First things first. In order to even get an interview you must stand out in a sea of applicants. I’ve written some posts already that will help you do just that. Use them for guidance before putting in your next application.
Alright, you’ve scored big points with the recruiter. Now they’ve invited you to do an interview. I’ve said before that job interviews are a two way street. Today I’m going into how you make that happen.
“What questions should I ask?” I get this a lot from my clients. First I’ll say that figuring out the more technical questions to ask will depend on the field you work in and the type of position you’re applying for. The questions I’ll share today are more generic and can fit into just about any interview. Ok let’s get to it then…
- What do you like about working here? Do they smile when answering? Do them seem defensive? I have worked for many companies where employees were very unhappy, yet new folks were steadily being recruited. How the person answers this question might give you a little peek into the overall morale of the company.
- Can you describe the company culture? You should already know a little based on the research you did before the interview (you do plan to do that, right?!). Now you’re looking for more depth. Are you expected to be in slacks every day or is the atmosphere more relaxed? Is there a good work/life balance amongst employees?
- What would be my first order of business? Sometimes, a company has a specific reason for hiring someone. The need something improved or more money raised for example. This question could give the impression that you’re ready to hit the ground running! Also it’ll help you decide if what the company has in mind is the type of work you’re interested in taking on.
- Can you describe a typical day here? I once worked for a company that did a “check in” each Monday and everyone was expected to participate either in person or via telephone. A roll call was done to make sure everyone was there…or to see who wasn’t. If you’re a person who’s late for everything then knowing about this ahead of time will put some fire under you to be on time…at least on Mondays. Ha!
- How are employees valued here? Again, pay attention to how this question in answered. Everyone should feel appreciated for what they bring to the team. If the interviewer struggles to answer this one…well you know what that means…
- What do you think will be my biggest challenge in this position? Let’s keep it real! They’re the veterans and what they have to say here should be taken to heart.
- Are there any opportunities for growth? Growth doesn’t always mean a promotion. Maybe they pay for you to attend seminars or give you the “ok” to launch an innovative campaign. You should know if you’re going into a place that taps into your potential or not.
- What’s the management style like? I get push back when I tell my clients to ask this one because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Remember that the company is looking for the right candidate but this is a decision making process for you too! You need to know how things are run in the company. Will you be micromanaged? Are managers out of the office a lot? Do they have an open door policy when it comes to hearing employee concerns? All very important.
- Where do you see the company in five years? This will give you a forecast about your job security and if the company is progressive – or not!
- Are there any areas that could use some improvement? See if the interviewer will be honest or clam up at this one. No company will ever be perfect and they need not pretend that they are. If you’re going to ask this though you should also think of ways to contribute to the improvements mentioned.
- How would you describe the ideal candidate? Again, this will give you more insight to exactly what they’re looking for. When you get the answer be honest with yourself if that ideal person doesn’t sound like you.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking some of these it’s OK! The questions here are some that I’ve asked in my own interviews and they helped me get a better picture of what I’d be getting myself into if I accepted a job offer. There might be another candidate who’s more qualified or just a better fit with the company. Don’t be discouraged! If they don’t hire you it’s their loss honey! *hair flip*
What do you think of these questions? Would you use any of them? Would you be uncomfortable asking them?
Until next time…