Do You Have Any Questions? Preparing Questions for Interviews.

When getting ready for an interview, it is important to not only prepare yourself to answer the questions you may be asked, but also questions that you can ask the people who are interviewing you. Many job seekers get so excited about finally getting an interview opportunity that they forget that interviewing is a two-way street.  Yes – you need to make sure that this company and job are a good fit for you!  Otherwise, you’ll be going through the job search process all over again when you (or the company) realize that it just wasn’t a good fit.

But like with every other aspect of the job search process, the questions you ask during an interview can make a good or bad impression on the person with whom you are interviewing.  First and foremost, asking no questions will leave a bad impression.  Early on in the interview process, asking questions about salary, benefits, vacation time, dress code, holidays, etc., can come across as petty or self-interested.

Whenever I’ve interviewed for a position, I’ve always asked questions that enable me to connect with the interviewer by showing an interest in their personal story.  The following questions will help you both connect with your interviewers, and also give you the type of insight you need to determine if this is the job for you.

  1. What brought you to this organization?  It’s always interesting to hear what attracted someone else to a company.  It gives you some insight into what’s important to them and how they view the company’s strengths and employment brand.
  2. How would you describe the company’s culture?  The answer to this question will show you if the company is fun or stuffy; team oriented or every-man-for-himself; hardworking or laid back; creative or old school.
  3. What do you like about working here? This one is pretty self-explanatory – the answer will give you insight into what’s great about working at the company – identifying its strengths as an employer.
  4. What one thing would you change about the company?  I love this question – it’s a tough one – but it should provide you with an idea of what the company could stand to improve on.  You’ll get an honest answer or you’ll watch the interviewer fumble through it like a job seeker with the “greatest weaknesses” question.  Either way – you’ll walk away with insight into what the company could do better.

Using these questions will help you connect with the people you are interviewing with and get the answers you need to make your decision should you get an offer.  What other questions have you found important to ask in the interview process?

 

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog

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Mind Your Manners: 6 Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

If your parents are anything like mine, you’ve learned to say “thank you” when people give you things. Whether it be a gift, a ride, or a compliment most of us would offer a hearty “thanks” in return for someone else’s generosity. The interview process is no different. As someone who interviews for a living, I’m surprised at how seldom I receive a “thank you” note from a candidate.

When writing thank yous, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Ask everyone with whom you interview for their card or contact information (their e-mail is enough). You need this information to send them a note! Getting their card is best because it will ensure you have the correct spelling of their name.
  2. Send a thank you to everyone with whom you’ve met. Don’t leave anyone out! Everyone who interviewed you will most likely get together to talk about the candidates. You don’t want to offend someone by making them think you forgot about them.
  3. E-mail is fine. In today’s day and age, sending a thank you e-mail is perfectly fine. It’s direct, it’s fast, and it can be replied to. Sending a nice card is perfectly fine – and a nice touch – but do so quickly.
  4. Keep your “A” game going.  Don’t slack off on your thank you notes – mind your grammar, spelling, etc.  If you’re using e-mail – keep it professional and address the e-mail appropriately: “Dear Soandso,” with a formal signature.
  5. Remind them how great you are. Use this as an opportunity to highlight why you think you’re a great fit for the position. Try to refer back to what seemed most important to them in terms of their ideal candidate.
  6. Don’t send the same note to everyone. Take good notes during your interviews so that you can refer back to the specific conversations you had with each individual. Some people don’t realize that their thank you note is often forwarded on to the group of interviewers – meaning that it will quickly become obvious that you sent everyone the same note!

Writing a thank you note is another component of the job search process and just like a cover letter, while it may sometimes seem optional, it is always best to always send one!  A well-written thank you might be the “cherry on top” giving you an edge in being selected for the position.

 

This post originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog.

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