Very often, interviewees are on the back foot when it comes to interviews. Yet just as the interviewer needs to determine whether the interviewee represents a ‘good fit’ for the company, so too should the interviewees assess whether the company is also right for them. Making the wrong choice about a company can prove costly, for both the company and the employee. Here are three questions to ask yourself about any job, and the interview will help you find the answers.
1. If I join this organisation, how likely is it that I will make the best use of my skills, knowledge and experience, and will the company help me develop them further?
It’s essential to work for a company that will make good use of your skills, and which will enable you to thrive. To determine whether this will be the case, the following are good questions to ask your interviewer:
- “What are the particular skills and knowledge that will make someone the ideal candidate for this role?”
- “What are the attributes that make people successful in this company?”
- “What do your most successful people find particularly satisfying about this role, and what do they feel are the more challenging aspects of the role?”
These questions are open and direct; the answers to them will give you good insights about the requirements of the role. Your interviewer’s response will either reassure you that you are qualified to do the job, or prompt you to reconsider your application. Still another good question to ask is:
- “What opportunities for professional development are available to your staff?”
This question lets you know whether you will have opportunities to develop your skills, and what those opportunities look like.
2. Is the company positive about my CV, and about me?
It’s important to work for a company that feels positive about you and what you have to offer. To find out the answer to this, ask your interviewer any of the following:
- “How do my skills and knowledge-base fit with your requirements?”
- “What are the challenges facing your business today, and where do you feel I can add value?”
The responses to these two questions will reveal how the interviewer feels about both you as a candidate and the skills and expertise you have.
3. Is the company culture a good fit for me, such that I will thrive there?
The culture of a company can mean the difference between being hired and not hired, and staying in a company and resigning as early as is permitted. Here are a few questions to ask to determine a company’s culture:
- “How often do you meet your staff to discuss work?”
This will give you an insight into style of management and whether it’s a style that works for you.
- “How would your people describe the work culture here?”
This will give you an insight into what your work-life balance may look like if you work for the company.
Other good questions are:
- “Do staff socialise after work or do they tend to go straight home?”
This will tell you how close-knit the company is.
- “Can you give me an example of what it means to be a team player?”
This will give you an insight into the kinds of behaviours that are encouraged.
- “How do you reward exceptional performance?”
The response to this question will give you an insight into the ‘reward culture’, assuming there is one. Bonuses are rarely given these days but many employers still give additional perks.
There are plenty of other ways to find out about a company’s culture, and you should do so well before the interview - the company’s website, social media profiles such as LinkedIn and Twitter and job websites such as Glassdoor are a good start.
Interviews should be a two-way conversation between adults. Being inquisitive will serve you well because it will show that you are genuinely interested in the role. By keeping in mind the three questions suggested, you will be able to ask relevant questions which will lead to a more balanced conversation and enable you to determine whether the company is right for you, too.
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