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Commentary Detail

Interview Questions Can Help...And Hurt
Commentary by: Anna Navarro
Aired April 27, 2009

It’s common during hiring interviews for employers to ask candidates whether they have any questions. How you respond can impress employers - or turn them off.

Betty’s experience offers a good example.

At the end of an initial interview, the prospective employer told Betty they'd call her for a second interview. Then he asked if she had any questions.

She asked about the issues that most concerned her: salary, benefits, and travel requirements. The initial answers she got were vague, so she persisted in getting clarification.

Several weeks later, Betty was taken aback when she got a rejection letter, instead of a call to schedule a second interview.

As she analyzed what happened, she realized two things. First, the only thing that transpired between being told she’d be called back, and the close of the interview, was her insistent questioning about whether the job would meet her needs. And second, she’d totally forgotten to ask what the organization needed, what challenges it faced, what they were looking for.

Many factors could have played a role in the employer losing interest in Betty. But looking back her strong hunch was that focussing on her needs to the exclusion of the employers was a major reason she lost the job.

All employers want employees who care about how they can make a contribution. One great way to do this is by focussing on the needs of employers when you get asked whether you have any questions.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Anna Navarro

Anna Navarro


Anna Navarro is the founder of Work Transitions, a nationwide organization dedicated to helping individuals find satisfaction and fulfillment in their work.


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