January is always a good time to think about making that career change.
As the job-search website Monster reports, the first quarter of the year is the best time to be looking for new opportunities, because recruiters have new budgets to spend.
Clearly, 2020 was not an average year, in any sense; but there is every reason to hope that the new year will bring new opportunities – especially as companies look to overcome the challenges of last year.
That means job interviews could be in your future.
Typically, you will be asked why you want to work for your potential new employer, they will give you the chance to detail your strengths and weaknesses and they may offer you some hypothetical scenarios and ask you how you would deal with those circumstances.
Then they will ask you if you have any questions. Often, candidates will politely say “no”. What a missed opportunity.
A job interview is a two-way exchange
A job interview should be a two-way exchange. Your potential employer is trying to evaluate you and, at the same time, you’re auditioning them. You want to know whether you want to work with them. The questions you ask them are a great chance for you to turn the interview table and learn about how they respond to a good grilling.
On the other hand, if you’re in the position of interviewing new recruits, you probably want to see people with confidence and imagination – someone who isn’t frightened to look you in the eye and ask the tough questions. That’s the kind of person you want on your team, isn’t it?
Questions you could ask the interviewer at your job interview
That “do you have any questions?” moment is a fantastic opportunity for you to leave a memorable first impression.
So, just like you prepare for the questions they’re going to ask you, you should be ready with a few relevant questions to ask them.
Question #1 – “What happens during a typical day in this department / in this team?”
This question shows that you have a more holistic view of your potential new role. You understand that you won’t be working in isolation, that you will be part of a team and your work will contribute to a bigger picture. You could also get an idea about the pace of work in the department or team and, maybe, an idea about the working atmosphere.
Question #2 – “Where is this company planning to be in, say, five years?”
During staff appraisals, employees are often asked if they have a two-year plan, or a five-year plan. It is, therefore, perfectly fair to ask if the company you’re proposing to work for also has ambitions for the future. This is important, because the company’s success will be its staff’s success and, furthermore, it may be heading in a direction in which you have particular experience or, on the other hand, in which you have no interest.
Question #3 – “What opportunities are there for training and promotion?”
Since you’re thinking about the company’s future, it’s perfectly reasonable to think about your own. There is no shame in seeing a new job as the next step in your own career progression. An employer who wants ambitious people in their team will expect and appreciate candidates who are looking for opportunities to progress their own career. Similarly, asking about training shows that you are keen to evolve into the role.
Question #4 – “As people who directly engage with this role, what are your expectations of the person who takes up this position?”
This question helps you to tap into some expert insight from the people you would be working with if you got the job. Written job descriptions could be written by HR people with no direct experience of the job involved. They can also be full of jargon and terminology that is there as a legal requirement, or as a reflection of corporate policy, and may not impact greatly on the job in question.
Question #5 – “What’s the best thing about working here? And, what’s the worst thing?”
We’ve found that this question is particularly effective, because it puts the interviewers on the back foot. It’s a question that comes in two parts – the first half lulls them into a false sense of security, then the second half shows that you have a sense of humour, a realistic expectation of work and the confidence to ask a challenging, if good-natured, question.
What job interview questions do you ask?
Do you have a question you’ve found has helped you secure a great job. Or, maybe you’ve been recruiting and have been asked a particularly memorable question. Why not come and visit our Facebook group, The Digital Marketing Tribe and share your thoughts.