Preparing for The Interview, Including Your Own Questions

It’s hard to know what to expect walking in to an interview. There are lots of horror stories out there about bad interviews and interviewers. The best you can do is to prepare, suggestions for which are outlined below.

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Ask for the names and positions of people you will be meeting. This allows you to look on the company website beforehand and do a Google search to find out about these folks. If you can get a biography or view a LinkedIn profile, it will give you a better shot at determining the kinds of questions the person might ask you based on their position and background. However, don’t go into the interview spouting off how much you learned about everyone in the room! You will likely scare them off. Use it as a reference only to help you prepare, and if you’re lucky, the interview discussion may turn to commonly-shared interests which would be the time to share that you run marathons or love to bake too.

Brainstorm two sets of questions. The first set of questions you should think about are tough ones the interviewers may ask you. We've covered these this week on our Facebook page so make sure to check it out.

The second set of questions you should brainstorm are those you can ask the interviewer during or after the formal interview. You always need to ask a question, preferably two or three. This shows you are prepared, engaged, and truly interested in the job. Examples are:

·      Is this a new position or did someone occupy it before? If so, why did they leave?

·      In your opinion, what are the best and worst parts about working here?

·      Do you have any reservations about hiring me for this position?

The first two questions will give you a good grasp of the company culture and whether it’s a good fit for you. The third question can be risky but it’s a good one, especially if you’re concerned the interview did not go as well as you hoped. If you do ask it, you need to be prepared to follow-up to the interviewer’s answer. If they say “no, we don’t have any reservations” you’re in luck and should briefly emphasize how excited you are about the role and why you think the company would benefit from hiring you. If they say “yes, we’re not sure you have the right amount or type of experience,” that’s your chance to tell them why you do. When you prepare ahead for this response, think in terms of selling yourself to the company. They don’t want to hear that the company is a good fit for you; they’ll want to be convinced that you’re the right choice for them because of what you’ll bring to their organization. This is your chance to convince them!

Write down some quick notes on a notepad to bring with you to the interview. If you get nervous and can’t think of that one example you wanted to give, or questions to ask, you’ll have hints in front of you. Don’t be afraid to jot down some notes during the interview if you feel it’s appropriate.

Planning questions ahead of time for an interview goes a long way. You will come across as more confident and be able to speak clearly and concisely about your experience. In addition, the interviewers will note your thorough preparation, which shows that you are serious about the job and leaves a lasting impression.