Anybody who has been job hunting for awhile knows this. Being invited to a job interview is not something easily achieved. Becoming a “job candidate” instead of being a “job applicant” is a major victory.
Sadly, a lot of candidates goof up their job interview opportunities.
Losing all that time and effort. Do not be one of those candidates. Never assume that the job offer is guaranteed just because you were invited for a job interview. There are many ways to botch a job interview. You are late. A lot of recruiters cannot understand why candidates keep coming in late.
So being punctual or not has a huge impact in their decision. Call in time to reschedule the appointment if you cannot make it on time. And then the benefits of you being open to conversations and trying to convince that you are the very best can work against you.
You talk too much. You risk boring people with so much details. And you can also appear like you do not have the ability to focus on one topic. You do not listen. Make sure that the answer is the one the question is asking for. This is a test that will show the employer that you will follow the exact actions he is expecting.
You fall for it.
A skilled recruiter will entrap you to relax. Making you think this is an unimportant job interview. This does not imply that you must avoid jokes or affirmations that are unrelated to the profession. However, you must always quickly return to the topic of the discussion.
You are trying to take the lead. If you attempt to do this you can appear to be conceited. Employers want to look for individuals who can work efficiently as a team. Try to use the word “we” instead of “I” as often as possible. You do not ask questions.
Make the discussion as professional as possible. Ask questions that are appropriate on the topic. Make sensible observation about the company and avoid emphasizing on irrelevant things, “What do you expect me to accomplish in the first thirty to ninety days?”
You wish to hit the ground running.
You wish to make a distinction immediately. You do not wish to invest weeks or months “learning more about the company”. Plus you would like to know how you will be assessed. So you absolutely wish to comprehend goals and expectations.
What are the common attributes of your top performers? You likewise wish to be excellent long-term staff member. Every company is different, so are the essential qualities of leading performers in those companies. Perhaps the leading performers work longer hours, or perhaps versatility and creativity is more crucial than following stiff procedures.
Whatever the response might be, you would like to know if you fit. And if you do, you absolutely wish to be a leading performer, “What is the one thing that really drives results for the company?” Workers are investments. Every staff member must produce a positive return on his income.
Otherwise why are they on the payroll?
You would like to know exactly what really makes a distinction for the business, since you understand assisting the business be to be successful you will be successful too, on several levels. What do employees do in their spare time? Happy workers like exactly what they do and love the people they work with.
You wish to ensure you have a sensible possibility of fitting in with the culture. Every company deals with a significant difficulty. Technological modifications, rivals getting in the marketplace, moving financial patterns etc. While you might see your business as a stepping-stone, you still hope for development and advancement.
And if you do ultimately leave, you desire it to be on your terms. And not because your company was forced out of business. You do not simply wish to know exactly what your company believes, you would like to know exactly what your company prepares to do and how you will fit into those strategies.
If you were fired, do not lie about it in a job interview.
Be honest, but concise. Being fired is awkward. Sometimes you deserve it, and sometimes you do not. Either way, it can be a difficult thing to explain at a future job interview. In fact it is hard to think of a less tasteful way of selling yourself for gainful employment than admitting that you were forcibly removed from a previous post.
But getting fired does not make you a bad person, nor does it mean you will not be an all-star in a new role, or at a new company. But what if you have not made the same peace with a firing? And what if a prospective employer asks why you left your last job?
Just saying, “I was fired,” without explanation, is not great, and most of us know that lying is worse. So, what should you say when you are at an job interview, and you are called upon to explain a suspicious departure? If you lie and say you left voluntarily (or frame it as a layoff or otherwise misrepresent what happened), the employer will likely find out the truth when they contact your references or do a background check. And if that happens, the lie itself would be a deal-breaker whereas an honest explanation often would not be.
There is no need for a longwinded explanation.
Saying too much will make it a bigger deal than it needs to be, and generally you will come across as pretty defensive. Typically all you need are a few sentences explaining what happened. The key to successfully answering questions about why you were fired is focusing on what you learned, and how you plan to improve going forward.
Keep it concise, calm, and non-defensive. Most importantly, remember your own worth. Ask questions in your job interview. A strangely large number of people do not have many questions at all which is hard to understand when they are considering spending over forty hours a week at the job, and when it will have an enormous impact on their day-to-day quality of life.
To be fair, a lot of people worry about what questions are okay to ask. They are concerned about seeming demanding or nit-picky or that their job interviewer will draw unflattering conclusions from the questions they ask. It can be hard to elicit the information you really want to learn while still being reasonably tactful.
Some people are unclear on the purpose of the opportunity to ask questions.
Rather than using the time to suss out the information they truly want about the job, the manager, and the company, they instead try to use it as a chance to further impress their job interviewer and pitch themselves for the job. That ends up leaving them without the information they need to decide if the job is right for them or not. It also tends to be pretty transparent, and will annoy job interviewers who do not appreciate having their time wasted that way.
So, what should you ask when it is your turn to question your job interviewer? You need to know what does it mean to do well in the job, and what will you need to achieve in order for the manager to be happy with your performance. You might figure that the job description already laid this out, but it is not uncommon for a job description to be the same one an employer has been using for the last ten years, even if the job changed significantly during that time.
