As most of us know, interviewing can be an extremely stressful endeavor. For most of us, sitting for thirty plus minutes just talking about ourselves is not only challenging, but also rather uncomfortable. There are dozens upon dozens of tips and tricks articles out there aimed towards helping individuals nail common interview questions and get the job. Many of these articles focus only on how to properly and successfully answer questions posed by potential employers to potential employees. Very seldom does anyone ever discuss interviews the other way around. However, as most of us know, one of the most difficult parts of an interview is when the questioning stops and the interviewer turns to you and asks if you have any questions. Interviewing is a two way process. You are interviewing your potential employer just as much as they are interviewing you. For this reason, you have to ask the right kind of questions to display both your own potential and to test your possible employer’s potential. The following are three essential questions every interviewee should ask during an interview:
How does this position fit into the company’s long term plans?
This question demonstrates you interest in the company as a whole and in the future of the company. By discussion “long term” aspects of the company and the company’s plan, you illustrate that you are interested in truly contributing to the company in the future and that you are not interested in a career rather than just another job. Furthermore, this question allows you to evaluate the company you are vying for. You can use this question to truly determine if you are interested in the position at hand and the company as a whole. This question shows that you are interesting in excelling at this position. You demonstrate an interest in the growth of your position, which is one of the most important aspects of any new job. By opening up a general discussion of the company’s business goals and strategies, you are able to determine whether you truly are a good fit for the position. Be specific with this question. Ask what the company has planned for the position in six months, in a year, and in five years. This will both show your sincere interest in the company and will illuminate your employer’s actual interest in the company.
How would you describe your ideal candidate for this position?
This question enables your interviewer to envision you in the position at hand. With the interviewer’s answer, you can learn exactly what it is the employer is looking for in an employee and then you can discuss the qualities you have that match with what they desire. Allow your interviewer to describe specific qualities they are hoping for in a candidate and then take the time to actually explain how you can perform those tasks or have those specific qualities. While this can be just as difficult and uncomfortable as answering questions about yourself, most interviewers will appreciate your interest in the position and your confidence in your own ability to do the work. Also, be sure to use your interviewer’s answer as an opportunity to decide if you are actually compatible with the position.
How do you expect this position to support you and your work?
By asking this question, you allow your interviewer to take some of the spotlight and get yourself out of the line of fire for a bit. Showing interest in your employer’s position demonstrates that you are concerned with doing your best to support and aid them in their work. Your interviewer will appreciate the concern with their individual interests for the position. By asking how your potential position supports their work, you illustrate that you are interested in succeeding for your own sake and for the sake of others in the company. It is important to remember that part of being a leader is also being comfortable and capable of being led.