A job interview is a two-way street. The job of an interviewer is to provide you, the candidate, with the opportunity to explain how you can add value to the team. They do this through asking a series of questions that are designed to get you talking about your past achievements and future goals. But that’s not the whole picture. A great interview is one where the candidate is so completely engaged in the conversation that you are learning about how the company and team you are interviewing to join fits in with your own career goals and expectations.
A fatal flaw in many job seekers’ interview skill set is a failure to ask as many questions as they can. Questions flip the script of a job interview, making you as much an interviewer as the hiring manager you are speaking with. Take charge of your career and your future by arriving prepared and ready to ask good questions. Feel free to probe for more information about the opportunity. Ask about the team culture, how they measure success, and how they respond to conflict.
Here are three things to keep in mind when asking questions in an interview.
1. Show Your Interest
Excitement and engagement are a big part of what managers are looking for from a new hire, and there is no better way to show how interested you are in the role than to ask questions about it. Be curious. Seek to learn more and draw out the same interest from your interviewer. People love to talk about themselves, which puts you in a great position to learn very valuable insights into the company you are looking to join.
2. Stand Out
By the time hiring managers get to the interview phase, they have evaluated potentially hundreds of candidates. They’ve read resume after resume, and chances are those candidates have already started to blur together in their mind. That’s why the interview stage is such a great opportunity for candidates. It gives you the chance to stand out from the crowd. This is when you can really land the opportunity by asking meaningful and memorable questions.
3. Start a Conversation
When asking questions, steer clear of yes/no questions that fail to engage the interviewer in conversation. The goal is to get the hiring manager talking about something they are passionate about, something they think is important to the success of themselves and their team. By taking the focus away from asking what the company can do for you, instead, you can highlight what value you can bring to the company you are looking to join. It’s not enough to be good at your job. To get hired, you need to be engaged, passionate, and able to start a conversation about the work that you do and how you can do it better than anyone else.
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