The best way to show initiative in an interview is to ask a few bright questions, go on, impress your future bosses!
7 Questions you MUST ask in Your Next Job Interview...
1) What is the working environment like?
// Employers love to talk about themselves, this is a great question to uncover what it's really like to work at the company your interviewing at.
If your looking to make a long term career move then this question is essential and often overlooked. Make sure that the answers match up with your own ethics. Do you want a fresh, fun work hard play hard environment or perhaps a professional 9-5 and nothing else. Ask this question to find out.
If you get a sense of enthusiasm and passion then it's a pretty good bet that this is a good place to work.
2) Is there autonomy in the role - Can I use my own initiative?
// Highlight to your employer that you are willing to take the bull by the horns and to go above and beyond what the minimum requires. Employers don't like to micro-manage employees so this is a question that always impresses.
The answer to this question is also useful in understanding whether this is the right role for you, if you prefer to work to systems and processes under strict frameworks then you’ll be looking out for a “there isn’t much autonomy”, however if you prefer dynamic, creative, senior or strategic environments then you need a resounding “YES there is tons”.
3) What long term career progression is there?
// No business likes a high turnover of staff, this question shows employers you are in it for the long haul!
At all levels employers and employees love stability, keeping business operations on track and focused towards growth.
Gauge the response of your interviewers to determine whether they have a structured career path or if it is more organic. Make notes on these answers as it may be useful to refer back to these if you actually end up working for the company.
You can also follow up with the question “What is the average length of time employees stay with the company (or the team)?” this will give you another great indicator of stability within the company and allow you to forecast your own future.
4) Why did YOU join X company?
// Highlight your curious side and gain insight into what made your interviewers join their business.
I loved being asked this question when I was in HR, it gave me a chance to relay my enthusiasm and passion for why I joined each of my companies. It allowed me to sell the company I worked for with conviction as each of my employers were great in their own ways.
It’s a great way to open up your interviewers and get them talking about their own experiences.
Look out for passion and enthusiasm in the answers to this question, if you’re confronted with blank faces then that might tell you all you need to know!
5) Can I meet the team? or What is the team dynamic like?
// Show interest in the team environment, meet them, and influence the influencers!
This question shows you are keen and that you want to know more about the company. This isn’t a question for all interviews and typically best used for team leader or management positions - you want to know who you were managing right!
6) Do you participate in any organised social events?
// Understand the bigger picture! Employers love staff who contribute outside the office and buy into the complete corporate culture. This question says "I'm up for it!"
This question is along the same lines as question 1 and will help you understand office culture and the environment of the employer. Many larger companies now have personnel dedicated to organising social events and creating happy environments - yep “Director of Happiness” is actually a thing.
7) What time does the office open / shut?
// Show that you're a hard worker! This question implies that you are prepared to go beyond the standard 9 to 5. It is also a nice way of teasing out the working hours without asking it as a direct question.
This could be followed up with is it possible to work longer hours and can I configure emails on my phone.
You want to give the impression that once on-board you are an employee that wants to succeed and get on! Obviously you need to follow this one through, otherwise management may well grumble further down the line.
Asking intelligent questions at the right times in the interview is engaging and shows initiative, employers will be impressed by this, but remember…
An interview is a two way thing, you need to make a good impression and convince employers you are the right fit for their open vacancy, however they need to also convince you! When I conduct interview coaching sessions with employers this is often an area they completely overlook. Many employers just don’t realise how competitive the skills market is and work on the basis that “everybody wants to work at my company“, but that is simply not the case.
If you have a desirable skill set and are actively progressing your career then YOU are the product - have confidence!
A Superb CV + Good Interviewing Skills = A Job Offer!
My Career Improvement Blog is packed with interview advice and CV Tips so be sure to check them out. If you’re having trouble getting noticed and winning the interviews be sure to update your CV, view these Professional CV Examples for inspiration. Oh, and follow me on Pinterest to keep in the loop - Good luck with the job hunting! Suzie x