INTERVIEW TIPS - The 5 Questions You Must Ask During Your Job Interview
Here are 5 of the most important questions you should be asking during a job interview.
1) What, if any, are your plans for transitioning from remote to in person work?
As offices reopen and we begin to see the “new normal” of office culture, many questions about the future of remote work, hybrid models and in-person office experience are being raised.
As much as business leaders and offices are struggling to navigate the return to work, so too are workers left unsure and with divided opinions about how they want to proceed with returning to work in person.
A recent Stanford study found a great diversity of opinions among workers about how much, if at all, they were prepared to return to work.
Of respondents, the median indicated that many would like to return to work two days per week. However, 20% indicated that they never want to return to in-person work, while on the other side of the spectrum, 25% would like to return to work full time.
For all these reasons, I think if you are applying for a remote role, or for a remote role with in-person possibilities, it is very important to establish clarity on how this may evolve over time.
The first step is to determine what you are comfortable with, and what your ideal balance in your work life might look like. Once you are confident that you know how you would like to proceed in a new work environment, you should absolutely take the opportunity in an interview to get as much clarity as possible about how the company may proceed with plans to move from remote to in-person or hybrid model work situations.
2) How would you describe the corporate culture here?
As many have transitioned to remote work, and certain companies have given up their offices entirely, one could be forgiven for asking, are corporate and office culture really so important anymore?
To understand the importance of corporate culture in this “new normal” of work, we have to look at what has changed for workers since many transitioned to remote work.
I think that with so much change to how we do business over the last year, corporate culture is one of the biggest factors you should consider when weighing the possibility of a new position—and an interview is a great time to do some fact and opinion finding to help you make an informed decision.
Data shows that 43% of employees who left a job indicate that corporate culture was a driving force for them to quit. When you consider that 30% of workers have left a job within the first 90 days, you want to think carefully about how you will fit into the future of a company’s work culture.
3) What does success look like in this position?
I love this question, because I think that it often comes as a surprise to recruiters or hiring managers, and it helps them associate hiring you with results.
I think that asking this question will not only give you clarity on the role, but will also show some of your best qualities to the person with whom you are interviewing.
First off: confidence. Most people in the interview room (or, these days, the Zoom call) will be trying their hardest to display that they have the skills and experience for the job. By asking how you might succeed at the role, you’re showing that you are results driven, and ready to take on any challenges presented in the new role.
But confidence will only serve you well when coupled with humility. A survey found that 72% of HR professionals found “over-confidence” to be the biggest personality turn-off in a candidate.
In asking what “success” would look like in the role to which you are applying, you show that you are confident in your skills and experience to take on the role, but that you are approaching it with the goal of learning. You show that you have the humility to take cues and to treat your new role as an opportunity for growth.
Finally, asking this question shows that you are thinking one step ahead. Most people in an interview won’t be thinking much past the hope of getting an offer. Showing that you have a forward-thinking mindset that is firmly planted in the future goals for your prospective position will show an interviewer that you’re not just ready to get rolling on day one, but in fact you are already planning for how you will be successful in your new position.
Here are some other ways you can ask this question to show that you are ready to learn and meet any challenges:
“If I were hired for this role, what would be the most important goals in the first six months?”
“What would I need to know about this job on day one?”
“What are some ways that I could improve upon progress made by the person who previously held this role?”
“If I were to be able to go above and beyond in this role, what benchmarks could I hope to achieve in the first year?”
4) Has the company added any resources to help staff navigate the challenges of the past year?
I believe that how a company supports its staff says a lot about the company, and this should be something you take into account when considering a prospective employer.
Certainly the past year has given companies ample opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to supporting staff. Many companies have invested in non-traditional benefits in order to buffer some of the challenging effects of the past year on staff members.
5) I would love to hear a bit more about your background, and how you came to be part of this organization.
Why not make space for the interviewer to share a little bit about themselves. This question isn’t just about gathering relevant information about your prospective role or employer, it’s also about showcasing your communication skills and connecting more deeply with the interviewer.
Once you’ve given your interviewer a chance to share a bit about themselves, make sure that you express your gratitude. “Thank you so much for sharing that,” will go a long way, and is sure to leave your interview on a good note.
While these are some valuable and productive questions to carry with you into your interview, the truth is that there are no right or wrong questions. The important thing is always that you are prepared to engage with your interviewer in a way that gives the best impression possible, and that you feel empowered to gather the information you need to make an informed decision.
As bad as you want the job, trust me, they want you too! So take a deep breath and remember a moment when you felt most confident, and prepare to ace your interview.
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