Questions to Ask During an Interview
As a job seeker, it is likely that you have experienced several interviews, been nervous about how to present yourself, and wondered the likelihood of actually landing the position. Whether you are interviewing at a manufacturing facility, fast-food restaurant, family-owned business, or well-known company, YOU (the interviewee) have probably been asked this question, “Do you have any questions for us?”
The smart answer is “YES!” However, if you haven’t planned ahead, this question may throw you off of your game—jeopardizing the last impression you leave with the potential employer. Fear no more – check out our list below for several questions that can be asked at the end of the interview.
Question #1 – Is this a newly-created position or did someone leave? This will tell you if the company is expanding and needs to add staff members or if someone voluntarily left the organization. As a follow-up if someone did leave the position, you could also ask how long that person was in that particular job.
Question #2 – What is YOUR favorite part about working here? This is a question that you can directly ask the interviewer. If there is more than one interviewer, then you can ask each person—within reason. If you are part of a panel interview, you will want to ask each person a different question. If they can answer this question quickly and confidently, it is likely the person actually does like his or her position and you may be able to find out additional benefits of working within that organizational environment.
Question #3 – If you could design the ideal candidate for this position, what are that person’s top three strengths? This question provides you with a way to once again identify your skill-set and how you fit that position’s needs. Again, these are questions asked near the end of the interview and this is a method for leaving a positive and lasting impression on the interviewers.
Questions #4 – When do you anticipate making a hiring decision regarding this position? By asking this question, you reiterate your interest in the job and show the employer that are you serious about the opportunity.
These are just three examples of questions that can be asked during this crucial part of the interview process. Obviously, you do not want to bombard the organization with questions and you should also not ask questions that can be easily researched. For example, asking about the organizational mission statement is not a good idea if that information is clearly posted on the company website.
Do you have a question for us? Or, are you excited about your upcoming job interview and want to know the question that WE would ask that organization? Contact us today for a free consultation – we look forward to helping you!
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You can’t possibly know it all. Even if you’re an expert in a certain area, there will inevitably be times when you don’t know the answer. That’s OKAY.
In our modern, information-at-our-fingertips world, we might feel pressured to know anything and everything. Think about all the content you consume on a daily basis, whether through television, social media, news articles, surfing the web, or face-to-face interactions. The amount of data we’re exposed to on a regular basis is overwhelming and can also lead to unrealistic expectations from others. “Didn’t you see that article,” someone might say. Or “didn’t you hear about x, y, and z?”
It takes courage to admit when you don’t know something, but it’s much better than faking your way through a conversation. The next time someone quizzes you about a news story you haven’t read or a social media trend you haven’t heard of, speak up. Let her know that you don’t know enough about the topic to form an opinion, but you would like to hear her thoughts on it. Then, listen. Learn.
In a different context, think about job interviews. If the interviewer asks you a straightforward question such as, “Do you know how to use Adobe Photoshop,” don’t fudge your answer. Be forthright with your response. For example: “No, I’ve never used Adobe Photoshop, but I have experience with other design programs, such as Inkscape. I’ve found that I am a quick learner and pick up on new systems quickly. I am also not afraid of technology and would be happy to take a class on Adobe Photoshop if I am hired.”
This response not only shows a willingness to learn, it also conveys honesty and transparency. These are traits that companies often look for in job candidates.
Furthermore, if you admit that you don’t know something (to yourself and others), this opens up an opportunity to learn and grow. Explore the unknown subject and add something new to your knowledge bank.
Remember, you CAN’T know it all. It’s fine to admit to others when you don’t have the answer. This isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of integrity and candor.
MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM
Used with permission.
Margaret will be a guest speaker for the April 5th You Can Get Hired workshop from 9-11:30. Register Here!
You have been called in for an interview as the company believes what they have seen and heard to date establishes you as a viable candidate for the role that they are looking to fill.
Frequently, individuals spend many hours creating resumes and cover letters, searching through the job boards and postings on the internet, reviewing classifieds and networking — all in order to get an interview. Yet few of them spend anytime developing the most crucial skill of interviewing.
In today’s economy, it may take 5 or 6 interviews in order to secure a position versus the 2 or 3 interviews that was more of the “norm” in healthier economic times. So by developing your interviewing skills you will develop the ability to “outsell” your competitors and land the job.
Anyone who has ever been through the job hunting process has probably walked away from at least one interview knowing right away that they botched it or even if they feel confident about the interview, they know that they still could have answered one or two questions much better than they did.
Remember that any activity that we value creates a certain degree of angst or anxiety which is a natural human emotion. The only way to remove this “pressure” and to perform in a way that we know that we are capable of is preparation!
Question: What is happening in the hiring companies industry?
Resources: Major news outlets, stock market reports etc.
Question: What is happening to other hiring companies in the local market (Twin Cities)? How is the hiring company perceived in the local market?
