If there's one thing I've learned in this line of work, it's that knowing how to ask questions is every bit as essential as knowing how to answer them. In any information-collection process, the information you collect is only going to be as good as the questions you ask to get it. The fact is, asking the right questions in the right way can have a dramatic impact on your life, both personally and professionally.
Let me set the context here with a shameless plug. Wearing my other hat as a partner in QVerity, a company that does training and consulting in the areas of detecting deception, personnel screening and critical interviewing, I've written a book with my colleagues who founded the company, former CIA officers who are masters in the art of asking the right questions. The book, "Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception," is being published by St. Martin's Press, and will hit the streets in July. The methodology we share in the book has proven to be remarkably effective in the intelligence, law enforcement and corporate communities, and the book makes it available to people in all fields of endeavor for use in their professional and personal lives.
One of the core takeaways from the book is that being able to tell if someone is being truthful with you is dependent on the questions you ask, and how you ask them. And whether or not you're able to obtain truthful information can have life-altering consequences, whether the issue at hand is the fidelity of a spouse, the character of a caregiver, the question of whether your child has experimented with drugs, the temperament of a prospective employee, or - and this can have an especially dramatic impact on your future - the suitability of a prospective employer.
With that context set, I want to shift the focus to another author who has also written on the theme of asking the right questions. Andrew Sobel, a management consultant, executive coach and co-author of "Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others," has some especially good advice for job hunters. Sobel recognizes that asking good questions in a job interview is just as important as answering them. It not only shows that you've done your homework, but it enables you to get a sense of whether the company would be a good fit. Here are the kinds of questions Sobel says you should be prepared to ask in any job interview:
My colleagues at QVerity have some great advice on what questions to ask (and how to ask them) in a job interview, too. I'll share that advice in a future post.