Every working person has been through it- the dreaded job interview. No matter how great your people skills are, no one really enjoys being in the hot seat. As much as you prepare beforehand, you can’t possibly predict every question the interviewer will ask, so you have to be prepared to think on the spot. You’ll need to talk about yourself- a lot. You should have a firm handshake and make eye contact. Have good posture. Don’t mumble or talk too fast. All of these things are common knowledge, yet they demonstrate what makes job interviews so intimidating.
You may think that if you come ready to talk about everything on your resume and you do your research on the company, that would be enough, but what about when the interviewer turns the tables on you and invites you to ask any questions you have about the company or position? This is one time you do not want to improvise. Come prepared with a list of questions you can refer to to avoid looking uninterested and unprepared. This is your chance to learn everything you can about the company, so it pays to do your homework!
You will want to learn everything you can about the company and the position, not only so that you are prepared to answer the age-old question of “What do you know about the company?” when it’s thrown your way, but also so you can ask thoughtful, informed questions. It’s good to have specific questions relating to the job responsibilities and information you’ve collected on the company, but here are a few general questions courtesy of Monster and Forbes that you can ask in any interview:
About the interviewer:
- How long have you been with the company and what do you enjoy most about working here?
- How did you get into this industry, and how did you advance to your current position?
- How would you describe your management style?
About the job:
- What are some of the specific responsibilities associated with this position? Can you give any examples of the work I’d be doing?
- What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this role and what is the timeline associated with that? How much room is there for advancement within the company?
- What is the most important thing I could accomplish within my first month of employment?
- Is this a newly-created position or would I be replacing someone in this role?
- What are the top priorities for the department over the coming year and how will the new hire help accomplish those goals?
- Is there any travel associated with this position? If so, how much?
- What does a typical workday look like in terms of hours, working from home, etc?
- What are some of the challenges and rewards associated with this position?
- What kind of training is offered?
- What would my interaction with my coworkers in this department and other departments be like?
About the company:
- What are the company’s values and how will the new hire help further those values?
- How would you describe the company culture? Could you tell me a story that demonstrates this?
- How does the company define and measure success?
- Where do you expect to see the company in the next five years? (Bonus points for asking this question: interviewers love to ask where you see yourself in the next five years. Nothing says you can’t ask them the same question about the company!)
About the hiring process:
- What is the next step in the hiring process?
- When can I expect to hear back?
- Do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?
- What is the expected start date for this position?
- Whom should I reach out to if I have any additional questions?
If you want to ensure you’re prepared to rock your job interview, then jot down several of these questions and you should be good to go. Of course, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with some questions of your own as well! Ultimately, do your research on the company, come with a curious and open mind, and exude confidence and you will do just fine. You’ve got this!