Ignore The Questions

from Seth’s Blog

It doesn’t matter what the questions are, really. They’re a prompt.

When you’re in a job interview, a podcast interview, a sales call, a meeting… if we take the approach that this is a test and there’s a right answer, we’re not actually engaging and moving things forward.

Instead, consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for, where are you hoping to go? Focus on status roles, the creation and resolution of tension, and most of all, changing minds.

If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?

More here.

Posted in Ideas and tagged , .


  1. Although a short article, it has a powerful message being relayed. Basically, it is telling readers that the questions in an interview, meeting, etc. are all just a prompt. This is very true since interviewers ask the people that they are interviewing basically the same questions, almost like they are reading a script. The same thing goes for meetings or sales calls, although the topics of discussion are different, similar questions need to be brought up to get a certain outcome. A lot of people think that there is only one correct answer for these questions, and that is where they fall short. I believe that these questions are testing the emotional intelligence of a person rather than accuracy of an answer. An interviewer would rather hear a unique answer rather than hear the same cliché answer every single time. The point is to stand out and engage in conversation rather than melt into the crowd of people that said the same “right” answer. Like it says in the Seth’s Blog article, “if we take the approach that this is a test and there’s a right answer, we’re not actually engaging and moving things forward”. I completely agree, how can you move a conversation forward if you sound like a broken record? I feel like this applies to our class as well, since many questions are asked. Although there are right answers, we as students need to be able to speak into more detail than simply regurgitating a definition. Doing so makes for a more interesting class discussion, and the same goes for an interview or meeting.
    The author then suggests to, “consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for, where are you hoping to go… if you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?”. Your focus during an interview or meeting should be “how do I change this person’s mind to like me and hire me/to agree with me on this business deal?” Like I said before, repeating the same types of answers that most people would respond will not benefit you in any way, nor make you stand out. People need to be less focused on the “right” answers but rather showing their own insight and uniqueness. You have to work to change minds like he states, which will only be done by ignoring the questions. Although I already knew that showing more of my own personality rather than taking other people’s ideas would benefit me more, this article justified it. I will take the message from this article and use it in my own life.

  2. I could not agree more with what this blog has to say about answering questions on a “job interview, a podcast interview, a sales call, a meeting…”. The questions that are asked during these things are always most likely the same from person to person. The people that hold an interview do not want to hear the same answer being said by everyone over and over again. The interviewer wants to be able to feel like they are “engaging and moving things forward”. If this does not happen then the person being interviewed will not stand out from everyone else. I completely agree with all of this because I have personally done interviews before. I am a supervisor at Sesame Place, a kid’s amusement park, so whenever we are looking to promote people I will help out with the interviews. There are 7 questions that get asked and they are exactly word for word the same for everybody that gets an interview. There is no “correct answer” to these questions but usually people will always answer them around the same and there is no uniqueness to it. When I do the interviews I look for people that not only answer the question but also add their own twist to it. I want to see enthusiasm, engagement, and most importantly not see people treating the interview like they have to be there. I want to feel like I am actually holding a conversation with the person and maybe even get some questions back from them to keep things moving forward. Interviews are hard but when you treat them more like a conversation and not a test then everything becomes easier.
    Another aspect of the blog that I wanted to talk about was how it was ended, “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?”. I think that this was a great way to end the post because if one’s goal is to not change minds then why are they even doing what they are doing. Your goal should be to change the way people think about you whenever you are doing something. Never go into a workout, school, job interview, etc. without having the goal of changing people’s minds. If you are able to leave the job interview having changed the interviewer’s mind then you have just done a successful interview. In order to stand out during the interview one should not just make the interview feel like a conversation but also make the interviewer feel like they actually learned something new about you. The interviewer can always read your resume whenever they want, so give new ideas and thoughts that do not go on a resume to really make yourself stand out. By the time the interview is over if the interviewer did not feel like they learned something new about you or that you changed their minds then you will just be considered another person in a pool of millions of people that want that job.

