Kira Vermond: Interview questions are a two-way street
- July 20, 2011 11:44 AM |
- By Kira Vermond
Have you ever been at a job interview and the interviewer turns to you at the end and says, "Do you have any questions?"
When in that situation, a lot of us freeze. Or we mumble something like, "no I think you covered it all."
It makes sense. When we're looking for work, employers seem to have all the power. They decide who gets the job and who doesn't. So asking questions can make us feel like we're rocking the boat.
Truth is, that's not how an employer will see it. Ask the right questions at the right time, and you look like you 're taking an active interest in the company and the position.
Plus, when you're the one driving the conversation, you'll get a boost of confidence. You're no longer in the hot seat. The person sitting across from you is.
It's a subtle shift of power, but it's one that works in your favour.
Because remember, the company isn't only interviewing you, you need to be collecting information on it. The last thing you want is to take the job, then find out it's a clunker.
So before you walk into any job interview, always prepare five or six questions. Why five or six? Well, chances are, many of the topics will be covered already in the course of the conversation. But, not all. You need at least two questions left when the time comes.
Now, what should you ask? It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're trying to show what a keener you are, ask:
"If you hire me, what can I do to make your life easier?"
"What goals need to be achieved in the next six months?"
Or you could ask, "If you were to employ me, what is the one piece of wisdom you would like to see me incorporate into my working life here?"
These show that you're a good employee. If, however, you want to ask questions that protect you, you might say:
"I understand the company has experienced layoffs within the last two years. Can you review the reasons why they were necessary?"
"When was the last time you rewarded an employee for a job well done? What token of appreciation did they get?"
"Do you foresee this job will involve large amounts of overtime or working on weekends?"
Now, don't forget, not all questions are appropriate for the first interview. Vacation time, benefits, salary, overtime. Don't ask about them the first time you meet with HR. They're all topics you'll want to broach during the second of third round of interviews.
Finally, asking questions is important, but listening to the answers, is even more so. Because you don't want to ask about vacation time... when the employer just went over that policy five minutes ago.
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