Did you know that an interview can go both ways? Gone are the days where interviewees have to sit all prim and proper without saying a word until they are asked. In today’s job marketplace, asking the right questions during an interview can help you get hired, or help you determine the company is not a match for you.
Preparation for job interviews is important; not only for you, but for the company. Arm yourself with information about the company and ask questions that will show the interviewer that you’re interested. Ask what your responsibilities would be and background on the people you will be working with; you can double check this information later if a job offer comes by comparing the information with LinkedIn.
If possible, hold a mock-interview with a friend or family member and ask for their feedback. In an effort to impress, we often go overboard; or if we’re nervous, we forget things. By preparing with a mock-interview, we’ll calm our nerves and stick with the script.
If you’re applying for an entry-level or mid-level position, it’s OK to ask about advancement opportunities when the discussion turns toward on-the-job skillsets and duties. It shows the interviewer that you are interested in the company enough to ask about it; they’ll often take it as an indicator to your commitment level and interest.
More than likely, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer at the end of the interview. Use this time wisely and focus on questions as if you already have the job. There are always questions you could ask later, but which questions will help you decide if you want to work for the company?
An easy way to ask this question is to say, “What’s the best part about working here that I won’t be able to see from a tour?” An interviewer will enjoy answering this question if they like working for the company. If they hesitate or don’t have an answer for you, you may want to dig a little deeper and make sure it’s the right company for you.
Ask the interviewer to walk you through a typical work day. What time do others typically leave; when do they have meetings, how do they handle interruptions, etc. Watch for signs that employees frequently stay past their scheduled times or eat lunch at their desk; this can be a sign of too much work and not enough pay for their workload.
Great progress has been made on the flexibility front, and your employer should have a policy to address this change in the workplace. Nimble management teams have the leeway to operate as humans, and they should have a few options to offer you:
- Flextime built into the work schedule.
- Soft start and end shift times.
- Compressed workweeks (4 10’s).
- Remote (work at home) options.
Every industry is in a state of flux thanks to advancements in technology. What types of training or learning sessions are open to employees and how often are they offered?
Remember, you’re looking for a job that will set you up for future success by teaching you transferable skills that will enable you to get promoted or land a new position.
What types of challenges do employees face? There are challenges in every industry and a good employer is aware of this and has procedures in place to help employees manage them. Companies that help their employees feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer support are great companies to work for, but you won’t know until you ask.
Benefits & Timing
In the new digital marketplace, freelance and temp employment positions are growing. As a result, companies are using benefits as a way to attract high-value team members. Don’t skip over this section of the interview process. Ask about health care and retirement benefits, vacation time, sick leave, and other corporate perks. How long do you have to be there to become eligible? Knowing this information will help you take the right job when it’s offered.
In today’s culture, it’s important for companies to stand for more than profit. What type of charities and causes does the company support? If you’re not comfortable asking about this information in the interview, scan the walls and look for signs of supporting a local charity or group.
Social Media Review
Just as a potential employer has the right to check your social media profiles, you have the right to do the same. What type of culture is promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn? Can you picture yourself among the images?
If a company doesn’t have active social media profiles, is it because it’s not a priority or because it’s a troubled environment and there aren’t many happy people there? Take note of the environment while you’re in the interview.
The Follow Up
Always send a thank you note to your interviewer. First, it will make your name memorable to your interviewer, and second, it will make a lasting impression. Take the opportunity to share how you will be an asset or feel free to ask a question. It never hurts to keep the conversation going.