Many interviewers will tell you that the questions asked of the employer is just as important, or maybe even more important than the answers provided during an interview by the candidate. Questions provide an insight into what is most important for the candidate and highlights the thinking prowess of the potential hire. Unfortunately most candidates aren’t prepared for this important aspect of the interview which certainly can be instrumental in a decision going your way regarding your future career.
Preparation is vital for anyone going into an interview but regrettably many forget to rehearse their own inquiries as part of the process. Candidates are so anxious over everything from attire to maintaining eye contact that they forget to contemplate what they would like to know from this interaction. It is also important to realize that the answers may not be as important to a candidate as much as how and which questions are being posed.
Marc Cenedella, CEO of The Ladders suggested that a candidate should always focus on the 3 key achievements the employer is hoping for from a person in the position. He suggested that you pose such a question prior to the interview when you are scheduling the time and place. By focusing on these 3 achievements, the candidate can emphasize that he is the right person for the job and certainly can zero in on the singular need of the employer.
Cenedella also stated that the candidate must see any interview as a sales call and not a friendly conversation. He advises that you should get the chit-chat over with quickly and focus in on the purpose of the meeting – your employment. Be friendly, professional and always make sure you are in selling mode. Always keep the inteview directed to that goal and if the interviewer meanders off into time-wasting territory that it is the candidate’s chore to bring the conversation back to the job and to why you are the best person for it.
The following are some questions you may consider asking, though it is always best to make sure they are relevant to the particular situation:
1) What is the company’s or association’s goal or expectations for this year? Are they on track to achieve it?
2) How does the Board of Directors interact with the CEO and staff?
3) What was the length of tenure of the previous employee and why did they depart?
4) How are staff members reviewed and how often?
5) Are there any internal candidates for the position?
6) What is the timeframe for bringing a new person onboard?
7) Is there any additional information I can provide you that will make your decision easier?
There are differing opinions on raising the compensation question early on in the hiring process. With job boards now making salary figures more apparent and with associations now revealing their 990s on-line via GuideStar, the money subject most of the time can be left unaddressed until you are selected and contractual negotions begin.
On many occasions potential employers breach the sanctity of not discussing money by asking the question right up front, prior to even scheduling an interview. Though everyone knows that salaries are an important factor in any employment conversation, it is vital not to taint the waters, unless initiated by the employer until both sides have a better picture of the outcome. You certainly don’t want to give the impression that money is your sole interest.
It is important to remember that interviews are a selling opportunity. An opportunity for you to give the best picture of your candidacy possible. In preparing for the inteview, make sure that you rehearse your key messages but also take time to formulate your questions for the company or association. By asking just the right questions, a candidate can improve his chances for ultimate success.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives since 1986. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 100 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transtition.
Copyright: MMXI. Reprint of this article is permitted if the above paragraph is included.