Asking questions during an interview is just as important as answering them. It can prove the difference between yourself and a competing candidate for that sole job. To help you prepare for this important part of the interview process, here are 3 of the best questions to ask and why during an interview scenario to help you land that dream job. (plus 3 more in part 2) Here are her first three suggestions:
1. If I were to start tomorrow what would be the top priority on my to do list? The reason this is important is because it gives the prospective employer an insight into how deeply you are thinking about the role, job functions and challenges you may face and ways to remedy them. It can indicate how much you desire the position, as well as showing you are proactive and ready to tackle the priorities within the first 3 months. Usually when you start a particularly role you are coming in to solve a problem, so by asking this, it shows you are excited to meet with this problem head-on and help brainstorm solutions to solve it for further interviews.
2. What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to the position? This is a great question to ask as it allows the employer to talk freely about what they hope the candidate can bring and the expectations of the position. It gives you insight into the failings of the person who held the role previously and also of other candidates if any.
3. What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well? By asking the employer what two personality traits someone needs to do the job well; you’re essentially trying to find out if you fit their criteria and if you have what it takes to thrive within the new role. Most organisations would have developed what is called a Sten profile of the ideal candidate for this role. A Sten profile is essentially a set of personality traits when combined together, would allow the newly appointed employee to achieve success within the role; they give the prospect employer insight into the candidates thinking style, how they relate to others within the organisation and how they cope under pressure. Robust assessments will usually use a combination of the personality profile and competencies required for the role to form the basis of the job advert and interview questions. The personality traits will be investigated in a psychometric test which may or may not comprise a part of the assessment process; but by asking the questioning you able to better understand what they are looking for and how you fit within this profile. No prospective employer ever expects to gain an applicant with a perfect Sten profile however when narrowing down candidates, individuals who more closely match the Sten profile and meet the competencies they are looking for will be selected. In addition. Some employers may not know the answer to the question so by asking you are demonstrating that you’ve really thought about the role and really want to gain an understanding on what type of candidate they are looking for. This serves a dual purpose, as the answer will help you to understand what aspects of your personality would enable you to do the job well, for example: if your role requires heavy client facing and business development or delivering pitches to win new business, someone who is quiet shy and introverted may find these aspects of the role quite difficult; so by asking this question it helps you to think about how you would potentially navigate this pitfall if you were to undertake this role. Finally this question builds on the previous questions around the culture of the organisation; by giving you an insight into the ideal candidate for this role and how they would fit in with the culture and if this is aligned with your working style and personality.
4. What would you say are the most important aspects of your culture? What type of candidate would be a good fit within this organization?
It’s a great question because you are giving them an opportunity to talk and see if you are likely to fit within their team. Maybe they have an open culture? Dynamic team? Networking? Talk a lot? This will help you make a decision if offered the position. It also gives them a chance to tell you about the most important aspects of their culture. For example, they may say “we pride ourselves on client satisfaction and going above and beyond for our clients.” Does this parallel with the same values you take pride in? It is great as it gives you an indication into what you expect if you become a part of their team and can be a questions to ponder over at home after the interview.
The second part of the question you are asking is largely based around whether you think you would fit in the organization specifically and whether they think you will fit into the organization. Do they mention any of your traits or strengths as examples? This can be a great gauge to see if they see you fitting within their team and if there may be any future issues.
This is your chance to give the employer a mini interview on what it is like to work for their organization.
5. I know this company prides itself on X and Y, what would you say are the most important aspects of your culture?
Similar to the previous question, however, the difference here is that it shows you have done your research. Sometimes you find “X and Y” through their website, which is fine, however sometimes largely expected by selected candidates. However, if “X and Y” isn’t listed on their website, it shows that you have gone above and beyond and found other means to find about the employer. Maybe you know someone within the company? Have heard about it from previous colleagues? Don’t be afraid to find alternative ways of gathering information about the company; this can align with one of their cultural traits such as innovative solutions, or if we use the example from one of last weeks questions about going “above and beyond for our clients” this will reflect that also.
Again, within their answer, it will always reflect the visions of the company so can help you understand where you may fit in and all the benefits you can gain from working within the organization.
6. Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?
One of the best questions to ask as it helps address any issues about you as a candidate. they may ask you some questions about leadership capabilities throughout the interview. Maybe you answered it well, but maybe you forgot something which may lead you to feel your answer wasnt as convincing as you had hoped for. By asking this question, it permits you the opportunity to clarify any of these answers or any issues they may have with you as a candidate. Ultimately it helps strengthen your position as a candidate. Leave no stone unturned, it gives you an opportunity to give the employer as much information as possible to ensure you are the right candidate.
With a plethora of potential questions to ask should we ask them all? We suggest not. Although asking questions is important, you don’t want to bombard them with too many. Maybe 2-4 is a good range, however, you should be able to gauge this by the body language of the interviewers and how strongly you felt the interview went.
Also in this particular stage, try to avoid any specific details or discussions about salary negotiations. This is not the time. A better time to do this would be once you have been offered the position before you negotiate salary. If they ask about your expected salary, you can give them a range to try and negotiate a more specific number upon being give the job.
Be sure to prepare for questions you may be asked, research about their company and be sure to think up some great questions to ask them. It can be the difference between getting the job or not.
If you are looking for more support and assistance for you executive job hunt, please visit Executive Career Management http://www.careerintelligence.com/ecm/ and find out how we can help you maximise your career opportunities.