  3. In Ignore the questions from Seth’s Blog he speaks about how when people are posed with questions they only tend to answer the question for its face value. This post, though extremely short, I believe had a very powerful message behind it. The message that when posed with a question do not just answer what is being asked but give a more meaningful answer to it. Though I have never been in an interview I feel as though many people just answer the question instead of using this opportunity to show more of themselves. Along with this I feel like the questions asked by the employers do not actually allow for them to get to know the employee. For the employer to actually get to know the employee the employee would have to give a more natural response to the question. Most the time the answers are rehearsed and have been given so much thought to such a short answer. I agree with Seth when he says that “if we take the approach that this is a test” we will not get to engage with the person. I believe to make the interview process better there needs to be more of a conversation that happens. Instead of asking, the questions of “Why did you choose this job” and “What’s your best quality” have a conversation about their daily life. In doing this, though the things said may not always be the truth, you can get a better idea of the person. Also, questions such as “if you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?” This would show you what is important to them and their feeling on certain things. In doing this you are getting away from the common questions asked by all other employers and getting to see a different side of the employee. When Seth says, “if you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again” I took it as there are so many meaningless conversations and comments that happen throughout the world around us. However, at the same time people do not realize how words can affect a person. I do disagree with the title of Ignore the question because some people would actually love to get asked the question “how is your day” because to some that may make their day.

    • Jaden, I agree with your point that employees or anyone in this world should not ask the typical questions. It should be that employers should ask questions that allow them to get in depth view of the interviewed person or employee. Seth’s blog about how employers and people in general should ask each other meaningful questions is a very powerful message that can shift a person’s thinking of how would should interact with others. I agree with Jaden strong point that interview questions have multiple common questions that does not give any in sight of who the interviewed person is. There should be questions asked about the type of person he or she is, what the person’s stance on a subject, or their life mission. These are the type of questions that I would like to see employees use more in the interview process. I also have had interview and job experience, I have been asked and answered many typical employer questions. In my opinion, I do not think it is a stategic plan for employer to understand the employees through these trivial questions. These boring, common questions are tailored for business, it is way to see if these employees or the interviewed person can be efficient and can integrate into the employers business perfectly. More than less, these employers want to see how the person in the interview or employee can bring in the most revenue to the company. It would be very different and efficient to see employers and my future job interviews to have in depth questions that inquire to who I am and what I am here to do. Also reading Jaden’s post, one quote that she wrote stuck a cord with me which was, “However, at the same time people do not realize how words can affect a person.” This is a very solid point that she states that I agree and fully support. Words do have the ability to lift a person’s spirit or distinguish it. People from John F. Kennedy to Muhammad Ali have used words to inspire many people to healing people. To be able to use words is a powerful, deadly weapon that can be used to help others, inspire and show care or to use it to hurting someone’s feelings or humiliate them. There is a wonderful quote by Yehuda Berg that follows Jaden’s statement, “Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”

