As a marketing executive recruiter, I have been stunned by the number of mind readers that are out there. Who are these mind readers? They are otherwise very talented candidates who simply pass on the opportunity to ask questions during an interview.
I am not talking about the solicited questions that always seem to come at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks if the candidate has any questions for them. I am talking about normal questions that should be asked throughout the interview. Two weeks ago, I posted about Clarifying Questions. Let’s talk about Validating Questions this week.
Validating Questions are questions to confirm that the interviewer understood you after a response. After over a decade as an executive recruiter, I have learned that 95% of interviewers will never tell you if they didn’t understand your response to their questions. They will simply move on to the next question. However, if you occasionally ask a validating question, particularly when it is a complex answer, most interviewers will tell you and if needed ask for further clarification.
Here are a few examples of validating questions:
- Did that answer your question?
- Does that make sense?
- Is there anymore that you would like to know about the example I provided?
There is another benefit to asking validating questions. In our largely virtual world where most initial interviews are via phone or Zoom, you cannot pick up on the physical cues that tell you how the interviewer is reacting to your responses. As an executive recruiter who does much of his work via phone, I have always said that I wouldn’t know if the person on the other end is nodding their head in agreement or shaking it in disgust if I didn’t ask validating questions.
Don’t be a mind reader. Ask validating questions!