Navigating the Job Market: The Interview
Guest post by DeAnn Baxter, APR
If you’re a job seeker, you know how exhilarating it is to receive a call or e-mail requesting an interview. While every scheduled appointment is a huge accomplishment in this economy, it’s still important to ensure your needs are met when it comes to a new job.
Interviews are a two-way street. Not only is this company making sure that you’re a good fit for its open position, but also, you’re given an opportunity to ensure that the role, the team, and the culture of the organization all fit what you’re seeking in your next position. Taking advantage of the time you’re given at the end of an interview to pose your questions can help navigate your decision process. Use these queries as a starting point to help you decide if the job is right for you:
- What’s the make-up of the team? If the team is large, there’s an opportunity to learn from a variety of people. If the team is small, you might be able to take on more responsibilities. Know how you work. Are you more independent or do you thrive in a group setting? Maybe a mix of both is better for your personality. Find out more about your potential co-workers to determine if the environment is a match.
- What’s the hiring manager’s supervision style? If s/he says they are “hands on,” dig deeper. Does this mean they micromanage or does it mean you’ll work closely with them in all situations, helping you to learn and be mentored? If they prefer to let you hit the ground running, how will your work be monitored, approved, and executed, and at what intervals?
- What kind of personality would thrive in this position/at this company? Take note of the list of traits, and seriously consider if you would make a good fit. If the interviewer answers that the successful candidate would have a good sense of humor or wear many hats, understand that you’ll need to be on your toes. If they mention that a flexible schedule is necessary, clarify if nights, weekends, holidays, and travel are involved and how often. Be honest with yourself – are you willing to make sacrifices or is this just another aspect that adds up to your dream job?
- Where is the company headed? This is a great way to gauge the innovation of the company. Listen to the company representative’s viewpoint regarding the future of the business from different aspects like social media usage, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.
What questions are you raising to recruiters and hiring managers to determine whether a job is the right fit for you? What are some of the “must haves” in your next job? How are you evaluating opportunities?
DeAnn Baxter, APR, is a freelance consultant with experience in agency and corporate communications. She holds bachelor’s degrees in public relations and speech communication from Penn State and a master’s in PR from Johns Hopkins University. In 2006, the Public Relations Society of America honored her as the New Professional of the Year. Connect with DeAnn on LinkedIn or Twitter.