  4. Seth’s Blog, “Ignore the Questions” is short and to the point. He clearly states and drives at the message of going above and beyond the status quo and communicate with conviction. With this generation specifically, many interviewers stress the lack of communication skills young adults have coming out of their education whether that means those individuals who attended university or not. As stated in the article, “It doesn’t matter what the questions are, really” (Seth’s Blog). During a job interview, sales call, or other similar types of meetings, it is crucial to understand the reasoning behind the questions that the interviewers are asking. It is not so that they can hear the same general answers that a good amount of the applicants will say but rather find those they have a certain spark.
    From the interviews that I have participated in, I have seen the basic and generic questions that an interviewer will ask such as “why are you applying for this job?” or “tell me a little bit about yourself.” These questions, as Seth says, are so that the applicant can engage in a conversation with the employer so that instead of trying to answer the question correctly, the applicant can brand themselves. Branding is an important term to understand and is something that I have learned to understand more. During my freshman year at Seton Hall University, my University Life professor stressed the significance of being able to create an identity for yourself. Learning how to talk about oneself that does not come across as gloating but rather modest and energetic for the position one is achieving to receive is an important skill to obtain. Regurgitating responses that interviewers know most people will say does not further one’s ability to “change minds.” Although financial stability is a key reason for one to look for a job, hopefully, the person will be looking for something he/she loves so that he/she could create new ideas that will advance the company. For example, this past summer I went on an interview for an internship and thinking back to that time, I can see the points Seth’s Blog was trying to make. My boss was clearly trying to engage a thoughtful conversation with me that would allow me to show her my capabilities. It would also allow her to determine whether I was capable of expanding my boundaries so that I can fit in better with the environment in the office.
    Companies do not want to hire someone that does not go outside the box or attempt at expanding his or her horizons. This article was very informative and made me think in a new perspective for the next time I am preparing for an interview. Instead of looking at it as if I am going to pass or fail, it will be more centered at the idea of how can I bring something new to the table that no other person can. This is a very powerful piece and I really enjoyed the message that was conveyed.

  5. This is the second post I have read from Seth’s Blog, and I really enjoy the author’s sharp, succinct language. This post is the length of a short poem at just 12 lines, but it contains some interesting advice.

    I have interviewed more times than I care to count (this is not a brag, the process is brutal). I find especially in phone screens, it is easy to envision the interviewer recording our answers diligently. It is as if the interviewer is asking 17 x 17, and we are to reply 289, which the interviewer then records. One digit off, and we don’t get the role. That is the thought process. This is what the blog is referring to in terms of constantly searching for the “right” answer.

    I have found that the structure is way more fluid though. The notes actually being taken are usually very different. They relate to how we answer the question or what our answer reveals about our thought process. The interviewer is as interested that we understand how the three financial statements as they are about who we are as a person. The interviewer needs to know: before we hire this person, can I sit next to them for 8-12 hours a day? In this way agree with the blog. Save certain technical questions from finance interviews, we usually should not be searching for the “right” answer when replying.

    We can theorize about our interview by seeking to understand why or how a question is asked, as the post also mentions. The blog points out that there is constantly tension created and erased and power dynamics at play during interviews. True.

    However, it is my view that we can never know for sure. This dilemma is one of the most frustrating while interviewing and stands in disagreement with the author’s argument. The author implies in the second half of his piece, optimistically if I might add, that we can correctly determine the intents of our interviewer or the exact dynamics at play…. And while we may be able to formulate a convincing theory on why a question was asked for instance, I have found that it is impossible to be 100% positive about such a theory. We may sense tension in the room when there is none.

    Maybe it is best not to theorize at all, prepare the best we can and just tell our story.

  6. Seth does a great job by starting the article saying, “It doesn’t matter what the questions are really. They’re a prompt.” During job interviews, people may think that he or she must answer every question the correct way, like a test or quiz as Seth states later in the article. This is exactly what should not be done. Not just job interviews but in general, how are you going to differentiate yourself from everyone else who are being asked the same thing. Instead of answering questions at the bare minimum, take the questions farther then they can go. My father, who is an auditor at the Barnes Group in CT, interviews numerous people weekly looking for those who want to be apart of the company. He tells me how he interviews so many accountants who have a spotless resume and half of them have the personality as a wall. Not only is this not going to help with job interviews, but in real life scenarios as well. Go further and beyond what you are being asked, because those other people being interviewed are getting asked the same exact thing. So, what makes you different than the 10 other people being interviewed? Do the questions that are being asked really matter? They do, but if one does not go further than what is being asked, then how are you going to stand out? Seth also states to use the question being asked and use it “as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for.” Comparing this to the Business Law class, Professor Shannon uses this approach to help his students. When he makes a student stand up and answer the question, he does not stop you there. He keeps going and asks the student more questions. Yes, he is doing this to see if the student read the material but wants them to further their knowledge and think. The professor is not doing this for his enjoyment, but what is the point of doing the minimum from what is being asked? How is that going to help you? Lastly, Seth’s last line is important stating, “if you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” Ignore the questions and go beyond them since there is never a right answer. Relating this to business law again, when the class is discussing a case and the whole class agrees on one side, take on the other side. Make an argument and try and change people’s minds by making them think harder then they had before. If you are not changing people’s minds, then you are doing something wrong. For those who always resort to the minimum of an answer, be different than everyone else and strive for excellence.

