OK so we’ve worked hard to secure a job interview – most of us actually feel that we can clinch the job if we can just meet with the hiring manager and talk through how good we are. Up until this point the emphasis has been on you, your CV, your application, your flexibility to meet on a set day…. Now you get to meet the hiring manager and it’s all about you performing… Yes and no, yes – you do need to articulate yourself and respond to questions confidently whilst allowing your lovely personality to shine through. But this is also where the tables turn, it is the time when you meet your potential boss in your potential office building and make a decision as to whether you can work with these people or whether it is just not for you. Often we forget that the interview is a two way process, placing all emphasis on ourselves alongside a great deal of pressure. Take a deep breath – it’s a meeting, you are testing them as much as they are testing you.
Be prepared – practice scenarios to talk through which are relevant to the role and do your research on the business. 9 times out of 10 you will be asked if you know who they are and what they do. Now here’s the bit that people forget – your questions to the employer.
You will almost certainly be offered the opportunity to ask questions as the interview draws to a close, here are some things to consider:
- Are there any issues the team are currently facing which you would like me to address?
- How well is change received in the organisation and what is your policy on implementing it?
- In the bigger picture, how does this role fit organisationally within the business structure?
- What in your opinion are the most enjoyable aspects of the role?
- Is there anything else you would like to ask me – anything I haven’t covered or have been unclear on?
Avoid questions such around areas such as money, holidays and sick leave – this will be clarified should you be offered the role and you should have a fair idea having researched before the interview. Do not be afraid to take a neatly written (ideally typed) list of questions to the interview in a folder and ask permission to refer to them when prompted to ask questions. By not asking questions, you are not demonstrating a keen interest in the role. Keep the balance right, do not bombard the interviewer with lots of questions keep them to a concise list which is structured to ensure you are told everything you need to know about the role.
Another tip: when you are researching, find something out about the business which is in the public domain such as new product / initiative / partnering etc and mention this in one of your questions. For example; “I was interested to read that you are currently integrating a new web system within the organisation – will it have any direct effect on this department?” A sneaky way to demonstrate that you have indeed been doing your homework and are very interested in the business. I once had a client call me after interviewing one of my candidates laughing because my candidate knew more about a new initiative within the business than he did. He promised to find out the response to her question for next time they met. She got the job!