As part of my presentation to the students who attended Endicott College’s Mingle & Dress for Success Night held at the school’s Beverly, Mass., campus recently, I discussed with the attendees an element of the interview process that is often overlooked by those who are competing for a new position.
The missing component?
Interview the interviewer!
I explained to the students that when your interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, you should have several prepared and ready to go. Too often, we hear from interviewers that when it came time for the applicant to ask them questions, none were asked. Clearly, this is a missed opportunity for the candidate to articulate their strong interest in the position by asking several detailed questions.
Here are 10 good questions you can ask your interviewer when you are competing for a job and they want to determine the level of earnestness you have in landing the position at their company:
- What are the strategic plans for growth at the company over the next three years?
- What opportunities for internal advancement exist for me, assuming that I do a quality job in the role that you first hire me to do?
- Does your company offer tuition reimbursement or assistance; should I desire to obtain an advanced degree?
- What would a typical day look like for me; if you were to offer me a job and I were to accept it?
- What is the company’s commitment to community service, particularly in those communities where you conduct your business?
- Who are your main competitors, and how do you go about beating them, day in and day out, in the markets where you directly compete against each other?
- Looking at your past five or 10 key hires at the director or vice president level, how many people were promoted from within the organization into these roles, versus hired from the outside?
- Assuming that I hold up my end of the bargain and perform at a respectable level, what is the likelihood that I can enjoy a fruitful career with your organization, and why?
- Does your company have a mission statement or core values statement? If so, what are they?
- How would you describe the culture of your organization?
As part of this event, Endicott College had asked several local business leaders from very diverse backgrounds to “host” a table of students that evening. Many of these CEOs approached me at the conclusion of the event and shared their experiences related to interviewing and selecting and hiring employees at their companies. Many said they had experienced the situation where the people who were being interviewed asked no questions during the exercise.
Are you looking for ways to differentiate yourself in a challenging job market? Clearly, posing several well-articulated questions when you get your chance is one key component to making this happen.
Be prepared to “interview the interviewer” when you get that chance!
Do you agree with this advice?
Let us know your thoughts.
Tom Hart has been a top executive in the financial, technology and human services industries for over 30 years. Prior to joining Eliassen Group in September, he served as the executive vice president for Veritude.