  7. This blog references how many people, when in an interview, or when answering a question, focus too much on the exact message of the question or prompt, rather than looking at the overall message of what the question might mean to answer it. When answering a question, you want to go above and beyond to share your opinions and give your ideas, and to convey your own message on whatever the subject is, rather than answering it the way you think it is “supposed” to be answered, or by giving the so called “right answer”. By thinking and answering in a deeper way, one is able to further themselves, and helping to share their ideas with others.

  8. Even though this article was shorter than most articles I have read, it conveyed a stronger lesson than most I have read. I never stopped to think that a random question at an interview was meant for getting to know you better through constructive analyzing. Thinking it thoroughly, it makes sense why an interviewer would ask a question like “what passions you in life?” The reason behind this question is not just so that the interviewer finds out that your favorite team in the New York Jets, no, it is for the sole reason of finding out how you are as a person indirectly. For example, if one answers the question about passion with intense emotion and the interviewer can feel this emotion resonate in the speaker, then the interviewer learns from that question that the speaker can be assigned an important sales pitch, because he/she will put emotion behind the presentation and make the buyer see that the company is a great choice for an investment. The author also impacts me when he mentions that “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” For me, this last phrase allowed me to click reality with expectations, in the sense that it shows how even if you think or have a gut feeling that some questions or acts in an interview are done just to waste time or fill in questions needed to be asked, they in reality are not; every question is an opportunity to drive the conversation into deeper waters. This last phrase from the author makes me feel as if the dumber and more irrelevant the question may seem, the more important it is to the interviewer. Now I can start to formulate my interview answers in a broader sense and be able to answer the real questions at hand, which are who am I, what makes me different than the rest, what passions me, and am I going to actually bring to the company what I promise or am I going to be another fluke that the company has to figure out a way on how to fire once hired. I am truly grateful for the enlightenment of this article and I actually forwarded it to my friends back in my home town to share the message.

  9. Ignore The Questions, although extremely short, is very honest and to the point. The author explains that when asked a question in an interview, do not analyze your answer as either correct or incorrect, think of it as a prompt to make yourself stand out and seem more interesting. “It doesn’t matter what the questions are, really. They’re a prompt.” Employers often ask the same set of questions to their interviewees, almost as if they are on a record player. But, by interpreting these questions as a way to tell a story you will grab interest and make the conversation more relaxed. Thinking of speaking in job interview, a podcast interview, a sales call, or a meeting can be nerve racking, but if you just think of each opportunity as a way for your employers to get to know you and understand why you are the perfect candidate for or reliable employees to them, you could release tension in yourself as well as in the room. We should “consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for…” Many people believe that when asked questions in a setting such as the ones stated, there has to be a “right answer” and will therefore stress about saying the “right thing”. In reality, the test is actually your emotional intelligence. The interview, meeting, podcast ect. is testing your ability to engage in conversation and proceed through that discussion smoothly. “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” As a result of speaking fluidly and portraying yourself as interesting as well as intelligent you should ultimately positively change the minds of anyone you speak to. If we continue to stick to the script of what we people want us to say, nothing will ever change and everything and everyone would stay stagnant. But if we challenge ourselves and others to exciting and intuitive communication we can change perspectives and offer diverse viewpoints on different topic matters. This article is not only pertaining to meetings and interviews, it also applies to the way we live our daily lives. If our goal everyday isn’t to positively change and expand the minds of others we are doing a disservice to ourselves and the world.

