In this episode, our trip down memory lane stops at my first professional interview and when I learned to ask questions.  It is thought by many that those that know never ask.  However, that is far from the truth.  There are always details to be learned.  Likewise, good questions can impress others in an interview or other assessment situation.  Smart people still ask questions; they ask insightful ones.

You Provide Insight When You Ask Questions

This story is about an interview, and that is the number one situation in our lives where we want to provide a lot of information in a short period.  A good interview goes deep quickly and gives the audience a chance to understand us to some degree, not simply meet us.  Therefore,  everything we say or do not say will be used to evaluate some facet of our personality, skills, and drive.  While that can be stressful, it should also help us realize that we need to be focused and intentional.  Research is helpful before we go into an interview and can alleviate some of our worries.  On the other hand, we cannot use what we learn to short circuit the interview process.  Instead, we need to use that to go deeper.

Learn What To Ask

All of this may seem confusing and even counterintuitive.  Thus, it helps to simplify the recommendation.  The goal of an interview is to get both parties to understand each other better in a short time.  Research about the others and related organizations can help you get past surface “get to know you” items.  Do not use that to shorten the interview.  Instead, use that time to ask more probing or leading questions.  A simple example is if you know the interviewer will be your manager, you can skip talking about that arrangement and instead ask about their management style.  What you know can save time on introductions.  Then you get to talk about meatier topics and discussions that will help both sides of the table.

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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