Tag Archives: interview questions

What Questions Do You Have For Me?

When preparing for an interview, it’s pretty common for job seekers to prepare for the questions that the employer may ask. However, it’s equally important for a job seeker to have questions prepared to ask of the employer.  Of course, there are the standby questions, such as “what is the rest of the hiring process like?” or “what is a typical day here like?”  The time when you ask questions is an essential part of the interview process. It’s an opportunity for you to get to know the company more, and continue making a good impression of the interviewer.  The Forbes Coaches Council developed a list of 11 questions a job seeker should consider asking in order to stand out from the other people being interviewed. Here are a few to start:

  1. What could I accomplish in six months that would really exceed your expectations? Many job seekers ask something along the lines of “what are your expectations of me?” Of course your employer will have expectations for you. This will give you a clearer idea of ways you can take initiative and go above-and-beyond to make a good impression.
  2. What gets you excited to come to work every day?  It’s important to know the culture of your new company, as well as what motivates your new supervisor.  The response to this question can help you determine if you will mesh well with both!
  3. How does your workplace help employees reach their peak potential? Again, it will be a great insight of the company culture to know if they work to help their employees succeed, or adapt with changing needs and times.
  4. What other information can I share with you? This gives the interviewer another door to ask you more questions, and gives you the opportunity to respond to any concerns or doubts they may have.

The Forbes Coaches Council has other great questions you can ask! Check them out here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/11/10/11-unusual-question-to-ask-in-an-interview-to-distinguish-yourself-from-the-competition/#68ec588f25f3

What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment?

Interviews can be tough.  It’s hard to walk that fine line of “this is why I’m an exceptional employee and you should hire me” and totally bragging. A question that employers like to ask is “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” This is a great question- it allows the employer to see what excites you and get to know you outside of your skills.  However, it can be a stumbling block for the candidate being interviewed, because that fear of bragging always seems to creep in.  In an article posted on Careerealism, Peggy McKee shares wonderful insight on how to appropriately answer this question.

McKee urges interviewees to use recent examples from their work experience- which, for a college student, could be changed to college experience that is relevant to the position. Although you may be proud that you got accepted to college, or got an A in a particularly difficult class, they don’t necessarily highlight the skills or values the employer is looking for.  However, if it’s a company that emphasizes team work, you could share an example of  how you motivated your team before a big game, used practices to focus on drills, and called plays to highlight everyone’s strength, and the team won the game. This shows your ability to work on a team for success. Or, if it’s a company that’s very customer service-driven, you could share an example from your off-campus job as a server, where you have to make sure you take orders correctly, anticipate needs for things like drink refills, and deliver food quickly so it stays warm- all while providing service with a smile, even when the restaurant is packed! To help you determine what skills a company may focus on, look at the job description and their company website to see what their values are.

McKee also recommends that, while framing your answer, you use the STAR method. This will help you stay focused. With the STAR method, you highlight the Situation or Task, Action, and Result. So, with our teamwork example, your Situation would be a big game, the Action would be using the practices to work on drills, motivating your teammates, and effectively calling plays. Your Result would be that you won! With the server position, your Task is to always provide excellent customer service.  Your Action is to take correct orders, smile, anticipate needs, and be timely.  Your Result is when customers leave happy and return- and maybe even ask to sit in your section!

For more examples and tips from McKee, check out her article here: http://www.careerealism.com/interview-question-proudest-accomplishment/

What SHOULD I ask them?!

Last week we talked about the questions you definitely should not ask during an interview. What did you think? Were there other questions you thought of that probably wouldn’t cast you in a good light during your interview?

Today, we’re going to follow up with that on 10 questions you should ask during an interview. You don’t have to ask all 10, but you can pick from the list and know they are “safe” questions. They are also questions that will provide you with more insight into the company and how it works. Remember, during an interview, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. Use the opportunity to ask questions of them so you can determine if it is really a place where you would like to work and feel like you could grow.  Asking questions during an interview also shows you are involved and WANT to learn more. Never walk out of an interview without asking any questions.  Finally, asking questions gives you the opportunity to reiterate your strengths. Ask your question, listen to their answer, and if the opportunity presents itself, follow up on their answer by indicating something that you can do to help with that. I’ll show you an example below.

