Interview Questions

Earlier today I had the opportunity to interview for a new position at NASA. A few weeks ago I ran across a list of suggested questions to ask the interviewers during an interview, and I reflected on that. A few months ago I interviewed for a different position, and although I was a finalist, I wasn't selected. I thought the earlier interview went OK, except for one item: when asked if I had any questions, I said, “No.”

Bad plan.

For today's interview, I was prepared. Here is the list of questions I asked the interviewers:

  1. What is a typical day like?
  2. If you had to “sell” this office today to someone who looks like a great fit, what would you tell him/her?
  3. How would you describe the office culture?
  4. What is the predominant management or leadership style here?
  5. What are the prospects for this temporary assignment leading to a permanent position? (Alternative: what are the prospects for advancement in this office?)
  6. How will you know I'm doing a good job or not?
  7. What helped the previous person to be successful here?
  8. If you were to narrow the field to two final candidates, both with equal experience and skills, how would you choose one over the other?

Many of these questions touched upon items that were brought up during the interview, directed at me. By asking these questions, I got to hear from the interviewers what their positions and thoughts were, which I found to be helpful. I'm wondering, though – will the interviewers remember my responses to their related questions, or will they remember their responses to my questions and use that as the basis for selection? (Maybe that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing!)

For you next interview, build a list of questions similar to the above. You can steal these, or search online for similar questions. Based on the favorable feedback I received during the interview (“excellent question!”), I'd say you can't go wrong.

Text © 2012 Joe Williams. All rights reserved.