Interviewing Tip: Can you ask too many questions in an interview?

Job_Interview_Image The process of interviewing can be intimidating. What you wear, how you carry yourself, and even your level of eye-contact can all have a major impact on the interaction.  It’s natural to be nervous and in fact, the more you think you want the job, the more nervous you might get.  One of the best ways to put your nerves at ease is to be prepared.  And, one important part of the interview to prepare for is the questions you will ask.

The process of interviewing is a two-way interaction, and it’s important to use this opportunity to figure out if this job or company is a fit for you as much as it’s vital for the interviewer to find out if you are the right candidate for the job.  But while you try to figure out whether or not you like this opportunity, can you ask too many questions? The immediate answer isn’t really an easy one. Depending on the relevance and timeliness of your questions it can be both yes and no. Here are a few tips on how to pose the right questions and weed out the less important ones.

Timeliness

First and foremost, avoid asking questions to which the answers are likely to come out during the interview. Asking about specifics of the job before giving the interviewer a chance to tell you about them could convey either a lack of interest in what the interviewer has to say or a lack of respect. Both are huge minuses. Initially, try and allow the interviewer to set the pace.  During the process make sure your questions are more qualifying questions used to ensure you understand what you’re being asked or that you have enough information to provide the interviewer the best answers you can.  If by the end, something is still fuzzy, then ask some additional concise questions to get the answers you need.

Do Not Ask Things You Should Already Know

If you walk into an interview and ask what it is the company does, you’ve just made a huge mistake. Asking this question means you skimped on your homework, and you’ve completely shown you either didn’t care enough to find out on your own, or you lack the ability to prepare. If you’re looking over your list of questions to ask and this one is on there, cross it out. Intelligently clarifying something is one thing.  Just don’t get caught asking questions about the routine functions of the workplace.

Avoid Nitpicking

A mile long list of “what if” can be your very own brand of self-destruction in an interview.  Do not needle the interviewer about a million scenarios that involve you being unjustly fired in the future, or whether or not you can use vacation days separate of sick days. These will be addressed over time if you get the job, and are exceptionally annoying during the interviewing process.

In short, it’s not to say asking questions is a bad thing. It is quite the opposite. Questions show that you are sincerely interested and that you are capable of finding the information that you need. Have a set of simple, smart questions going in, and follow the cues of the person interviewing you.