In my ongoing quest for meaningful employment, I was privileged to participate in three job interviews last week. One interview was with a professional association and two interviews were with an international corporation with a gross revenue of $1.4 billion per year.
While I sit here waiting to hear back from them, in fulfillment of their promise to respond “the first part of next week”, I find myself, once again, being circumspect in how I handled myself during these interviews, which, immediately afterward, I felt like I aced.
I firmly believed that I had my act together, as I reviewed my “Job Interview Checklist” before leaving…
Professional Appearance? Check.
Arrived Early? Check.
Brought Copies of Resume and References? Check.
Researched the History and Financials of the Association/Corporation? Check.
During the interviews, I was on point, affable, yet professional, knowledgeable, but not overbearing.
Then…came the moment that we have all experienced…when the Interviewer turned the tables on me, asking the dreaded question,
“Do You Have Any Questions For Me?”
Why should the interviewee ask questions of the interviewer, anyway?
Simple: You want to appear intelligent and engaged.
In other words, you want him/her/them to come away believing that you are a business professional who is not only concerned about what sort of work environment exists at their corporation/association, but also, what your professional future would be like, if they make a job offer to you.
The problem is, if you are not prepared to provide a response to the interviewer, you can come off looking like a local news anchor whose teleprompter just died.
The following advice comes courtesy of an article posted on May 15th of this year on businessinsider.com,
“The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you,” says Teri Hockett, chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women. “Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.”Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.
But, Hoover says, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. To actually benefit from them, you’ll need to think carefully about what you want to ask.
“Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview,” she explains. “If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.”
Also included in this article, was the following list of 11 questions you should ask at the end of the interview..
- Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
- Who held this position previously? Why is he/she leaving the role?
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- Can you walk me through the typical day of someone in this role?
- How do you evaluate success here?
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?
- Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?
- What distinguishes this company from its competitors?
- Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?
- What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?
If you do not feel comfortable asking some of these questions. That’s fine. Some of them might seem “too forward” to you.
As your interview progresses, you will get a “feel” for your interviewer’s personality, and, when your turn comes, you will have a better grasp of which questions you need to ask.
This “Art of Job Interviewing” is not Rocket Science…it’s about giving a good “first impression”.
Interviewers will judge you by the questions you ask.
Be prepared. Be engaged. Be professional.
Never give up. Never surrender.