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Your job interview is a dialogue. It goes without saying that you need to anticipate questions that may be posed of you by a potential employer. At the same time, this is your opportunity to show you’ve done your research and are as invested as the interviewer in making the right match. This happens via the information you glean from the interview, as well as what the company learns about you as they prepare to make their final hiring decision.

To best position yourself for success:

  • Prepare a list of questions and prioritize them in terms of importance. The topics you raise will become part of the overall picture an employer paints of you as they define your level of intelligence and interest.
  • Is it your first interview? If so, then ask the most important questions – those that will help you determine early on whether or not the position is right for you. By the second interview, you should know the basics, so make more probing inquiries into specific duties, cultural norms and expectations.
  • Are you interviewing with more than one person? Tailor your inquiries to their roles at the company. Prepare one question that you will ask all of them so you can compare their responses as you decide if the job is right for you.
  • Show that you’ve done your research. Know the nature of the organization, its terminology and current projects, products and newsworthy items. Don’t ask questions that can be answered by looking at the employer’s website or materials provided to you in advance. This is insulting and a waste of time to the interviewer.
  • Never ask about salary or benefits. The only exception is in a situation where these subjects have been raised by the interviewer.
  • Make your questions open ended. These are questions that cannot be answered with just a “yes” or “no.” For instance, instead of “Does your organization value its employees?” ask “How does your organization show it values its employees?” or “What has your organization done recently to show it values its employees?”

Areas to Cover

You may be concerned that you’ll impose by asking pointed questions during your interview. In fact, the opposite is true. Employers want to hire positive, eager individuals and you want to let them know you’re interested in becoming their newest team member.

Good questions to pose include:

  • What is your corporate culture like? Ask about the dynamics of a company’s environment. Discover which communication channels are most frequently utilized and how they match your personality. For example, are meetings interactive or authoritative? Is there a “pecking order” that defines who can speak first? This cultural environment is probably not suited to creative types who are always brimming with ideas.
  • What constitutes success? Zero in on the criteria on which you’ll be evaluated. This enables you to ask yourself if you’re capable of accomplishing the company’s goals for you should you be hired.
  • Who previously held the position? If the company promoted the previous employee, find out what made them successful and learn from it. If there has historically been high turnover in the job, then it’s important to make sure you don’t become part of that statistic.
  • Is there anything missing from your resume? By posing this question, you give yourself an opportunity to address any outstanding concerns before the employer makes a decision. Moreover, this inquiry opens the door to showcasing more of your strengths and interests.
  • What happens next? Find out about the hiring timeframe and next steps so you can close on a strong note. This also helps you determine when it’s appropriate to follow up after an interview.

Consider working with a professional recruiter as you prepare for your upcoming interviews and job search process. Read our related posts or contact the search consultants at BrainWorks to learn more.


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