So many job seekers we work with are just happy to get an interview. They have either been under-employed, unemployed or waiting out the storm at a crappy job until the economy recovers. No matter the situation, if you want to have an outstanding interview, you have the chance to shine with your communication skills.
Too many job seekers go into interviews thinking it is a one way conversation. You spend more time practicing answers to questions like “what is your greatest weakness?” instead of asking great questions and listening to the answers. People spend more time researching how to buy a car and what questions they will ask the sales person to get the best deal.
Isn’t your career even more important? Let’s face it; you have to spend at least 40 hours at work and probably another 10 hours a week commuting back and forth. This is a major investment of your time and your life. You must get the answers you need to make a great decision. Also, asking good questions will help you get the job! Ask these questions:
What do your employees do that really make a difference in the bottom line? Love this question. The interviewer may actually have to think about what they will share but you can bet it will be some really good stuff. Listen and hopefully it gives you some insight on what drives the company.
Can you tell me what a successful person looks like in this position in the short and long term? Again, you are getting them to open up and give you a road map to what they think the successful candidate should look like. Listen carefully and only comment when they are done talking. If you agree with what they are saying, let them know that you are in 100% agreement and can do this job.
Where have successful employees previously in this role elevated to in your company? This one gets you the real story on where the position you are interviewing for may be going. It is your crystal ball for what opportunities may show up in the future. If the interviewer slips up here and does the typical company line, “we always promote from within were warranted”, you need to follow up with, “was the last person that worked this job promoted?” Done right with the right tonality, you can get some great information.
Interviewing is hard. However, if you have the skills for the job you are applying to and are bringing this value to the company, ask questions!
One last thing to make sure you do. Don’t ask the interviewer to rate you on how you did? This is not America’s Got Talent!