Who’s Interviewing Whom: Valuable Tips for Job Interviews

When you walk into a job interview, just what do you think is happening?   Well, the word interview actually comes from old Anglo-French entreveue, meaning “to meet” and “to see”.  Its essential purpose is to facilitate the exchange of Interview greetinginformation between two parties, presumably to their mutual benefit.  In other words, it is not a one-sided interrogation.

Here, we will discuss some ideas to ensure a smooth, and hopefully, successful interview.

Be Prepared

When you enter the meeting, it is essential that you are armed with insightful, evocative questions.  It is this keen sense of awareness that will impress your interviewer. However, in order to gain this esteem from your listeners, you must plan ahead.  Review the questions you will ask ahead of time.  This mental preparation will result in confidence.  When we are confident, we are less likely to fold under pressure, and more likely to make a positive and lasting impression.

Collecting Information

Essentially, this is the easiest part.  Search the company website and download the last annual report or the latest quarterly report; read the “Message to Stockholders” if it is a publicly- traded company.  It is usually within the first two pages, and it describes the company’s accomplishments; or, it may allude to how the company did not meet its expectations.  It often lays out the plans for the next term.  Note whether the company’s goals align with your goals.

Next, go to the company’s LinkedIn site.  Is it up to date?  Is there a lot going on?  Are C-suite executives and upper management participating?  Read the more recent material that is available.  This should give you insights into company working-on-laptop - researchculture and whether you two would make a good match for each other.

While you are reading, it will almost certainly occur to you to think “I wonder if…”  Write that thought down because it’s probably one of the questions you will want to ask at the interview.  More importantly, your interviewer(s) will probably be online here. (If they’re not, are you sure you want to work here?)  So you can learn a bit about them, what they’ve accomplished, and possibly make reference to it to show that you’ve done your research.

Heart of the Matter

Depending on the job you are interviewing for, you need to ask some specific questions; not only because they eagerly anticipate them, but because people who don’t have any questions can exude an air of indifference.  It’s best to be prepared with several questions —you simply can’t ask too many—provided they are relevant, but steer clear of topics which can be easily ascertained by looking at their website.

Your interviewer(s) is a veritable fount of information about the company.  They know the people; they know the company’s triumphs as well as transgressions; they have insights, and if you’re not taking advantage of that you are ignoring a fabulous resource.

ask-questions-reminderInside of simply creating “five great questions”, have an assortment because some of them may be answered over the course of the interview.  If you ask something that’s already been answered earlier, you’re risking appearing inattentive.  If you need to ask a question about something that was covered earlier, use the qualifier “Just to clarify, earlier we discussed…” and then ask your question.

Some Question Suggestions

  • Why do you like working here?  What makes this “the place to be”?
  • Can you walk me through a day here?  What typically happens from when I walk in the door until I leave?
  • Is this a newly created position?  Is this an established position, and if so, why did the last person leave?
  • Is this a “memo” based organization or a “meeting” based organization?  Are people rewarded for independent thought and creativity?
  • Is this company in a position to jump out in front of the pack and lead?  Which company might be our biggest competition, or threat to that success?
  • What is your take on the company culture?  Would you consider it a top-down model or more of a collaborative venture?
  • Do you have any insights on my manager or direct supervisor?  What is their management style?
  • How is this department perceived by the rest of the company?
  •  How will I be able to measure when I’m “successful”?  What sort of milestones should I be aiming for in 30 days, 90 days, six months, or a year?
  • Are there sideways-promotions available so I can gather more experience on my level before being promoted upwards?
  • Does the company offer any internal/external ongoing training (or courses) to keep employees up to date in their field?
  • What are the team-members like with whom I will be working?
  • Do you see any particular difficulties with my skills or competencies for fulfilling this role?  Is there anything I can clarify for you, or do you have any suggestions for actions I could take to improve my candidacy?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?  Is there a timetable when I would be likely to hear from you?

The Takeaway

Once you are in the actual interview, you’ll have a sense for how many — or which — questions are appropriate for the interview.  The more insightful your questions are, the better your chances of making a great impression.

Remember, this is your opportunity to learn whether you are a good fit for the company, and whether it is a good fit for you; so don’t waste it!

By Fred Coon, CEO

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