Finding a career goes beyond just getting hired. It is about finding an opportunity to express your strengths, talents, and passions through your daily work. Both the organization and the job seeker should feel like they are making the best choice. The interview is just as much an opportunity for you to learn about the organization as it is for the organization to learn about you.
Especially in a difficult job market, it is beneficial for you to learn about the nature of the organization, its people and environment, and the details of the job before your interview. Is it a place you can grow and develop to meet your goals? Is it a place you will want to go every day?
Do your research. The interviewer will expect you to know something about their industry, what they do, and the job description of the position you are interviewing for. This is your chance to express your interest through questions and observations.
Prepare for your interview by researching the company. Use the list below to get ideas about where to start:
- Look through the company's website
- Follow the company’s LinkedIn and/or Facebook page
- Do a LinkedIn search to identify potential network connections within the company
- Join the discussion on LinkedIn industry groups
- Seek a company connection through your network
- Set up a Google Alert for that company or hiring agent
- Join job search sites that often have company information
- See Hoovers, Dunn & Bradstreet for business info online
- Access Dunns Million Dollar List, which has names of key officers you could follow online
- RSS subscribe to the company blog
- Check GlassDoor.com for salary information
Once you have done your research, it is time to prepare your questions for the interviewer. An interview is a reciprocal exchange of information, so employers will expect you to ask some questions. This is your chance to learn important information about the opportunity so you can make an informed decision. And it is also a way to make a good impression by showing the interviewer you care enough to learn about their company. Here is a short list of questions to get you started.
- Over the past two years, what are the key changes that have impacted the organization? What changes do you see taking place in the future?
- What do you believe makes this company stand out from your primary competitors?
- What is driving the need to fill this position?
- What does an average day look like for someone in this position?
- Does this position allow for growth? What is the next position after this one? What is the progression of steps to get there?
- How is performance measured?
- How do you train employees for the necessary job-specific processes and procedures?
- Are there any additional required certifications for the work I would do? Are those certification programs sponsored by the company?
- How much travel is expected in this position and in the next few steps along the career path?
- How long have you been with the organization?
- What is your favorite thing about working here? What is the greatest challenge for you or for others in my job area?
- In what ways do you see my strengths and skills benefitting my prospective team?
Check out this article, Interview Questions to Ask the Employer (and What Not to Ask), to help in your preparation.