Anyone who's had to look for a job knows that there is an entire world of "professional" advice for job-seekers. In my experience, very little of that advice has turned out to be useful or even prudent. This is a question about one commonly encountered piece of that advice.
At the end of most interviews there is a period for the applicant to ask questions. Advice columns on Monster, in the New York Times, and elsewhere usually recommend using this time to continue trying to impress the interviewer with one's drive and desire to succeed. They suggest questions like the following:
- "How can I improve on my predecessor's performance?"
- "What qualities does a successful person have in your organization?"
- "What question do you wish I had asked that I haven't already asked?"
You too can find lots more by searching for "questions for interviewers."
On one hand, these questions sound like something one might actually ask. On the other hand, as someone who's interviewed candidates, I find this kind of question somewhat ridiculous and off-putting. There's a boot-licking quality about them. They're difficult to answer concretely. They seem to aim to impress the interviewer, rather than help the candidate learn more about the company and the position.
On yet another hand, there are, I suspect, employers who buy heavily into the pop psychology of the job search who might look favorably on the applicant who asks artificial questions like these.
The questions for you:
- If you interview job candidates, how do you feel about getting a self-conscious question like this? Do you get them often? What types of jobs do you interview candidates for, and do you think this affects the type of questions you get?
- If you're a past or current job-seeker, would you consider asking a question like this during an interview? Do you ask them already? How have your interviewers responded: pleased? puzzled? amused? What types of jobs do you interview for?
Much obliged to learn from your experience.