Finishing strong in an interview: How to ask the right questions

FINISHING STRONG IN AN INTERVIEW – ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

by Sal Lauder
It is the day of your job interview…. this is your dream job, the one you have been working towards. But are you prepared for your interview?

Interview To do List

  • Have a good nights sleep and healthy breakfast – check
  • Resume is up to date – check
  • BliiP Skills Profile completed (bliip.co) – check
  • Examples of work ready (more than one) – check
  • Dressed to create a great first impression – check
  • Arrive early – check
  • Enter the room with confidence, a smile and with good eye contact – check
  • Answered all the questions well, the interviewer is smiling and nodding – check

And the final hurdle:

  • Do you have any questions for us? What? Me? No.  I thought I was answering the questions….umm think quick… “where is the best coffee around here?” Bumm Bah…FAIL.

Asking questions at an interview is your opportunity to control the information the company has about you.  Your questions can help differentiate you from your competition by showing your initiative, while impressing with your research. This is where you can leave the impression that you, and only you, are the right person for the job.

You may have seen these suggested questions before:

  1. What are the responsibilities and duties of this position?
  2. Who are your biggest competitors?
  3. What are the organisation’s vision and values?
  4. What are the hours people are expected to work?

Sure you could ask these……if you don’t want to create a good impression.  The first question could be one of the worst.  As an interviewer I would question why you are trying to convince me you wanted a job that you knew nothing about.  I would also be asking myself why I didn’t give you these important details before now.

By the time you reach the interview you should have done enough research to know the answer to all these questions.  Information on the company vision and values can easily be found on the company websites/social media pages.  Companies will be looking at your social media pages so why wouldn’t you research theirs.

Asking about your hours or roster is all about ‘you’ and leaves the impression that you are only interested in when you can leave for the day.  Yes, pay and conditions are important but you should already have an idea about the salary range and hours before the interview.

There are three key points to remember when deciding what questions to ask:

  1. Do your homework so you are asking informed questions.
  2. Ask questions where you genuinely want to know the answers. Interviews are a two way street, you also want to know if this is a company you want to work for.
  3. The questions need to reinforce your fantastic skills and attitude.

Here are some suggestions of good questions to ask:

I understand the responsibilities of the role and this is something I have been working towards for some time, are you able to explain some of the key challenges in the first three months of the role?

I read on your website that your core values are XYZ how do these translate into day to day business?

I enjoy working with other people; can you describe the team environment?

Through my application and BliiP Skills Profile you will have a good idea about my abilities.  Do you have any reservations about offering me the role?

How would you measure the success of this role and how could these expectations be exceeded?

I note from your annual report there was a focus on xyz. I feel my skills in xxx can contribute to this work.  Are there other major challenges the organisation may experience in the near future?

What do you enjoy most about working here?

 Your last question

What is the next step in the selection process?

You won’t have time to ask all these questions – that is ok.  Have them prepared and use your judgement on the right ones to ask at a particular interview.  Remember interviewers are usually on a tight schedule so if they start looking at their watches wrap it up.  While it is important to create a great first impression and show you can do the job, finishing strong is just as important.

 

Sal Lauder is a consultant psychologist with a background in recruitment, psychometric assessments, personality profiling and organisational change.  She is Co-founder of BliiP Employability, a global site that offers the most effective way to measure and demonstrate employability skills and culture fit.  Employability skills are those skills that are critical to success in the workplace.  Through multi-rater feedback BliiP provides a ‘skills profile’ to help job seekers gain a competitive edge, employers find best fit candidates and educators develop students with the ’employability edge’. 

 

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