  10. In the article, “Ignore the Questions,” on Seth’s blog, the author clearly and concisely iterates his point, that questions have no clear answer, and that they are a stepping stone to one’s thoughts and opinions. One should not stick to the book with their responses, and they should not go into an interview with “the approach that this is a test and there’s a right answer” (Seth 2). Instead, when going into an interview, one needs to believe that questions have no one right answer, and it is the job of an individual to put their own viewpoints into an answer. This article relates to my life, as I have been on many job interviews. In all of these aforementioned interviews, I have been asked a seemingly preset list of questions. The questions range from delving into prior job experience, to inquiring about any problems I have uniquely solved in the past. In the moment, admittedly, I have answered these questions without any real creativity. I gave answers that were truthful, and that would successfully help me to acquire a job. When reading this article, I was inspired to look back on these prior situations. Looking back, I realized that by following a format to my answers may not have allowed me to put my best foot forward. If I had utilized the mindset conveyed by the article, I may have been seen as a different person by my interviewers. The author states, “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” (Seth 4). Society sets standards that people are supposed to follow. Before an interview, we must prepare a professional outfit, and practice our answers to interview questions over and over again, until we have it perfect. In an interview, we must wear this outfit, use good body language, and answer these questions exactly as how we practiced them. The article completely counteracts the standards set by society. Therefore, it may inspire others, like it did to me, and hopefully set a new standard; one based on creativity and opinion, rather than by a format.

  11. This brief posts speaks volumes on how to think when faced with a question. When you are in a situation where you are presented with a question or an instance where your opinion is required, Seth’s Blog tell the reader to think clearly on what he or she is trying to achieve. To think of each question as a prompt is much deeper than people may think. Take each question as a challenge for your imagination. What is your true thought process? What goals are you trying to achieve and how do you plan on getting there? Not only does this method of thought challenge the listener to orient themselves in respect to the information given, “Ignore the questions” makes the reader think: why?

    Whether sitting in a job interview or a meeting with your superior, remember the importance of having a forward-thinking mindsets. Take each question and think deeply about it, so that you not only satisfy the question being asked, but you also provide insight on the topic, as well. Showing that you have the capacity to think beyond the topic shows promise to whomever you are in conversation with. You allow the person to understand the capabilities you have, and how you can present yourself as an asset to them or their team.

    Orienting your thoughts in this way also allows you to understand what you want out of the situation you are in. Think about how you can better the situation for yourself and for other people. What will you learn, and what do you think you will be able to provide? Thinking critically about a prompt also means you must think about the process behind it. Being able to understand processes and identifying how it may affect a situation down the road. Being able to make an impact on a process or change someone’s mindset with your words and actions is the point of being engaged in the deeper thoughts behind any topic brought to the table.

  12. As a person who sits outside of a job recruiter’s office this article was insightful. So often when people come in for interviews they seem so concerned with getting the answer to the question right, rather than using the question as a way to give more insight to your own thoughts. So often interviewers want that person who is creative in thought, the person who may see things that they may not see. There is no other reason for a person to ask questions other than to get into the mind of the person they are asking, However, too often we do the opposite as the one being interviewed. We sit and try our best to figure out what’s in the mind of the person asking us the question.

    Furthermore as stated in the article, I would say that there’s a need to not just ignore the question but to use that question as your “weapon”. Make the question work for you in the way for which you showed up to this meeting or phone call.

    I would say that it would be ideal if this short article could be presented to anyone who may be on the other side of the person who is asking the questions. One, it would help ease the anxiety that the person may be feeling about the answers they will give. Two, it would help the person who is asking the questions to get the most of the time they are spending during this process.

