Rules of Engagement
Preparation is vital. Know the company well, history, leadership profiles, financials if possible, and most of all the culture. Knowing as much as possible about your prospective employer and the role that you are being considered for is of upmost importance. Of course, no two interviews are ever the same and the line of questions that you take will be determined by the nature of the company and the people who are interviewing you. Of foremost importance, be you. Self-confidence adds tremendous value. And remember, most interviewers are not well trained at interviewing and may not know the role you are applying for as well as expected, but they do know the culture.
I have always been more impressed by candidates who ask me questions. Definitely your questions should add value to the interview so plan accordingly. But please remember to keep your end of the process balanced and never overrun the interviewer. Remember, however, the interviewer should control the interview. You want to make sure you answer questions well and provide clear examples concisely and in brief format. Be succinct. Do not build a watch.
There are at least three questions you should consider asking. Remember the aim is to sell yourself as a bright, motivated, confident, and ambitious individual but not to the point of being too obvious about it. The people who are interviewing you will have heard it all before and they will be looking for someone who has that extra ambition to excel or personality which sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. An outstanding personality will usually pave the way to a successful interview.
Here are three questions to consider: What qualities are you looking for in the person you are hoping to appoint? This may sound like a very obvious starting point but it is vital for both parties to grasp exactly what it is needed from the candidate in terms of skills and experience. Remember the whole point of the interview is to prove you are the person that they want and are looking for.
What scope is there for personal development at your company? It is important to show any prospective employer that you are the type of person who is ambitious and is looking to move their career forward. Any ambitious and forward thinking company will be looking for like minded individuals. Ask a question which will give you the chance to show just how driven you are.
Is there anything you have seen in the other people on the shortlist that you have not seen in me? This is a great question to throw into the mix as the interview is drawing to a natural close. I remember a candidate asking me this once and I had to smile because it left me with nowhere to go. As well as turning the tables on the panel it is also a great way of gauging just how well your skills fit this role throughout the course of this selection process. You should always be looking to improve and getting feedback from an interviewer is a crucial part of this. It is a risky strategy to take because you might get an answer you are not happy with. But if you are prepared to take a risk, then this final question is a gamble that just might pay off.
Bob Underwood, CPC
Underwood Recruiting, Inc.