Job Hunting // October 22, 2012
An interview is essential not just for the employer, but for you, the candidate. Just because you may be in need of a job doesn’t mean every open position is right for you. The interview process is your opportunity to find out if a position at a particular company makes sense for you and your career goals.
The key to finding the right career fit is to ask intelligent questions that require the interviewer to provide you with more information than you can find in the job description or on their company website.
Just as Forbes.com cites that there are only three real questions that matter to recruiters and interviewers, I believe that there are only three real questions that matter to the person being interviewed. Here are three essential questions every Made Woman should ask when she’s in the hot seat:
- Are there opportunities for advancement or growth within this position and the company overall? – Most Made Women have plans to climb the ladder, so you’ve got to find out immediately if that’s even a possibility. If the company is small with just a few permanent positions, odds are there isn’t a lot of room for upward mobility. Likewise, if you’re a specialist in your field (for example, I am the only public relations specialist at my company), find out where there might be room for you to continue to advance, ie: might you eventually become a manager or director?
- What type of person do you hope to see fill this position? – This is my favorite question to ask at an interview. Usually interviewers are impressed that a candidate is showing thought for the best interest of the company. It will also get them to tell you what they want before you reveal too much of yourself. If they are looking for an outgoing, outspoken candidate and you’re typically more introverted and don’t like to put yourself out there (or vice versa), that’s a good sign that the job isn’t for you.
- What is the company culture like in terms of work/life balance? – No matter how ambitious or how dedicated you are, everyone needs time off for travel, family or R&R. The interview is a great opportunity to find out what a company or position is like after hours – if they have after hours. You can usually tell just in the way the interviewer reacts to the question if the work/life balance is there or not.
When preparing for an interview, plan on asking these three questions (or something similar, depending on what’s most important to you!) of the interviewer. The most surefire way to land your dream job is to interview the employer as they go through the process of interviewing you. So think up those need-to-knows, relax during the interview and dazzle the employer with thoughtful, savvy questions.