Companies often post job descriptions that primarily use boilerplate language from Human Resource (HR), while the actual manager has very different ideas about what is most important in the role. Also, frankly, most employers just suck at writing job descriptions, which is why so many of them sound like they were written by robots rather than humans. So it is useful to have a real conversation about what the role is really about. You might find out that while the job posting listed twelve different responsibilities, your success really just hinges on two of them.
What are some of the challenges that you might expect to face?
This can get at information you would never get from the job description. It can also create an opening for you to talk about how you have approached similar challenges in the past, which can be reassuring to your job interviewer. If the job description mentioned a combination of admin work and program work, it is important to know whether ninety percent of your time will be spent on the admin work or if the split is more like fifty-fifty.
You might find out that the part of the job that you were most excited about actually only comes up every six months. But even barring major insights like that, the answer to this question can just help you better visualize what it will actually be like to be in the job day after day. If nothing you try gets you a clear picture of how your time will be spent, that might be a sign that you will be walking into chaos, or a job where expectations never get clearly defined.
How long did the previous person in the role hold the position? What has turnover in the role generally been like? If no one has stayed in the job very long, that could be a red flag about a difficult manager, unrealistic expectations, lack of training, or some other land mine.
Knowing what is expected of you to accomplish.
In your first six months and in their first year can give you a sense of what kind of learning curve you are expected to have and the pace of the team and organization. If you are expected to have major achievements under your belt after only a few months, that tells you that they likely will not give you a lot of ramp-up time. Which might be fine if you are coming in with a lot of experience, but it might be worrisome otherwise.
On the flip side, if you are someone who likes to jump right in and start getting things done, you might not be thrilled to hear that most of your first six months will be spent in training. This question can also draw out information about key projects that you would not otherwise have heard about. Find out the manager’s opinion on what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great at doing this work previously.
The thing about this question is that it goes straight to the heart of what the hiring manager is looking for. Hiring managers are not job interviewing candidates in the hopes of finding someone who will do an average job. They are hoping to find someone who will excel at the job.
And this question says that you care about the same thing.
Sure, it does not guarantee that you will do extraordinary work, but it makes you sound like someone who is at least aiming for that. You will come across as someone who is conscientious and driven, and those are huge things in a hiring manager’s eyes. Plus, the answer to this question can give you much more nuanced insight into what it will take to truly excel in the job.
And whatever the answer is, you can think about whether or not it is something you are likely able to do. If the culture is very formal with lots of hierarchy and you are happiest in a more relaxed environment, this might not be the right match for you. Similarly, if it is a really competitive environment and you are more low-key, or if they describe themselves as entrepreneurial and you prefer structure, it might not be an ideal workplace for you.
If you do not have a lot of other options, you still might decide to take the job anyway. But you will usually be happier if you know what you are signing up for, and are not unpleasantly surprised after you start. People who genuinely enjoy their jobs and the company will usually have several things they can tell you that they like about working there and will usually sound sincere. But if you get a blank stare or a long silence before your job interviewer answers, consider that a red flag.
Ask the question you really care about.
Sometimes people use their turn to ask questions in a job interview solely as an additional chance to try to impress their job interviewer. Asking questions designed to reflect well on them by making them look smart, thoughtful, or so forth, rather than questions designed to help them figure out if the job is even right for them in the first place. It is understandable to want to impress your job interviewer, but job interviewing is a two-way street.
You need to be assessing the job and the employer and the manager, and figuring out whether this is a job you want and would do well in. If you are just focused on getting the job and not on whether it is the right job for you, you are in danger of ending up in a job where you are struggling or miserable. So before you turn up for a job interview, spend some time thinking about what you really want to know.
When you imagine going to work at the job every day, what are the things that will most impact whether you are happy with the work, with the culture, or with the manager. Maybe it is important to you to work in an informal culture with heavy collaboration. Maybe you care most about working somewhere with sane hours, where calls and texts on the weekend or in the evenings are rare.
Maybe you have heard rumors about the stability of the funding for the position.
Whatever is important to you or that you would want to have answered before you could know if you would really want the job, think about asking it now. Of course, you should not rely only on your job interviewer’s answers about these things. You should also do due diligence by talking to people in your network who might have the inside scoop on the company’s culture or the manager you would be working for, such as reading online reviews, and talking to other people who work there.
Find out what is the company’s timeline for next steps. This is a basic logistics question, but it is useful to ask because it gives you a benchmark for when you can expect to hear something back. Otherwise, if you are like many people, in a few days you are likely to start agonizing about whether you should have heard back about the job by now and what it means that you have not, and obsessively checking your phone to see if the employer has tried to make contact.
It is much better for your quality of life if you know that you are not likely to hear anything for two weeks or four weeks or that the hiring manager is leaving the country for a month and nothing will happen until he is back, or whatever the case might be. Plus, asking this question makes it easy for you to check in with the employer if the timeline they give you comes and goes with no word.
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