Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking, frustrating, and overwhelming. You might be so concerned with studying up on what questions the interviewer might ask you that you forget another important part – questions you should be asking them. In your preparation research you should always jot down things that you want to ask. If you end up forgetting to jot them down, or simply aren’t sure what to ask, here are some solid questions to ask your interviewer, plus some good etiquette tips.
Preparation & Etiquette
In any interview, preparation is paramount. Do your research. Find out all you can on the company, products and services they offer, clients, employees, executive management, and any other available information. Put yourself in a position in which you can answer, and ask, relevant, industry/company-aligned questions. The most important thing is to ask questions that are relevant. The goal of your questions is to let the interviewer know that you are knowledgeable, passionate, and interested. Also keep in mind that you want to ask questions as organically as possible as the interview progresses. Don’t try to rapid-fire your questions at the interviewer. When the inevitable part comes when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us,” you’ll be ready to ask your big questions in succession. There will be a time to fit in each of you questions, and some of them might even be answered without having to ask. If that’s the case, a simple, “I was wondering about that,” could be appropriate. Just remember to give input at natural breaks in the conversation. Never try to talk over or interrupt the interviewer. If you don’t think there a good time to ask questions at all, just wait until the end of the interview. Also, be sure to make it aware that you are engaged and listening to the interviewer’s answers.
Asking the Right Questions
Below are some ideas to get you started asking the right questions during a formal interview:
Notice that none of these examples concern basic company information. Don’t ask questions that could be easily googled. Softball questions will get you nowhere. By asking the right kind of industry/position aligned questions, you’ll come across as confident and competent.
Ending on a Good Note
As your interview comes to a close you’ll want to wrap it up with questions that make you memorable. Often the interviewer will close it out by asking if you have any other questions you’d like to ask. Always ask about the next steps in the hiring process and try to tie up any loose ends. Some examples are:
Now is the time for your “heavy-hitter” questions. Try to make a personal connection, add some kind of extra value to yourself, or follow up with an in-depth question on a talking point brought up earlier in the interview. Here are some good examples to get you started:
With these questions in mind, you should be well prepared to make yourself stand out from other candidates and establish yourself as a confident, competent, ambitious prospect.
Virtually everyone can be found online today. For job searchers, this is a good thing. Searching and applying for jobs online is probably the most effective way to spread your resume around to different potential employers in an efficient manner. You can find hirers, and hirers can find you. Another effective aspect of online job searching is networking, specifically networking and applying through social media. Job searchers likely know that networking is one of the keys to landing a career job, but knowing how, and where, to spend your online networking efforts is vital.
Most everyone is familiar with the most popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using these sites for job searching and networking purposes is much different than using them for regular social media. The first priority when job searching through popular social media sites is cleaning up your profile. Job searchers should audit every comment, picture, and post to ensure nothing can be seen as inappropriate by employers. If you wouldn’t say it or show it in an interview, remove it from your profile.
Every job searcher and every career professional in general should be using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is essentially the working professional version of Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile should be comprised of your resume, a professional looking picture, a short bio, and a brief summary or list of your skills. Users can apply directly for jobs on a company’s LinkedIn profile, as well as make connections with other professionals in their field. One of the most attractive things about LinkedIn for job searchers is the ability to see who has viewed your profile. This lets you know if employers are considering your application and also lets you know to whom who you can address your follow-up emails.
A good idea is to aggregate all of your social media profiles so that you can efficiently search for jobs across all platforms. Many various sites and apps like Career Arc exist for the sole purpose of social media recruiting. There are even career-specific sites that will help you narrow your search further.
Certain sites you can use for job searching will depend upon the career you’re going into. For creative-focused seekers, Behance and other portfolio sites like it will prove helpful. Employers and other creatives can view your work and provide comments. For healthcare professionals, sites like Medzilla allow you to view industry-specific job openings. There are numerous specified job sites like these for virtually all industries.
For anyone with any kind of professional portfolio or body of work, it is a good idea to create your own personal website specifically to show your work to employers. Simple website building sites like Wix or Squarespace allow anyone to create professional looking website for free. There are also a number of sites for hiring web designers to create sites for you. The more work you put out there, the better your chances are of employers taking notice.
Letting your social networks know you are job searching can be a delicate matter. Posting or tweeting an announcement on Facebook or Twitter isn’t always the best method, especially if you currently have a job and don’t want your employer to know you’re searching. Instead, send personalized, professional messages to connections informing them you are on the job hunt and would appreciate any connections or references they could provide. Personal messages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are far more likely to elicit responses than general posts or tweets for everyone to see. In these personal messages, include links to your website, portfolio, resume, or any other valuable information to your job search. If you do not already know the person you’re messaging, write the message like you would a cover letter, only much more condensed. Introduce yourself, briefly explain you’re on the job hunt, and politely ask if they would be willing to lend you some connections or advice.
Job searchers should spend at least an hour a day looking for job openings and potential connections on social media. The old phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is extremely relevant in the job hunt. Far too often searchers only spend their time filling out online applications instead of trying to make connections with people at the company with an opening. Remember that all you need is a little help to get your foot in the door. The rest is on you.
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