GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - An interview is your chance not only to make a great first impression, but also learn whether this job and company are the right place for you to develop your career.
To do this effectively, you’ll need to ask some questions during your interview. Ted Chalupsky, founder and President of The Right Staff, suggests three questions you shouldn’t leave your job interview without asking:
“What do you expect from this position in the first 30 days? 60 days? First year?”
A well-organized answer to this question that gives specific benchmarks will help you plan your first weeks and months on the job, so you can ensure you’re applying your energy to the most important tasks. It will also help you determine whether your priorities for success mesh well with the company’s.
If the answer is vague or confusing, watch out! An employer who doesn’t have a clear sense of what employee success looks like is unlikely to support your best work.
“In order to succeed in this role, what are the most important qualities to have?”
This question focuses on the skills and traits that will help someone mesh well with the company culture and expectations. A response that lists your strengths is ideal, since it shows you have what it takes to do well and to enjoy the position. Listen for responses that list your weaknesses, as well – you may be able to shore these up, or this job may not be a good fit for you.
Asking about qualities and traits is indispensable because it tells you more about the company, not just about the job. Tasks may be similar across companies, but you may thrive in one and flounder in another because the two cultures prioritize different habits, values, and work styles.
“Who do you consider your top competitor and why?”
If you’ve done your research, you already know who the company’s major competitors are from a market perspective. Asking your interviewer for their perspective, however, can open the door to an “inside understanding” of how the company views itself, its strengths and weaknesses, and its opportunities and challenges in the marketplace. This, in turn, can tell you where successful people at this company apply their effort – and whether you want to do similar work.
By asking these three relatively simple questions, Chalupsky says you will position yourself firmly in the eyes of the employer as a quality candidate, helping you to advance in the next step of the hiring process.