Resources: Local news outlets and community or philanthropic annual reports. Unlike the standard annual report, which focuses largely on financial performance, many companies produce a second publication that highlights “soft topics” like culture or community outreach. This will give clues about how the company lives its image or brand. This can help you decide if there’s consistency between what the company says it is and what you observe.
Question: What is the “tone at the top”? Is there a strong, positive workplace culture? The leadership team (CEO, CFO, Chairman or President) sets the standard for workplace culture.
Resources: The company website will typically reveal the names of senior leaders, and a broader Internet search using those names will often turn up revealing media coverage about executive actions, providing insight on the team’s values, which have the greatest impact on a company’s culture.
Question: What is the company’s mission or vision statement?
Resources: Again, the company website will provide these statements which will reveal what a company wants everyone to believe about its culture and values. This is a good way to discover if the stated characteristics align with their personal values system.
Question: What is the workplace environment like?
Resources: The physical location! Is the interviewee brought in for an onsite interview, the physical environment can provide a snapshot about the workplace culture i.e. fancy offices near crowded cubicles can illustrate cultural norms about rank and power. Similarly, a polite, respectful interview process – rather than one that is seemingly rushed or poorly coordinated – offers valuable cues about the overall environment.
Question: What are the roles and responsibilities for the position? What are the expectations for the role? What does good look like?
Resources: The job posting. The HR / recruiter contact.
Apply the same rigor to one or two of the hiring company’s closest competitors.
“Do you have any more questions for me?” may seem innocent and simple enough to answer, but candidates who give a weak response are usually the ones screened out of consideration for the job.
Utilizing the research results, create a series of questions that will help you fill in the blanks and assist in your determination if both the company AND the job are a right fit for you!
Please be aware that every question you ask is an opportunity for you to sell yourself as the most outstanding, must-have candidate for the job.
All of the above preparation is for naught if you fail to show up at the right place or on time, so plan accordingly.
Do you clearly understand:
- The location of the interview?
- The amount of time it will take you to get there?
- The start time?
- Who you are interviewing with?
- Expected duration of the interview?
- Do you have a copy of your resume?
As with most professional’s today – everyone is busy, hurried and subject to the same delays and roadblocks in their day-to-day activity. So being where you are supposed to be at the right time with the ability to be “flexible” will go a long way to establishing you as an easy individual to work with and a good “fit” for the company.
Smart, formal business attire even if the interviewer is in jeans.
Interviewers will form an opinion of you within the first 5 minutes of the interview and this opinion is not always based on what you actually say, but on something you are doing i.e. your “body language”.
85 percent of what you communicate is not with words, it is through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.
- Be natural. Greet the interviewer with a smile that engages your eyes, and offer a firm handshake. Say something like, “I’m pleased to meet you” to provide a positive anchor. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest.
- Watch out for excessive energy. The more energy you have, the more will need to be vented. This often results in fidgeting i.e. repeatedly touching your face, throat, mouth or ears, a definite sign that you’re nervous or ill at ease
- What to do with those hands and arms. Clasped hands are a signal that you are closed off and palm-to-palm gestures with one thumb over the other thumb sends the signal that you need the interviewer’s reassurance. To come across as confident, receptive and unguarded, have your hands open and relaxed on the table. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness. Avoid crossing your arms over your chest. When you do, you signal that you are close-minded, defensive or bored and disinterested.
- Crossing those legs. Don’t cross your legs as this posture creates a wall between you and your interviewer. It can also become a distraction when you keep crossing your legs back and forth. Crossed ankles are a “no-no” because you are signaling that you want to be elsewhere.
- Posture. A straight posture is imperative during an interview. Pull your shoulders back and sit up straight. You’ll give yourself a burst of confidence and allow for good breathing. This can help you to avoid, or at least reduce, feelings of nervousness and discomfort.
- Finger gestures. Never point your index fingers like gun barrels as these are the types of aggressive messages you want to avoid sending.
While body language is a very important component of your communication style, no one ever received a job offer purely on the strength of their handshake or posture; regardless of what was actually said.
Interviewers will often rely on questions that start with “tell me about a time when?” or “give me an example?” To provide meaningful answers to those questions, you must prepare and have some stories in your pocket. As human beings, we love a good story so practice your ability to paint a good picture around your experiences.
Painting a Picture
Stories to prepare in advance of the interview should include “good examples about how you’ve interacted with team members – what kind of team player you’ll be.
Interviewers also frequently ask how you have dealt with a difficult problem. Being negative is a pitfall, so describing the situation succinctly, focusing on what you were thinking when handling the situation. The interviewer’s goal is not to learn about the company you were working for or the people you were working with, but about how you maneuvered through difficult situations.
Don’t forget to ask early on, “Please let me know if this is not what you’re getting at or if you need more detail?”
Interviewees can also create dialog by asking questions like, “Tell me about the characteristics of the people who are most successful in this department or role. What kinds of people or experiences have worked well? What won’t work in your group?”