  13. This article is very short and to the point, but it has a very strong message to it as well. All throughout life people treat every question like there is a correct answer to it. Some questions aren’t asked for you to figure out a right answer at all, instead the question lays out a plan of action. As the post said, consider using questions as a chance to see more deeply into the interaction. If people go into job interviews and other meetings trying to figure out what they want to contribute and produce for others, than they would be more interesting candidates to the people they are talking to. Schools always offer interview prep and other ideas to help students nail their questions down perfectly, but in reality you’re going to sound like everyone else since they were training the same way you were. These questions being asked are not there to have you say the correct answer, instead they are there so you can truly express who you are and what you want to make of yourself. Don’t answer questions because you think it is right and what others what to hear, instead answer questions based on what you truly think and believe and that will definitely make you more interesting than the others answering with automated responses that cant spark any real interest. The blog tells you to try and change minds or else you’re wasting your time. If you don’t have the people skills to change minds with how you think and respond to these questions, then you have to start over and figure out a way to achieve that. I believe this article is best for people who act as “kiss ups” to people of higher authority, instead of being creative and thinking for themselves, these kinds of people just try to say whatever answer they think the authority figure wants to hear. Instead having the real people skills to be able to create new thoughts for someone else is much better than being a “yes man”.

  14. The more I write comments for ShannonWeb Blog the more I find the articles I enjoy most come from Seth’s blog. This article cuts right to the point and offers wisdom for any entrepreneur or life enthusiast: “It doesn’t matter what the questions are, really…. If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?”
    The first point he makes is that if one is always going into a situation with the idea that there’s a right answer then they’re not moving things along. What I took this to mean is that you cannot go into job interviews and situations with a closed mind. Not only that, but employers, people and customers do not want a specific “right answer” they want to know if you can change their opinion. This is what leads to the author’s next point that if you are not working to change minds then you are not working well. This idea was something I had never heard before but is one I easily took a liking to. The ability to change someone’s mind and persuade them towards your viewpoint is a skill that, in the business world, offers limitless opportunities. By looking to further resolve a situation and move forward you are working towards the next thing. If we focus only on arriving at the answer people want to hear we stunt the growth of new ideas and potential pushes in different directions.
    This article has led me to realize that instead of trying to give people the answer they want to hear I should present my real answer. However, when presenting this answer, I should back my statement up with sound ideas that have helped me to arrive at that point. This idea can help me to further my ideas and question them before stating them with the belief that if I do so I can change people’s minds.
    Lastly, I enjoyed the part of the article which stated, “consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for”. This is a reminder to focus more on the reason a person, employer, or peer is with me at the time. In the example of the employer, it’s a reminder that the reason I am there is for them to determine whether I am a good fit for their company. However, by being myself and challenging the “normal” answers to their questions I can stand apart from my competition and show future employers that I challenge ideas and norms.

  15. Seth does a great job by starting the article saying, “It doesn’t matter what the questions are really. They’re a prompt.” Whether in job interview, a podcast interview, a sales call, a meeting…employers ask the same questions to see which candidate can come up with the right answers to their riddles. However, we often fail to differentiate our answers and give them the same general answers in response. In fact, during interviews people often find themselves not being themselves; they stress to put on an Interview Persona, a more professional version of themselves. For what reason? To simply answer their questions without trying to go above and beyond? Candidates fail to realize that interviewers want more than a simple answer. They want the person to be able to dig deeper into the kind of information they are really looking for. As the article states, we should “consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for”. In other words, interviewing should be a conversation. The candidate should be able to interview the company as well. The candidate should be attempting to answer the question: “Is this the company that I want to be part of” every bit as much as the company is asking the question “Is this the candidate we want to hire.” The point is, though, that they go through the interview process a lot more often candidates do. For this reason, when you give what you think seems like a well thought-out, unique and interesting response, they may have already heard it a few times. If you truly want to stand out in their eyes, candidates need to stop thinking about the job interview as a series of questions they need to answer correctly to pass and focus on how you can present yourself as a unique asset to their team.

