This summer, college graduates across the country are getting ready for their first round of job interviews. What many people new to the workforce don’t realize job interviews are not just about answering questions; they’re also about asking them. However, it’s all about asking the right questions, demonstrating that you’re engaged in the conversation and that you’ve done your homework on the company and those you’re speaking with.
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Recently, Jane Park, the CEO of Julep, advised readers of Forbes who are interviewing for a job to ask, “How did you spend your day yesterday?” She says that this question is most relevant for a person who is doing the same role you are applying for. As she says, “Every position has its pain points, but knowing exactly what they are and how they align with your needs is essential to your long-term success.”
She also suggests asking, “Can you please describe the most successful person who’s ever held this position?”
“One of the most common mistakes we make in taking on new career challenges is not having a clear idea of what success looks like,” Park explains. “Asking your new boss to describe her favorite employee who’s held your position is the best way to find out if she’s describing someone who sounds at all like you.”
Other important questions to ask include “What is the company culture like?”, according to a recent article in Mashable. According to Michelle Tenzyk, president of the East Tenth Group, a strategic leadership advisory and executive coaching firm, candidates need to assess if the company’s structure and communication methods match theirs.
“If the company is hierarchical, and who speaks during meetings is determined by a pecking order, then the position is probably not well-suited for a creative type brimming with ideas,” she says.
Additionally, you may want to ask what constitutes success, if there’s anything missing from your resume, and of course, what comes next. It’s important to know what the company’s expectations are, so there are no surprises after the interview.
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