By | August 12, 2014

A job interview should be viewed as a two sided street. As a candidate, you should be interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. I’ve had friends, family and colleagues all end up in the wrong job because they didn’t ask the right questions before they started. Be the candidate posing original questions of the hiring manager instead of merely answering all the questions you’re asked. It may seem a bit intimidating, but this out-of-the-box strategy not only benefits the candidate, who can show that he or she has done their research and knows what they’re doing. It could very well impress a potential employer who will see initiative and promise. Avoid surprises and check out these interview tips so you’ll not only get a job offer, you’ll also know whether or not to accept.
Interview Tip #1:
Ask: Where do you see the company going in the next one/five/ten years?
First consider: Rather than simply answering the age-old question of where you see yourself in x amount of time, try asking the hiring manager the same question. Where does he/she believe the company will be years down the line? Will the firm have expanded, in terms of capital or geography? Will it have branched out into other industries? What about financial growth?
Interview Tip #2:
Ask: What impact would I have on the team/in the company if hired?
First consider: Foremost, this question shows that you are confident; you are essentially asking the hiring manager how/if he thinks you and your skills will come into play once you land the job. The answer to this question should also give you a more personalized response than a general job description and help you to better gauge the ramifications of the position.
Interview Tip #3:
Ask: What qualities does the ideal candidate for this role possess?
First consider: Another question that could get you a more personalized response and a better feel for the job requirements, this inquiry shows that you are not just looking for any job, but a job where you actually have the skills/qualities needed to perform well. You could even reply to whatever answer you are given in an email following the interview, mentioning which desired qualities you possess, which you are working towards (such as mastering new software, learning a new language, etc.), and which you are willing to improve or master.
Interview Tip #4:
Ask: How long have you been with the company? For what reasons have you stayed?
First consider: This question might surprise your interviewer because you are asking something that she must answer personally, something that cannot be answered with a “we” or “the company”. The question shows confidence, and, if answered truthfully, can give you a better idea of how the company treats its employees, as well as the values of the company.
Interview Tip #5:
Ask: What kinds of opportunities may open up down the road for someone who lands this type of position?
First consider: Showing initiative and motivation is critical to a successful interview, especially if you’re just starting out. This question would be ideal to ask if you are a candidate new to the working world and concerned/curious about how a job could benefit you in the future, whether at the same company or elsewhere.
Interview Tip #6:
Ask: How would performance be measured for this job?
First consider: Alternatively, What goals would someone in this position be expected to meet? or What checkpoints should I be expected to pass within the first 90 days or so of employment? This can further help you determine whether the role is really suited to you based on whether you can keep up with the demands of the work environment.
Interview Tip #7:
Ask: Is this position a new position or a replacement job?
First consider: If the answer to this question is affirmative to the latter, ask why the previous employee is no longer working the role. Knowing whether someone you are stepping in for was fired or quit, and for what reason(s), is useful information.
Interview Tip #8:
Ask: May I speak with a member(s) of the team I will be working on?
First consider: This question goes along with interview tip seven. If you find yourself to be under consideration for a replacement job, there is really no way of knowing whether you are truly getting the facts from the person interviewing you because he/she has the company’s best interest in mind. Potential co-workers would probably be more likely to give you the truth about the working environment (i.e. how workers are treated, work relationships, and reasonableness of tasks and deadlines).
Interview Tip #9:
Ask: What do you see as the biggest obstacle to company growth?
First consider: If a hiring manager seems to have trouble giving an answer, or responds by replying that there are no obstacles, take it as a bad omen. No company is perfect, and you do not want to end up working somewhere where things are not the same as the way they are portrayed.
Interview Tip #10:
Ask: What is your company’s image in the industry?
First consider: How other brands in the industry view a company is a major reflection on the company’s reputation. Do your research beforehand and see if your interviewer’s answers match up with what you find.
Along with this list, remember to research the company before going in to ask company specific questions. You can see how excited (or not) someone is about the company and their products by asking the right questions. You’ll set yourself apart by knowing about the company as well.

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