An interview is a two-way street and, though it’s often overlooked, questions you should ask as a candidate are just as important as a good resumé and a power suit.
Toward the end of your meeting, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. If not, speak up and ask if he or she would mind if you took a few moments to ensure a full understanding of the role and responsibilities. This shows you’re engaged, enthusiastic and interested. Having no questions prepared could send the message that you lack leadership, are ill-prepared, not interested – or some disastrous combination of them all.
Common questions that impress recruiters and hiring managers alike are:
• What training is in place to assist me in getting settled in the role and to ensure I’ve got all the tools needed to succeed?
• Are there any skills or experience that you feel may be lacking from my resumé, which may prevent me from getting the job? (This will allow you to know where you stand; if the response is something like lack of Word experience, you can take free online training or, if it’s experience, you can often volunteer to gain more exposure.)
• Do you believe in promoting from within? What would your succession plan be once I’ve proven myself and have appropriate tenure? (Be careful not to focus too much on this point though; you don’t want the decision maker thinking you’re only using this role as a stepping stone.)
• What’s the company’s five-year plan? Will you be growing, moving, reorganizing, opening new divisions or brands?
To show you’ve taken the time to learn about the organization and role, ask a question such as this: “I understand your company participates in the annual trade show for our industry; would this be a typical opportunity for me to get involved in, and are there any other organizations/memberships that you would encourage I join?”
Don’t forget to ask what his or her preferred post-interview follow-up procedure is, and when he or she anticipates making a hiring decision.
Be mindful that you’re not asking too many questions (or questions that are easily located on the company’s website!). If all goes well, you’ll have plenty of time to present all your queries in the second/third interviews.
In addition, it’s crucial not to focus too much on promotions, relocations, salary, education subsidies or other perks. You should know the majority of this information before the interview anyway and, if not, you haven’t done your research (or this role isn’t for you) – so don’t waste your own or the interviewer’s time!
Lana Bradshaw is the Branch Manager of recruitment firm Holloway Schulz
and Partners. Visit www.hollowayschulz.ca for more information.
From Next January/12