    In addition, it is sad to say that interviewers actually believe they are learning about the quality and the personality fit of the candidates they’re interviewing. If multiple interviewers are asking the same generic questions, this indicate that they haven’t really prepared for any interview and should call into question whether they truly value the candidate’s contributions to the team. This article relates to my life, as I have been on many job interviews. Finding a job is hard, and the competition can be fierce. However, the truth is that a lot of people go to work and read from the standard script, just like everyone else. Interviewers don’t think about what one is saying. There was plenty of times conversations went in an unexpected direction because I started to go off topic and not focus on the general questions. There were also times the interviewer focused on one aspect of my skills and totally ignored other key attributes. I knew I needed to stand out, but it was impossible because they were more focused on interviewing me rather than having a conversation with me. In the blog it states, “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” This statement shows that if you are not willing to mention your passion for learning new things, demonstrate your capabilities and show that you are unafraid of challenges, then why do you see yourself joining the team. This is important because employers want candidates who will bring a perspective, skill set or ability that will help them achieve business goals. For this reason, you must be more unique than others. Overall, this article has a strong meaning behind it and that is to make yourself stand out and take questions farther than they can go.

  16. Honestly, Seth has the best blogs. He never fails to say so much, in so little words. The article I choose is called “Ignore the Questions,” is a perfect example of this. The article impacts me because I always answers the question, but at the same time I do not. I have a very complex brain, and the way I work and think has always been very different. My math teachers would be amazed looking at how crazy my work was, and how I still managed to get the answer. I always manage to overthink yet be empty minded at the same time. This used to be a big struggle of mine, but while I matured, I started to take advantage of this trait of mine. In every instance I always think out every situation. From the simplest thing, to something very complicated I tend to always look around the question yet answer it. This has helped me in life because when someone asks a question it leaves themself, and yourself vulnerable. It gives me the chance to look deeper into the situation. My first thoughts are never about the question. It is always: Why are they asking it, what can this lead to, what is the background behind it, etc. Then I go to answer the question carefully after thinking about each outcome. I think of many answers and how each one of them would change the outcome. And then eventually how each of those many scenarios will play out. All of that thinking happens within a few seconds. It used to be very overwhelming, but after I understood how my brain works and what Seth is saying I use it to my advantage. I always overthink so much, that when I am prepared, I am almost ready for any outcome. Many people do not do this, but it is not hard. All one must do is try and they can do it. They must be willing to take “risks” by not answering the question, and that will help them better themselves and others in the long run. Like Seth said, “If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?” (Seth’s “Ignore the Question” blog).

  17. I think the article raises a valid point about assessing the task at hand and reading between the lines. When an interviewer is asking you a question, they are really giving you an invitation to impress them. They want to hear what you have to say and giving you a question is the most effective way of getting the ball rolling. It is also important to understand that an interviewer has likely been hearing answers to the same questions. Differentiating yourself from the other applicants is the best way to make sure you stay in the interviewer’s mind. If you answer the questions like a test, as the article mentions, your interview will blend in with the dozens of others the interviewer has sat through that day. Another way you can disrupt the monotony of the interview is answering questions you think the interviewer may have, but has not asked. If you have skills outside of the criteria for the job, inform the interviewer and explain how they could be useful in the role you are interviewing for.
    On the other hand, it is important not to go completely off script. The interviewer is asking a specific series of questions because those questions matter to the employer. If you were to go off on your own tangent about something entirely unrelated, it may do more harm that good to your chances of landing the job. I think the proper way of interpreting this advice is by comparing it to cooking. Its good to follow the recipe and doing that alone can result in a decent meal, however a skilled chef knows what to add and when to add it to ensure that the meal comes out better than the recipe intended. The same is true for interviewing. Answer the questions, but make sure to add your own spices and extra ingredients so that your finished product comes out better than the competition. For example, if the interviewer asks what interests you in the job, you could include additional information about the company or its history that make you come off as someone who is well prepared and competent.
    Overall, I think the message in this article is an important one, however it should be practiced in moderation rather than in the absolute terms described in the title. Perhaps a better title would be “Go Beyond the Questions”.

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