5 Questions To Ask Yourself During An Interview

You’ve been contacted by the recruiter, aced the HR interview, and been invited to the final round.

This face-to-face will likely take place in an office where you will be expected to show up (on time), be well-prepared, showcase a good attitude and highlight the ways you would bring value to the company. However, what about those sitting on the other side? Shouldn’t they be expected to do the same?

Many times, we think of a job interview as a one-sided event where the candidate is effectively begging for a job when in reality, it’s a two-way conversation which will allow both parties to come to a decision. Is the candidate right for the company and is the company right for them? Today, we are sharing five things to look for when interviewing for a new job. Consider this similar to a scorecard — paying attention to how it all adds up could save you time, money, stress and the embarrassment that often accompanies leaving a new job too early after your start date.

1| How was I greeted?

Want to know about company culture? Office dynamics and team values? Pay attention to how you are greeted when you walk through the door. Is the receptionist attentive? Are you offered a glass of water? Does someone take your coat? How long do you wait for someone? How do staff members interact with one another? The more you open your eyes and ears, the better understanding you will have of the company as a whole.

Woman with coffee on Brenda Della Casa's BDC Digital Media

2 | Do they respect my time?

Respectful, professional people understand the value of time, and not just their own which is why last-minute interviews, numerous rescheduling and interviews that last longer than a couple of hours are all signs the management feel their time is more valuable than yours.

3 | Are they prepared?

I once had an interview where I sat, waiting for 20 minutes, was shuffled into a packed conference room and interviewed by two people I had never heard of and who had never looked over my resume before our 1-1. Thirty-five minutes into an interview that was awkward to the point of shocking, someone came in and said they needed the room. I was asked to wait as they found another one and then finally told to “just email us with any questions you have.” My email was a polite “no, thank you”. Think of an interview the same way you would as a first date. If that’s their “best behavior,” can you imagine what it would be like working for them?

4 | Are they taking me on an ego trip?

Beware any interview where you feel belittled, put down or suddenly start questioning your skillset or the value you add. While it’s common for some interviewers to put candidates in the hot seat to see how they respond, there’s a big difference between being asked to share your experience (which they clearly thought was good enough to ask you in) and being disrespected.

5 | How do they speak about their colleagues and the overall environment?

While most professionals are wise enough not to flat-out dis their coworker or complain about company culture in an interview room, the adjectives they use to describe team members, the workload or office politics will offer great insight into what your working life would be like in the company. Does the interviewer put down the person who was previously in your role (even as a way to build you up)? Do they use words like “very challenging” and “tricky” or candy-coat the fact they “work day or night to get things done”? Do they offer vague responses that feel as though they are afraid to tell you what they think or don’t have a firm opinion? All red flags.

Bonus: What does my gut say?

The best way to know if the job is right for you is by your excitement to start that actual job in that company with those people. This is different from being excited about leaving a job you dislike, gaining access to a larger paycheck, or having a specific name or title on your resume when you “move on.” Stepping stones can work, but more often than not, taking a job for any other reason than you want to be there will lead to stress and unhappiness in the long run. You might make more, but the price you pay will be much higher than any salary they can offer you.

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