Monday, March 26, 2007

The Job Interview: Questions to ask

One of the things you should expect in a job interview is the question, "Do you have any questions?" The wrong answer is, no. Think about a time when you were truly interested in a subject or person. Someone tells you about themselves or the subject and that naturally leads to you to more questions. Usually those questions are answered by further information but not always. Within the structure of an interview questions are the means by which you show engagement and interest.

Now I know all the advice there is out there to go to these interviews and act naturally and be relaxed. Well to hell with that. It sort of like telling someone to love you, some things just cannot be forced. If you are nervous, accept that, understand how it might impact your performance and move on. Don't get hung up on trying not to be nervous, ain't going to happen.

To help out with the nervousness on the questions front one of the pieces of advice I received from my career counselor was to have a list of questions, written out, that you can refer to when the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions?"

Now I know that sounds a little odd and, when you pull out the reams of paper, might even have an interviewer look somewhat surprised. But you can always calm any concern with the statement, "Most of my questions have been answered." So here are a few good questions to ask, and please, add some good questions of your own in the comments section, that would be most helpful.

  • What is the culture like at [organization name]?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • Describe the person/personality type that you might call a good fit.
  • What would you say is the biggest challenge in this position [working at this organization]?

Remember you are interviewing them too. The last thing you need in your life is to wind-up working for an organization at which you feel miserable and unhappy. There is nothing worse for your health, family or wallet.

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