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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When you're in a stressful situation that triggers many emotions and in which you don't feel so confident (such as meeting your future in-laws), ask yourself what's the worst thing that can happen, suggests Shirin Khamisa, founder of Careers By Design in Toronto. "If you can come to terms with what the worst possible thing that can happen is -- which is usually not the end of the world -- then you can come to terms with it and you won't feel as stressed."
Before facing the situation you're feeling unsure about, get out of your own head, says Khamisa. Go for a walk outside or practice some deep breathing. When you stop contemplating and obsessing over every detail, getting out of your head allows you to relax and speak from the heart, the career coach says.
Taking a careful look at where your lack of confidence stems from is the key to formulating a plan to address it. "Often, your fears may not be rooted in reality," says Khamisa, noting she once had a client who'd held onto her insecurity from being an inexperienced entry-level employee, even though she's risen through the ranks and was more than capable in her current upper management position. You can discover where your fears stem from in many different ways. Consider asking colleagues for feedback, says Khamisa, or working with a career coach, as they can give you an outsider's perspective.
Focus on your strengths and they'll take the lead when it comes to your confidence, says psychologist Andrew Shaul. "Perhaps you're a good storyteller and you're funny. Play up those characteristics and you'll feel good -- rather than focusing on how to overcome your negative attributes," says Shaul. This will out you in a better place emotionally, as you'll be less anxious and less sensitive about what you're not good at, he adds.
"Rather than punishing yourself for the things you are not, accept that there are things you're not good at rather than hiding them, and it'll allow your strengths to come through," says Shaul, who works in private practice in Toronto. If you focus on limitations, you could overcompensate for what you're lacking and it'll shake your confidence. But acknowledging that you have areas that need work doesn't mean admitting defeat. When you accept your limitations, you can work on improving them, says Shaul, who uses the example of a tennis player with a bad backhand swing to illustrate. "If you don't accept your bad backhand, and you tell yourself 'I don't want the ball going anywhere near my backhand,' how can you work on it if you don't even want to face it?" he says. Avoiding or denying your weak spot might make you feel better in the short run, but in the long-term, your backhand problem remains. But understanding that it's a weak spot and working on it will help improve both your swing and your self-esteem.
Being well-prepared and well versed in whatever situation you're faced with is a sure-fire way to quell insecurity. This holds true whether it's a job interview you want to nail or you're getting quotes for a home renovation. There are few situations as nerve-wracking a job interview, but doing some thorough research on a potential employer (including the company and the interviewer if you know who it will be) can set your mind at ease by arming you with information to answer the tough questions. As well, researching the types of questions asked in interviews can help you prepare your responses. Employers are impressed with candidates who know their stuff. And candidates who know their stuff are often confident candidates. Similarly, doing some research into the home project you want to tackle will help you ask your contractors informed questions and will let them know you're not a client they can mess around with. Your knowledge skews the balance of power in your favour. And in turn, you'll enjoy safe and secure home renovations you can be confident in for the long run.
Knowing yourself is the first key to boosting your confidence, so don't be afraid to take a magnifying glass to yourself and really get to know your strengths as well as your limits - everyone has both and there is a wealth of resources out there that can help you build on your best bits and improve the parts you'd like to change. So get started! An utterly stellar and radiantly confident version of yourself awaits.
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