Rehearsal is key so talk out loud to yourself, family or friends. Listen to how it sounds. When the right answer doesn’t come to you fast enough, you miss the golden opportunity to share your best story.
The key is to have a great interview, where the interviewer actually pictures you doing the job.
If you want to be that person, utilizing and practicing the steps detailed above will allow everyone who interviews you – the recruiter, hiring manager to picture you filling the position and to visualize actually hiring you — ASAP.
Diligent preparation will guarantee that you will stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the “must hire” list.
Finally, KEEP SELLING your services and the value that you would bring to any hiring organization, with the same vigor and enthusiasm all the way through to signing on the dotted line. Why? Because you never know………………!
Follow Graham @GrahamKRiley
CareerToolbox International, LLC
For the latest in personal branding, job and career-related updates, please consider following us at @CareerToolboxUS or join us on LinkedIn
This article was first published on Graham’s website www.CareerToolboxUSA.com on May 23, 2014
Graham will be a featured speaker at our You Can Get Hired Kickoff on February 16th. You can get a seat up front if you register here:
It’s a common question. You know it’s coming. But that doesn’t stop you from waffling and fidgeting when you hear it: “What are your greatest weaknesses?” You know you have some, but you don’t want to reveal anything too terrible that will potentially cost you your interview. Then again, you don’t want to be dishonest or gloss over the answer with something like, “People say I work too much and am too dedicated to the company!” No interviewer is going to be impressed with an answer like that. It’s disingenuous and doesn’t tell them anything about you, except that you’re good at studying stock answers for interview questions. So how to approach this question?
First of all, be aware that sharing your challenges and flaws—the very things that make you human—can actually help you come off as a more authentic, relatable candidate. Joe Grimm of the POYNTER INSTITUTE, an organization dedicated to integrity in journalism, suggests that interviewees faced with this question should always be honest and avoid mentioning character flaws because they seldom change. Instead, mention areas where you’re determined to improve. Consider saying something like, “I’m not as Excel-savvy as I’d like to be, but I’m currently improving my skills through internet tutorials.” Never mention strengths as weaknesses.
Don’t overthink your response to the point that you panic and don’t have one. As WASHINGTON POST journalist Lily Whiteman reminds us, “the worst responses are ‘I don’t know’ and the comical ‘I have no weaknesses.’”
You should also try to cater your response to the position and organization to which you are applying. Anticipate the motivation and interests of the interviewer when selecting your response and personal story. For example, if you are applying for a position as a financial adviser, you might talk about one of the specific areas in which you lack experience—say estate planning for people with over $1 Million in assets. And then (as mentioned earlier), demonstrate how you will familiarize yourself or how you are already working to improve in this area.
Remember: this question mainly exists because it reveals whether you, the applicant, possess key qualities such as self-awareness, authenticity, sincerity, adaptability, and foresightedness. Reveal that yes, you have weaknesses, but you will not let them stop you from doing the best job you can do for their organization.
Happy interviewing! Please CONTACT UXL TODAY to find out how we can help you transform the future of your business or career through guided professional coaching.
Margaret B Smith will be one of our featured guests at the August 11th You Can Get Hired workshop. Click on the Events tab to Register and for more information about our workshop.
Take preparation for Job’s Interview Questions and Answers
Author: Interview Questions
Interview Dos and Donts
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Shape your career in the right direction
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About the Author
Bidyut Bikash Dhar – I am a SEO & Internet Marketing consultant, speaker and trainer with proven efficiency for reputation management and personal branding activities. To get Free 30 Minutes consultation offer to grow and promote your business online – Email me at email@example.com. Interview
“Tell me about yourself” is often the first things an interviewer says to you. Whether face-to-face or on the phone, this is a question that candidates usually hate to hear. Why? Because it’s such a broad question. Where do you start answering it and what do you say?
The person saying “Tell us about yourself” doesn’t want to know where you grew up or how many kids you have. They want to hear you talk and see how you formulate your thoughts. And they want to hear how you present yourself, especially in relation to the open job.
Your answer? It’s not in a book. It should be customized to the job AND to you. And you can prepare for it beforehand so that it feels and sounds as real as you are. First, what are the 5-8 things that are MOST important to them in this job? Then, What are three “success factors” you have that relate to those? Success factors are those aspects of you that make you successful.
That means you won’t launch into “I have 18 years of med tech experience and I’m seeking a company that will let me grow”. That kind of answer says nothing real about you.
Instead, try: “When I look at what you have defined as important for this position, I see several points of connection. Three of them are: my technical expertise, my skills in project management, and my people skills. Which of those would you like me to start with?”
This kind of response engages the questioner. And it narrows the question in the way YOU want.
Give this approach a try and you’ll quickly begin welcoming the question “Tell me about yourself”, and you’ll be making it work for you.