The following is a guest post.
As a father, landing the right job can mean everything from providing a few extra treats or days out each month for your children, to progressing up the career ladder and securing a successful future for your family. Attaining decent employment is also a morale-booster, and helps to cement your position as a role model to your kids.
Still, there’s no denying that interviews can be uncomfortable situations. At some point, most of us have gotten to the end of an interview only to be stumped when the interviewer turns the tables and asks if there’s anything we’d like to ask. What it comes down to is hitting the sweet spot between being too selfish and too keen. (“When can I start” can cause some awkwardness at the interview table, for sure!)
Most often, as interviewees, we try to remain focused on providing the “correct” answers to impress our interviewers. This often means we forget to consider that when we’re offered the chance to ask questions, it’s an opportunity to gain some insights into the position we’re applying for. Not to mention it’s a great way to show you’re actually interested!
Ultimately, there are three big questions you need to ask prospective employers. These questions are great at helping to highlight any red flags and should provide you with an insight into what the position truly entails – and what the company is truly like to work for. In addition to this, each of these questions acts as a gateway that should help lead you into any follow-up questions that will allow you to showcase any knowledge you may have about the role.
Without further ado, let’s take a glance at the three general questions you should consider asking to find out whether a role is right for you:
1) “What will be the biggest challenges faced by the successful applicant for this position?”
This question will allow you to find out precisely what sort of role you could be walking into, as well as providing you with the chance to explain how you are qualified to handle and overcome any of the challenges faced.
Of course, it’s important to only elaborate if you are genuinely qualified to take the role on – but don’t simply ask the question as an opportunity to brag about yourself. The answer provided by the interviewer will give you plenty of scope about the prospective position, and you’ll want to focus on listening to their reply while plotting the next words to come out of your mouth. It can also be beneficial to do a little research into the issues faced by the company prior to the interview, so that you can provide your own take on how you would problem-solve. Even the biggest companies face challenges. Amazon, for example, once went offline for 49 minutes, which cost them $5.7 million in sales.
Sometimes, roles that your interviewer consider to be challenging might involve the sort of excitement you’re looking for in a job – but if there are genuinely no challenges (and let’s face it, in some jobs, there just aren’t) you might want to consider whether you’ll be fulfilled enough in the role. Likewise, if the challenges seem unreasonable or outside of your purview, you might want to consider whether you’re up to the task. While it’s important to aim high, don’t risk taking a job that will only cause stress and consternation for all parties involved.
2) “Why is the job available?”
If a company is unwilling to be honest about why the position has become available, you should try your best to discover the reason. If it’s a totally new position (due to expansion, for example), this will give you an in-road to ask about what problems the position will solve, and what services, programs or products the growth is based on.
It’s important to gain an understanding of whether the role is sustainable – if you’ve got a good reason to believe that the company is taking a gamble by expanding (an indication of this is when companies take on many people in new roles at once), chances are you could be right. Don’t be afraid to do a little bit of digging into the intentions of the company – without coming across as too probing, of course.
3) “What would employees say is the best thing about working here?”
This is a great alternative to asking what the interviewer’s favorite thing about working here is – it demonstrates that you value the opinions of others, too. At this point, you should be mindful of the body language of the interviewer as they answer this question. Has it thrown them off-guard? Companies should have several reasons why their employees like to work there besides “it pays the bills”, so pay attention and consider whether the interviewer is being genuine with you when they answer this one.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that interviews go both ways, and making sure you’re fully informed is the best way to ascertain whether you’re a good match for the company. Don’t feel obliged to only ask these three questions, but be certain to fit them in.