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over 8 years ago by James Bell

Interviewing the Interviewer

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Is any job the next job for you? Or are you looking for the right job? It’s difficult to be picky in this economic climate and it’s tempting just to get back into the game and then worry about whether your career is going in the right direction. Sometimes it’s better to get it right the first time than bouncing around through jobs to find the perfect fit. To help define what that perfect fit is for you, ask yourself these simple questions: 

  • What was the last role you loved?
  • Does this role interest you?
  • Are you using your primary skills set?

Having answered these questions, applying and being invited to an interview, asking the right questions during an interview will not only ensure that the job is right for you, it will also impress the interviewer with your initiative, insight and interest in the company. Remember it’s not just the company that should be excited to employ you; you should be excited to be employed by the company. 

1. When was the last time an employee frustrated you? How did you deal with the situation?

If your interviewer is going to be your future boss or line manager; this is a great question to ask, to define what sort of a person you could be working for. This sort of question might reveal a manager’s management style, expectations of employees and the atmosphere in the workplace. It’s nice to receive constructive criticism on a job, it’s not fun when your manager is looking over your shoulder the whole time picking at faults.

3. What are the biggest immediate challenges for this role and for the company/department as a whole? What strategies are in place to tackle these challenges?

This is a great question to learn more about the role. Often a job description outlines very general duties; here you can learn exactly what will be expected of you. Plus if you’re invited back for a second interview you might be able to present ideas for how to apply yourself to these challenges and make a stronger case for your application. When learning what challenges the company faces, listen out for anything alarming, for example: “surviving the recession”. By knowing what their plans are, you can assess how proactive they are in managing the company or department.

4. What do you like about working for the company?

A very acute question that will often reveal a lot about the atmosphere, culture and perks of the job, without having to ask what colleagues are like to work with. Often what isn’t mentioned can be as telling as what is.

5. Do you promote from within the company? When was the last time and why?

If you are looking for development and a career trajectory, you will want to know how that would look. Simply asking if there are opportunities, may provoke a yes or no response. Receiving solid examples is far better. You’ll also learn the circumstances of how a person is usually promoted. Is it employee led, experience dependent or does the manager recognise when staff are ready to step up?

6. What type of work do you delegate to your staff?

You want to work for a manager who delegates, so you can learn new skills and develop beyond your role. If a manager is not a good delegator, then they might be insecure about their role and unwilling to reveal the mechanics of the department. This could potentially hold you back from promotion or development.

Apply for a job through the Meridian Business Support website and put these questions into practice at your next interview.