An interview is a two way street. The company has a void that needs to be filled and the candidate is hoping to land a better career opportunity. In order to stand out the candidate must be asking thought-provoking questions that will not only assist in collecting valuable information but break the ice to distinguish them from all the other applicants.
By having prepared questions you show your interest in the company, the position and how you not only want to excel in the role but improve the company as a whole.
In order to get started there must be some guidelines:
Do not ask yes and no questions these are close ended questions that will not allow for further discussion but rather dead silence, an interview no-no.
Always look at person interviewing you. Do not stare but rather smile, nod, blink as really there is no need to be nervous. Worse comes to worse you don't get the job. Best case scenario, you do and they offer you what you are seeking.
Now for the questions that will no doubt get you to stand out:
The career seems quite interesting I like that it incorporates a, b, c. I was wondering how has the position evolved since it has been created? This question allows you to engage in a conversation regarding the long and short term goals of the interview without actually asking time tale question "What are the long and short term goals for the person in the role?"
Aside for showing up on time, what are your expectations of someone in the role? Yes, state, aside for showing up! This adds a humour to the uncomfortable career date you are engaged in, while adding a thought provoking question. You want them to like your questions but more importantly they need to like you! Allow room for your personality to shine.
Research the company, find some facts and then ask: I see that a, b, c what in your opinion is the most exciting thing happening at the company right now? They may go into their social calendar, an acquisition, or information that isn't disclosed on the website. This is giving you an upper hand to understand what is going on. It also gives them the "I like this person" feeling as they are revealing truths about the company to you...making you almost part of the company already.
I see on the site a, b, c or on the website xyz. com that your company is doing this...that's pretty interesting. How did that happen? This question will change depending on the information you can gather on the company. There may be no website...which is possible...if that is the case, then that opens a door for further discussion regarding the company goals, priorities etc. As well, perhaps you know someone to refer them to who can help them. If you can find a way to help them you aren't just saying the annoying "I am a team player" You are proving it!
Don't forget to ask the right questions to the right people. You can gather information on the person interviewing you prior to the interview, if you see they are in HR do not ask them technical questions and if they just started, going into depth regarding their IPO won't make sense either.
The hardest part is ending an interview as once you leave those doors there may be no turning back so the last question is pivotal.
Where I am currently working we have a, b, c in place, how is something like that organized here? This allows you to understand the internal structure regarding the company. Where your place will be and how much decision making power you will or will not have without asking it abruptly and showing your adaptability.
Print out the job description and state, I see here we will be doing a, b, c...what will be my responsibilities for the next six to 12 months? How prepared did you just look right then and there with your job description?? You can lean into to the interviewer as well. You don't want to get creepy close but getting closer bursts the tension and allows you into their bubble.
Learn about them: I see you have been here since x, what do you like most about working here? This personal touch means you actually don't just care about the company but also the people in it. What keeps them there. Hopefully the person you are interviewing isn't leaving if they are no sweat more room for you to grow.
The hardest part is ending an interview as once you leave those doors there may be no turning back so the last question is pivotal. If you have a lead for them that's great as it gives you direct permission to access them again. An exchange of cards gives you access to their information as well but your last question should be as follows:
It was truly great meeting with you. If you have time, can I see the office?
They might be able to, they might not either way ask:
What are the next steps and when do you think I can expect to hear from you? If I don't hear from you by a week from today, may I assume this is the last time I will see you again? *insert smile here You put it out there in a funny manner...you may not be the right person for the job but they may actually love you and at that point you will find out.
So when asked at the end of an interview "Do you have any questions?" there is no reason to state "No. I'm good" or "Not really" as even by asking just one more question you gain the opportunity to build a relationship. The longer you hold a genuine conversation the longer you have to make that lasting first impression.
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