Past Issues

September 20, 2010

Impress The Interviewer
With These Questions

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Impress the interviewer ...

Harry Urschel, Technology Recruiter

Most people, when interviewing for a new job, forget the process is supposed to be a 2-way street.

It's as important for you, as a candidate, to determine if the job, the company, the culture, and the work environment is right for you as it is for the company to determine if you're right for them. In order to make a rational judgment as to the fit, you must have your criteria figured out in advance. Having a list of criteria ready helps you tremendously in determining if this role is a match, or not.

Then, it's up to you to ask the questions, and do the digging necessary to see how well the position and the organization match your list.

How do you determine the fit? First, create your list.

  • What kind of work environment suits you best?
  • What characteristics are important to you in a Manager?
  • What are your true "values" in your job or environment?
  • Do you work better as an individual contributor or as part of a team?
  • Are you ready to step up to new responsibilities or still need time to develop?
  • How far are you willing to commute to work?
  • Do you work best in a structured environment, or with a great deal of freedom?
  • Are you looking for an opportunity to be creative, or work within established guidelines?
  • Do you prefer an environment that allows you to build relationships easily?
  • Do you prefer a role with a lot of contact with others, or one where you work on your own?
These, and many other questions help you craft an ideal that suits your personality, work styles, and preferences. Once you have your criteria, you can be much more deliberate in the interview process. A good hiring manager will appreciate your desire to determine the fit for you as much as they are determining your fit for them. They want a good match... from both perspectives.

Throughout the process, ask questions at appropriate times like...
  • Describe the group I would be working with?
  • Where do you see someone successful in this role going next?
  • What personality characteristics tend to be most rewarded in this organization?
  • Would you say this is a very structured environment or not... can you give me examples?
  • What, if any, leadership traits are you looking for in this role?
  • How would you describe the company's values?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • Tell me about your own path in the company.
Depending on your personal criteria, your questions will vary based on what's important to you. Asking these questions throughout the process has multiple benefits.
It provides the answers you need to make an informed decision. It distinguishes you from other candidates that don't ask those introspective questions. And it shows a sincere interest in knowing about the company, the role, and the people -- just to name a few.

Always make sure you're interviewing the interviewer. The process should be a 2-way street.

Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search.

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