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Why High-Value Questions are Critical in a Job Interview

You have landed an interview with a talent acquisition specialist. Now, it’s time to show them you are right for the job.
If you are on the phone with me, you are qualified. The next step is gaining my confidence in you.
shutterstock_121961872As a talent acquisition manager, I have a problem, and I need a problem solver. A really good rule of thumb when interviewing in any industry is, how can you relate to my problem? Period. Questions that are high in value are the way to separate yourself from the competition.
High-value questions allow you to best demonstrate how you can help a company. For example:

  • What are some of the challenges you are facing with (fill in the blank)?
  • What are some of the risks or obstacles that the position might be confronted with?

Ask me these kinds of questions, and you will get me talking about the goals, visions and challenges that will come with the position. The questions are the bait, and my answers are your hook to directly relate your experience to the job description.
This is your chance to respond with something like: “That’s interesting. At my prior job we had a similar challenge, and this is how I handled it.” This is your opportunity to take ownership.
Ask open-ended, problem-solving questions. Then play therapist. Listen to the interviewer’s needs and relate to them. Tweet this!
Think of it in terms of hiring a plumber. If I have a leak in my house, I want to hire someone who can get to the root of my problem and fix it. I’m looking for someone who asks trouble-shooting questions that relate to my issue. This demonstrates to me that they are knowledgeable and will likely be best able to help. I want someone I can relate to and feel comfortable having in my home. The same goes for the company I’m representing.
Ninety percent of the questions I receive are medium value, such as, “Why is this role open?” That’s a good question, but you will go much further with me if you phrase it this way instead: “What are the challenges that this position might be facing?”
Medium-value questions can always be transformed into high value:

  • Medium value: What systems are you currently working with?
  • High value: What challenges do you have with your current system?

Then, there are the low-value questions, the ones that make interviewers cringe:

  • What is the dress code?
  • What are the working hours?
  • What’s the paid time off like?

“What’s-in-it-for-me” questions do nothing to demonstrate your interest in the job.
High-value questions best articulate that you care about the experience and what you can do for the company. The more poignant your questions, the more you will separate yourself from the other candidates.
Stay tuned for more job interview tips and insights from Scott in the Career Growth section of our Life at Perficient blog.

Scott_Albert_150Perficient Talent Acquisition Specialist Scott Albert has 15 years of experience in career development, corporate recruiting and public speaking. He frequently contributes career advice to the Life at Perficient blog. Past articles have included Why High-Value Questions are Critical in a Job Interview and Why Interviewing is Like Playing a Game of Baseball.
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn here. Follow him on Twitter at
@coachyourcareer. For more career advice from Scott, visit his Coach Your Career website.

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Scott Albert

Perficient Talent Acquisition Specialist Scott Albert has more than 15 years of experience in career development, corporate recruiting and public speaking.

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