Interview Tips: It's Your Turn to "Interview" the Interviewer – A Golden Opportunity

As a hiring manager I’ve conducted countless interviews.  Let me share with you the interviewer’s perspective on how all too many interviews go.

Upon greeting the candidate, I immediately take note of their appropriate business attire and firm handshake to go along with the smile and good eye contact – so far, so good.

We both take our seats and after a little chit-chat, I say “So, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?” What I get in response is an appropriate, succinct 60 second recap of the candidate’s professional background and skills – we’re off to a very good start!

Then I start digging in with the more difficult questions to see if this candidate really has the background I’m looking for.  The answers are perfect.  I think to myself, “I might have a winner here!”

After about 30 minutes of questions I ask the candidate, “So, are there any questions that I can answer for you?” All too often what I get are a few poorly prepared questions, or worse yet, a reply of “No, not really.”  So much of the merit the candidate earned in the first half of the interview now evaporates.

When it’s time to ask questions of the interviewer many job candidates miss a golden opportunity to really set themselves apart from other applicants.  This is their chance to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and engaged candidates for the position.

I recommend that before the interview you prepare a list of typewritten questions to bring to the interview. This will allow the interviewer to see your interest in the position and your insights into their company or industry.  

Here are some questions that you may want to ask when the opportunity presents itself.

1)      Questions about the Interviewer:

  • ·         How long have you been with the company?
  • ·         What attracted you to work for this company?
  • ·         What do you enjoy most about working for the company?
  • ·         What challenges and opportunities do you see for the company in the next 12 months?

2)      Questions about the Position:

  • ·         How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
  • ·         Can you describe a typical day/week in this position?
  • ·         What are opportunities for growth or advancement in this position?
  • ·         Why is the position open at this time?
  • ·         Can you describe the training program at your company?

3)      Questions about the Company and/or Industry (I recommend doing  research in advance of the interview and relate that to the following questions)

  • ·         What are your company’s strengths compared to the competition?
  • ·         What are some of the initiatives that company is looking to undertake in the next 12 months?
  • ·         What are some of the major trends in the industry, and how is the company preparing for those trends?

Remember that when it’s your turn to ask questions in the interview, this is not only your chance to learn more about the company and the position, but a golden opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from the other candidates.

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