Some standard must-do's from the job search process, like dressing professionally and sending a post-interview follow-up thank you are here to stay. The interview itself is pretty straightforward, but at the end of the chat, there's one last opportunity to leave a lasting impression: "Do you have any questions?" Ask nothing and you risk appearing uninteresting or worse, uninterested. Ask disingenuous questions and they'll see right through it. Here are some excellent, thought-provoking questions that will seal your deal as an intentional and curious must-hire.

I saw you worked at Company A for 10 years before this, but how did you get started in this industry, and why did you make the move to this company?

Show you went above and beyond the standard company research (while still skipping a complete recap of their career journey) and they will not only be grateful for your preparation, but will also appreciate your interest. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and inquiring about someone's beginnings reminds them of the often winding path they took. Asking a question like this allows them to leave with an empathetic and understanding attitude towards this meeting. 

What types of personalities are the best fit for this role?

The answer to this question, while potentially not your preferred response, will give great insight into the type of person who is most likely to succeed in the role. If the given response is a distant description of yourself, maybe reconsider your interest, or be intentional about favoring certain habits and personality traits so you are better prepared for the challenges.

Can you give me an example of a time someone in this role failed? What did they do wrong and what could be done differently? 

The answer to this question can be incredibly revealing. Not only will you hear specifics about a situation of disappointment for the employer, but you'll get insight on how they respond to conflict and challenges. Their answer will give a peek into how you'd be treated when failure is involved. Pay careful attention to how the employee was notified of any issues and what opportunities they were given to remedy the situation.

How do you ensure your team is continuously growing and learning new skills?

Burnout and stagnation are huge causes for job dissatisfaction and abandonment. A company that invests in their employees' skills and creativity is one worth joining. Find out what opportunities they encourage so you know the team you're joining will not only be professionally motivated, but also encouraged creatively.

Is there anything in my background that gives you concerns about my ability to fit well in this role?

Possessing an openness to feedback and a willingness to confront issues head on displays your worth as a collaborative team player. Addressing their concerns directly is an opportunity to exemplify the persona detailed on your resume: a well-adjusted professional who's willing to improve themself.

How often do employees receive evaluations and feedback?

Asking if they have a structure in place for company reviews and employee feedback provides you with an expectation for your first evaluation of success in the role, as well as an early understanding of how much they value the employee-employer relationship. You could also discover that their structure includes post-project debriefs to review anything that came up while it's still fresh in everyone's minds.

As a job seeker, having a supply of good questions can be what distinguishes you from the crowd. Be remembered, be intriguing, and be a promising candidate when you start with some of the suggested questions here. 

Posted: 4/25/2023 1:58:07 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

In the last few weeks, the coronavirus has a new competitor for Most Alarming Statistic: the unemployment rate. But in spite of the 30 million Americans that have lost their jobs in the past 6 weeks, companies are still hiring. With social distancing measures still in place, your interview process might look a little different than usual. Virtual interviews have replaced in-person meetings, as companies with a hiring need don't have time to waste. Are you someone who benefits from a face-to-face? Don't let this new format scare you – with our suggestions, you'll easily become the top candidate.

man sitting at home ready for a virtual interview

Get dressed.

It should go without saying, but weeks of pajama pants may have infected your brain: wear what you would wear to a real interview. This includes pants. If something were to happen that would cause you to stand up, you don't want to be seen in those saggy house pants.

Check your tech.

Beforehand, give your video chat software a test with someone else. Make sure your microphone is working and the volume is acceptable on your end. While some tech tweaking is expected during a video meeting, being able to continue without it makes the process smoother. Also, triple check that your location will receive a solid wifi signal throughout the call.

Choose your background wisely.

No, we don't mean a virtual background in Zoom. Select a wall with a simple background - some small framed artwork or plants are a decent backdrop. Avoid windows that will add backlighting, and try not to use a lamp as your only light source. Sitting near a window can provide some nice natural lighting and will keep you looking fresh for the call.

Prepare your computer for screensharing.

Clean off your desktop and choose a good background. If you'll be pulling up a browser at any point, make sure you don't have any other tabs open or any bookmark bar items with questionable names. Have your portfolio website or PDF ready to go so you aren't fumbling to find it when the time comes.

Feed your pet and take out your dog.

It's safe to say that most people are very understanding that this is an adjustment period for those of us who weren't frequent virtual meeting attendees, but the last thing you want is a whiny pet at your door. Take care of your pets a little more than usual before heading into the interview (don't forget to block the view of that pesky mailman!) and you won't have to worry about a keyboard-stomping cat or a barking-in-the-background dog.

Keep notes open.

Have some key points you'd like to get across during this interview? Take advantage of the format and have a small cheat sheet of notes you keep on your screen while meeting. Remove whenever you screen share, and maybe keep the window small if you wear glasses and a reflection is visible.

Try to make eye contact.

In person, it's easy to connect with someone you meet by making eye contact, but in a virtual situation, it's not as simple. Try moving the window with your interviewer's image close to your camera – this better mimics real-life eye contact, as you'll be speaking almost directly to the camera.

Don't interrupt.

On some platforms, speaking can mute the other's microphone. Allowing slightly longer pauses so your interviewer can finish speaking will keep the conversation flow natural, even if it feels unnatural. Also, while a normal interview would contain many instances of you affirming their statements with "mm-hmm"s or "yeah"s, doing so in a virtual circumstance can interrupt their sentence by overriding their microphone. Instead, try nodding when you would normally interject with a quick "yes."

Roll with the changes.

If something goes wrong, acknowledge it and move along. Dog barges in? Say "hey buddy," lead him out, and come back in and apologize. Connection poor? Suggest switching to a phone call. People are just human, so mistakes aren't the end of the world. Just be sure to be flexible and laugh them off instead of letting them ruin your mood (and your chances of being hired).

Let these tips guide your virtual interview, and you should make it to the next stage in no time!

Posted: 5/13/2020 1:53:10 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments