Unexpectedly Intriguing!
16 May 2011
Interview - Source: laborbuzz.labor.ny.gov

Suppose for a moment that you've overcome one of the "worst job markets in years", to quote what the AFL-CIO backed Economic Policy Institute is telling today's college grads, and landed an interview for a job that promises to provide real opportunities for you and your career. You're ready to answer any question that might come your way, but are you ready to ask any?

That's more important than you might think, because the questions you ask about the job you are being considered to fill and about the company for which you might soon work can communicate a lot about how interested you are in both.

If say you don't have any questions, then the interviewer might wonder about how interested you really are in the job and the company. And then they might wonder if those other candidates for the opening might not be a better choice.

That's not the kind of wondering you'd like your interviewer to do after your interview, so it would certainly be to your advantage to ask some key questions to signal that you genuinely are interested in the position.

What questions should you ask? For starters, you might consider choosing several questions or asking variations of them from the following list, which was compiled by Ian Kaye:

  1. Why is this position open? Are there any key changes since the last person held the role? – This will give you information about the position, the company and anything that might have taken place upon the absence of the previous employee. It gives you a feel for what role you would be possibly stepping into.
  2. Why did the last person move on? (wait for answer) Is this a trend over the recent few years? – This puts the ball in your court, shows you are confident and gives you important information about the position you are considering stepping into.
  3. If I were the person to take this role, how would you like me to perform in the role as compared to the previous person?
  4. What are the main objectives of this role?
  5. Of those objectives, what is most pressing? What would you like to have done in the next 3 months?
  6. How would you describe your management style? (If you are feeling really confident ask: How would your colleagues describe your style of management?)
  7. Of the people that you’ve seen join the company at my level, can you name a few reasons why they failed?
  8. Do you think the culture here is similar to X (name rival company)? What are the strengths of this culture?

Not every question would be appropriate for every interview, but you certainly could use these questions to help separate yourself from the pack and put your future fully in your hands.

And better in your hands now than those of the labor unions and the federal government, who really haven't done anything to help the U.S. job situation since the recession began.


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