The First Questions all Candidates and Employers Should Ask in Job Interviews

When the time comes, and candidates are asked in a job interview if they have any questions, this is when they can take control of the interview. And they want it to be a positive experience. There is one great question every candidate should lead off with which will guarantee positivity. By definition, it has to result in the interviewer(s) praising them. They will have no choice. So what is this question?

Why did you invite me in for an interview?

Of course, you can rephrase it – What about my resume appealed to you? – but the result will be the same. They will let you know what they felt were your strengths and now you know what to reinforce and, more importantly, what to emphasize. They probably missed something else that is great about you. So let them know what it is.

And then there is the question every interviewer should ask. Regardless of the job for which a candidate is applying, every employee of every company has tasks to perform. For every task employees must prepare. Employers need to know that candidates know how to prepare well for whatever situations they will face. Of course, an employer can usually tell how well a candidate prepares for meetings by the quality of their answers, and more importantly, their questions during the interview. But sometimes nervousness can interfere with an otherwise top-notch candidate’s performance. So there is one question which is likely to put the candidate at ease and provide the interviewer(s) with the information they need. So what is the question – the FIRST question – interviewers should ask?

What did you do to… – or, if you prefer – How did you…. prepare for this interview?

Either way, you will get the information you need to make an informed decision.


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website,, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.