Questions are the answers

In an interview situation, the balance of power is very much in favour of the Client rather than the Candidate. The Client generally sets the tone and pace of the interview, and this can lead to the candidate feeling they didn’t get to convey some of their most relevant accomplishments, or without enough knowledge to help them evaluate if it’s the right position for their next career move.

A great interview technique where the candidate can take the reins is by asking intelligent and impressive questions when invited to do so. If not invited, simply ask at the end – you will never be refused!

Below are some examples of smart questions that will give the candidate a much deeper knowledge of the role, the team, and the business to help them evaluate if it’s the right opportunity for them.

  • What does a team meeting look like in your department? (insight into the team culture and collaboration)
  • What is the objective of the team for 2015/the next fiscal year/the next 3 years?
  • What is the one skill/competency on the team that you feel is missing at present, and will this role-holder plug that gap? (offers opportunity to highlight where you can really add value in this role)
  • What do you (interviewer) see as the biggest challenge to your current proposition/offering? (Gets the interviewer talking about how the company compares to its rivals, any issues such as talent retention for specialised skill sets, and overall gets the interviewer sharing information not usually offered in an interview situation)
  • How are you currently measuring success, what metrics do you use and why?
  • How do the figures/data drive the actions going forward? (perfect for understanding how budgets or resources are allocated, and how the company values non-revenue-generating activity such as a Rebrand, PR,Implementation of a new IT Infrastructure etc.)
  • If I was to ask the current role-holder what the toughest part of the job is, what do you think they would tell me? (One of the most valuable question an interviewee can ask! This opens up a candid discussion on the challenges of the role and offers the interviewee the chance to highlight how they would overcome them)
  • What will the first 100 days in the job look like?
  • What was the last piece of work you /the team did that didn’t go well (or tender you lost etc.) and why?

And finally, a brave (and some would say, confrontational) question that few ask, but everyone should:

  • Based on studying my CV, and meeting me today, are there any reasons why you wouldn’t hire me? (An interviewer can’t fail to be impressed – essentially you are inviting them to give you first-hand feedback now that they’ve met you. This will show you are unafraid to deal with issues head-on, and offers you the opportunity to overcome any concerns they have by providing answers on the spot. If the interviewers response to this question relates to your competition for this role, you will hugely benefit from getting them to talk about the calibre of applicants you are up against, and give you insight into how you compare to your peers; liquid gold information that you can take forward in your career progression plan.

Naturally, not all of the above will be relevant in each interview scenario, but by having these types of questions saved to memory, you can pluck out the 2 or 3 that are most appropriate at the time. The candidate has intelligently taken control of the interview somewhat, managed to show the interviewer that they are a smart, well-prepared and diligent individual, and of course the answers provided will form a huge part of your own decision-making process, should you get to the offer stage.

For a more detailed discussion on how to prepare the best version of yourself for interview, contact us on 01 631 9090 or email . We are highly experienced at helping our candidates identify and deliver their key accomplishments, so that they leave an interview having presented their skills, impact and employability in the best possible way.

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