Michael Sterling

How to Co-Lead an Interview: Three Types of Questions You Must Ask!


Fun Fact: An interview is less about you and more about the questions you ask the interviewer!




Think about it. If your resume has done its job (see: Your Resume Has ONE Job: Do it Right!“), the interviewer has an excellent snapshot of your experience. The interview is your opportunity to showcase your soft skills and assess the firm’s culture by asking high-quality questions. The reality is, the most important factor in forging a good, long-term employer relationship, is your core-value compatibility with a firm.


Show your curiosity! The questions you ask indicate the scope of your curiosity. A curious mind is one that seeks to learn and improve. The caliber of your questions also demonstrates your skill in engaging others and reveals your ability to analyze and understand. People with strong soft skills often progress faster, farther and earn more!


Candidate questions are the lifeblood of a successful interview. They create dialogue and help clarify the company’ priorities and how you might play a part in achieving them.


Really great questions leave a positive impression. Think of the social situation of meeting a new acquaintance. When that person shows interest in you by asking good questions, when the conversation’s over, most of us think, wow, what a great person! They showed interest. Who doesn’t like that? Sure, that’s somewhat different from an interview, but the end experience is similar.


When asking questions about the job, split questions into three categories and slant questions to show your interest in the employer’s needs. Start broad. Fly at 10,000 feet with questions aimed at understanding what’s most important to the firm. Next, ask what’s most important to the person interviewing you. Finally, swoop down to crop-dusting level to seek how you might help solve their burning problems and achieve their driving goals


3 Critical Categories of Questions


  1. Company/Team
  • In my research, firm expansion seems to be important, tell me more about that.
  • What are the other key priorities for the company?
  1. Interviewer
  • What brought you to the firm?
  • What is your role in the firm’s goals?
  • What are your key challenges?
  1. Yourself
  • What aspect of my background would help you accomplish your objectives?
  • What would I need to learn to be successful in this role?
  • How well do you feel I would fit into this job?


When you co-lead the process, you position yourself as confident and engaged. Most importantly, you gain greater control in highlighting your strengths and greater insight on the firm and the job position. So listen carefully, the interviewer’s answers will tell you exactly where you need to focus.


As a career coach and recruiter, exclusively for public accounting professionals, I work on these issues daily. Want more interview and job search tips?  Check out the Career Wellness library on the SterlingFreeman website.


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