask questions because you actually care about the answers and not for the sake of asking questions.  When you search, “questions to ask during a job interview”, the results are on quality websites such as Forbes and Inc. so you can’t be faulted for thinking they’re good questions, but are they the correct questions to ask in your specific interview? If you don’t actually care about the answers and just going through the motions, don’t bother.

Preparation is more than memorizing questions and facts and..

Properly preparing for an interview takes time and a well prepared candidate is very obvious to the person doing the interviewing. Here’s an example: the first question I ask candidates when doing an interview is “Do you know what we do at Ideal Candidate?” A mediocre candidate usually confidently repeats (word for word) some copy from our website. A great candidate will often admit that they believe they understand, follow up with some research they did into our market and ask a few clarification questions. They too read the website, but took a deep dive into our market and showed sincere curiosity about our business.

research dr evil

True interest is obvious

If you’re early in your career, you won’t necessarily know what the best questions to ask are. It’s not that I’m against using the internet to research which questions you might want to ask in an interview, it’s that they need to be something you are truly curious about. If you do use Google to help find questions to ask during your interview, pick a few and really understand how they apply to you, the employer and why you would care about the response you get.

If you’re interviewing for a role that you truly want, it’s important to do some market research about the company so that you’ll be knowledgeable about its value proposition, its competitors, etc. during the interview.  It’s amazing what you can learn doing just 30 minutes of research on a company. Look on their Facebook or LinkedIn page to learn about their team and culture. Review their Twitter account to understand what industry news and topics they care about. This small investment on your time will pay off big because you’ll make yourself much more valuable during the interview.

For more interview tips, read our post on what to wear to a sales interview.

Any great job interview tips I’ve missed? Share them in the comments or tweet me @ideal.

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Shaun Ricci

COO at Ideal
Shaun Ricci is a Canadian entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of Ideal. Shaun served as Co-Founder and COO of Field ID until it was acquired in December 2012. Shaun’s accomplishments include spots on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists as well as the 2012 Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Shaun is also an active writer, documenting his wins and losses while building his startup sales team.