1. How do you see your company growing in the next 5 years?
This will give you an idea of where the company is headed. Do they plan to expand to other states? Do they plan to hire 500 more people? Maybe they want to have a more active presence online. Use their response as a springboard to remind them that you enjoy training others or you have a lot of social media experience.

2. What opportunities are provided for professional development?You’ll learn whether there will be conferences to attended or if they participate in regular webinars. It shows that you want to keep learning and developing as a worker.

3. Is there a mentoring system in place here?
Mentoring is an important step in transitioning to a new job. It allows you to make connects and have someone you know you can do to with questions. If they don’t have one, that’s ok. Just explain that you were interested in meeting as many people as you could and, in turn, wanted the opportunity to give back and be a mentor to new people later on.

4. What is the most rewarding aspect of this position?
It’s nice to know you’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling of accomplishment. Maybe you’ll get to help others reach a financial goal, or learn to read, or research results to a problem that affects many members of your community. It’s also an insight into how satisfied other employees are with their work.

5. What is the most stressful part of this position?
It’s also important to know if there will be a time when everyone is cranky or the workload will get tougher- maybe tax season, for example. You can also use this time to talk about your ability to handle stress and manage your time.

6. What is one word you would use to describe your ideal candidate?
I like using this question when you’re being interviewed by a few people at one time. Write down the words they use, and then give a clear example of how you are all of those things. You also get a better idea of whether you think you’ll fit their expectations and the rest of the personalities of the group.

7. What separates a good candidate from a great candidate?
You could ask this whether you’re being interviewed by one person or many people. Again, no matter what they say will make a candidate stand out, remind them of how you fit the bill.

8. How would you describe this company/business/school’s culture?
You get more insight on how everything flows, how people work, and whether you feel like it would be a good fit for you.

9. Why did YOU decide to join this company?
It gives you insight on the person who is interviewing you, and maybe they can tell you more about how the company was then versus how it is now.

10. What will the rest of the selection process be like?I think it’s always a good idea to ask this just so you know what to expect in the upcoming days/weeks/months. Get an idea of whether they’re interviewing more people, will there be more interviews after this one, and how long they think it will take before the make their decision.

What do you think? What questions have you asked that helped you stand out or really helped you make your decision about whether you wanted to work there? Let us know!

The “Don’t Ask!” List

It’s good to ask questions during an interview, even if you’re the one being interviewed. It shows you’re interested in learning more about the company and the position, and it’s a chance for you to reinforce some of your best characteristics. However, there are some questions you just don’t ask of the interviewer. They’ll put you in a very negative light! Here are some of those questions:

1. How long until I can get promoted?
Although it shows you are motivated, it also shows you are not focused on the opportunity at hand.

2. How much vacation do I get?
3. What will my salary be?
4. Will I get health insurance with this?Your questions should show your interest in the position, not the benefits that go with it.

5. When was your company/school/organization founded?
6. Who is your biggest competitor?
7. Who is your CEO/President/Founder?Superintendent?
You should go in knowing some things about the place you are interviewing to work for. Questions like these shows you haven’t done your research, which in turn, shows you haven’t put much effort into preparing.

8. Can I work from home?
Working from home, if it’s expected of you, should be explained right up front. By asking about it, it may seem to the interviewer that you don’t want to interact with other people in the office.

9. Is there a drug test?
Well… think about it. That puts up a red flag that you have something to hide!

10. Did I get the job? When do I start?
It’s great to be eager and enthusiastic, don’t get me wrong! However, by phrasing it like this, you sound presumptuous. Don’t assume the job is yours until you get the official word from them.

What other questions do you think are not the best questions to ask in the interview? Don’t worry, next week we’ll go over questions you SHOULD ask, so be on the lookout!