Interviewing for a new job can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, especially if you really need the job. Suddenly your nerves are in high gear and you worry about what you need to say, what you did say, what you didn’t say, what you should have said…the list (Read: OBSESSING) goes on and on.
When coaching my clients on interview skills, the main point I try to drive home is that you should be interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Every interviewer’s worst fear is that you are going to say whatever it takes to get the job, truth be damned. One of the (many) fears that interviewee’s have is that the job is not nearly as great as it is being touted to be.
By asking a lot of questions you will get beneath the surface of the job description and be able to determine whether this role is actually a good fit for you. If work/life balance is important to you, ask “What is the company culture like here?” If you are terrified of being micromanaged, ask “What is your management style?” One of my favorite questions is “What is one thing you would change about your job now” or even “What do you see as the biggest challenge to success here?” No one has a perfect work life, but by asking these kinds of questions, you’ll be able to uncover some potential problems that might not jive with your personality or moral code.
Another interesting result of asking a lot of questions in an interview is that suddenly the situation becomes more balanced. If the person who is interviewing you is happy with the company, they will start to sell you on why you would want to work there. If they are unhappy, well then…enough said.
The one question you absolutely must ask at the end of every interview is this: “Is there anything that I’ve said that gives you concern as to why I might not be a good fit for this role?” This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to bring up any concerns they may have without feeling threatened. The key is here to address any issues without getting defensive. For example, if the response you get is “Yes, I’m concerned that you haven’t directly managed anyone yet.” You can respond by saying “I can see why you would be concerned, but I recently took several courses through the American Management Association and feel confident I’m ready to put my knowledge to use!”
Asking this one question will give you peace of mind as you leave the interview that you didn’t leave any stone unturned and will hopefully quell the obsessive “after interview” fears.
Nancy Rabern is a Job Search Consultant who coaches individuals on identifying, applying and interviewing for their dream job. She specializes in working with people in creative and marketing roles as well as women returning to the workforce.
Follow Nancy Rabern on Twitter @nancyrabern