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How to interview the person interviewing YOU

So, you’re getting ready for an interview, CONGRATULATIONS. But are you really ready? Yes, you’ve got an extra copy of your resume; yes, you’ve done your research on the company; and yes, you’ve even looked up people related to the company on LinkedIn, but is there anything you’re missing?

For a lot of people, interviews are a form of stress and anxiety. They can be extremely intimidating. Something that could decide your entire career path based on an hour-long talk? Sometimes even thirty minutes or two hours. By someone who barely knows you. And then it ends with the worst question possible: “Do you have any questions for me?”

The first response you have is “no”. Because you’re either so anxious and nervous that you want to leave the room as soon as possible, or because you’re so sure about this place that you don’t have anything to ask. However, it is always recommended having at least a few questions to ask your interviewer. Whether it’s for work, university, or even a loan. This helps show that not only did you take the time and effort out to prepare, but that you’re very interested in what’s in front of you. In fact, sometimes these questions can help you decide whether the place is right for you after all.

Here are some tips and tricks by experts and managers to help you turn the table and interview the person sitting in front of you.

Question 1: “Why is the position/ job being filled/ posted?”

You want to ask this question to understand whether the company is growing or whether the last person in this position wasn’t meeting company expectations and was let go. In fact, it could also be that the previous person was given a promotion or that they left to find a better job. In each of these cases you can use the answer to create follow up questions. For example, if the last person was let go, you can start asking about what the company expects from you now that you’re in this position. Or you can talk about career growth and ask how long the previous employee held the position before being promoted or the circumstances of the promotion.

This helps you understand whether the workplace environment is healthy and positive and how much room for growth there actually is, or whether it’s a chaotic or underpaying job and you may want to look elsewhere for employment and career prospects. It may seem weird to ask this question but it gives you an idea of culture and expectations without asking those questions directly.

Question 2: “What expectations do you have from me in this position, and what do you consider as being successful in regards to it?”

As mentioned before this is the type of question that helps gain insight into the company’s expectations and clarifies your role in this position. Because it is a more dynamic and open-ended question, you will hopefully be given a valuable and information response than asking about a specific expectation and receiving the standard yes or no answer. You can also gauge which expectations are realistic or unrealistic and which skills may be missing that you may now need to learn or relearn when starting this job. It’s better to find out about these aspects in the interview than when receiving the offer letter and being surprised by the expectations attached to the role.

Question 3: “What are the organization’s core values?”

This is one of the best places to ask this question. Rather than waiting and seeing the values of the company once you’ve accepted the position, you can ask this question from your interviewer and get a rough idea and gain insight in regards to the culture of the organization. You may identify these values and what they mean and how they will relate to the work you’ll be doing. If the values relate to you on a personal level then you know you’ll be happy working in the organization. You can even share what these values mean to you. This sort of question may also help you score points with your interviewer as it again shows your preparation and seriousness in regards to the position.

You can also follow up this question by asking about the formality of the workspace environment. Talk about the relationship with managers and their management styles. How flexible is the work schedule, and what are the benefits employees may receive? These are all important questions that you may want to ask before concluding your interview.

Question 4:  "When and how did you join the company, and how long have you been working here?”

This is a question that isn’t aimed at the company, but rather aimed specifically at the interviewer. This question can also help you gain insight into the company but it is important in a different way. It helps you build a personal relationship with your interviewer, and allows them to share their experiences and knowledge with you. The more personal and interesting your interview, the better impact you’ll leave. It also helps you judge whether the company is a good place to work or not as a person’s personal experiences help bring a touch of honesty to the conversation. They won’t be following the usual company line of how “great” their company is and how it’s the “top company to work at in the region”. You’ll be able to tell if they’re happy and if they love working there versus their hesitation or reluctance to talk about the company, which is usually linked to bad experiences.

Question 5: “What skills and attributes are valued the most in someone who is being hired for this job?"

Since your resume already lists your skills and experiences, the interviewer will feel engaged as you probe them to see what the company is looking for in you. Not only will this gain you more points with the interviewer but it will also give you a sense of what the company is like. Which skills do they value and reward, do they give more importance to strategy or do the accomplishment of a task? And do the skills they value mirror the ones you do? If not, then you may want to look for an alternate place of employment for the job position you’ve applied for. It’s better to have a job in a place which recognizes and prides the values and skills you do, than working in a place that doesn’t. If you don’t, more often than not it will lead to conflict, disappointment, and maybe a shifting of your heart from that career path.

Now that you know which questions you should keep in your mind or write down before heading into an interview, you can be more confident in your preparation for it. If you have a bad interview you can always recover using this list of questions as well. The company should be doing a good job to leave an impression on you as much as you are trying to leave a good impression on them too.

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