You are interviewing them as well
These three questions go beyond the obvious ones such as the title of the job, the job description, the reporting structure, and other basic questions. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll even need to ask those questions, as they’re usually outlined ahead of time for you.
With some preparation and thought you should easily be able to come up with 5-10 questions to ask at a first interview. However, the following three – in some form – should always be asked.
These will they help you ascertain if the job for which you are interviewing meets the criterion of your perfect job. The answers, when put together, will give you a fairly accurate picture of what’s really going on behind the interview.
1. What are the priorities in this position that will need to be addressed immediately?
A title alone tells you nothing about a job. The job description won’t reveal much either other than whether or not you’re functionally capable of doing what’s required on a daily basis. You want to hear from the interviewers what their take is on what the job entails. You want to get a sense of the unique characteristics of this job.
If you don’t have any of this information yet, this answer will begin to clue you in about both the supervisor and the previous employee. If you have been provided with some details already, the answer should match with what you’ve already learned.
2. What kind of person is the interviewer looking for?
Workaholics? Ones who are self-motivated and manage themselves well? People who work well in teams or committees? Employees who keep their supervisor informed of “where they are with things” on a daily basis? What type of employee are they looking for?
This tells you something about the pervasive culture in the company and department. Companies and departments tend to be made up of similar types of people that are in harmony with the company culture and philosophy.
People who are accustomed to thinking for themselves will find themselves frustrated in a company that has a more dictatorial style. Those who perform better when they’re told what to do will find themselves adrift in a company that requires its employees to think for themselves.
3. How long have you been here and what keeps you here?
The answer to this question will give you an indication as to the environment and health of the department or company. The way in which the interviewer answers the question will give you additional insight into your potential boss, the management style, and what type of people excel in the department or company.
These are informational questions, not challenges. Be genuinely interested in the answer because you’re gaining valuable information that has to do with your future. When you leave the interview and process it, you’ll be comparing what you learned with what you are looking for.
Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language and facial expressions. Is he or she relaxed? Does he or she fill in some of the spaces? Does he or she speak to you – or AT you? Does he or she answer the question briefly and then quickly fire off another one?
These, too, are valuable cues. After the interview, you’ll need to piece them together with the verbal information you received.
Your perfect job might land in your lap by grace and good fortune. However, more likely, you’ll need to look for it. It’s out there – but to recognize it, you’ll need to know both what it doesn’t look like and what it does.
Happy job searching
Keep winning and creating harmony in your life.
Marla J. Albertie
Your Life Harmonizing Strategist