In our last post, we talked about the importance of asking questions in an interview and gave you some examples of questions you should be asking. Something else that is as equally important to know is what questions not to ask in an interview. When you ask the wrong questions during an interview, you can come off as aggressive and forceful, which can cause the interviewer dismissing you as a candidate.
It’s no secret that interviews can be stressful. You have to think about what you are going to wear, what questions to prepare for, and how you are going to explain any gaps in your resume. But, there is one more key thing you need to be thinking about: the interview questions you’re going to ask.
Typically, interviewers will ask you if you have any questions, and having interview questions prepared is going to give a much better impression. So, before you leave home, make sure you’ve asked yourself, “what questions should I ask in the interview?”
You probably have a huge stack of resumes and cover letters sitting on your desk. Or maybe they are sitting in your inbox. Either way, you are dreading reading them all. Even after carefully reading them and selecting a candidate, you could end up with an employee who turns out to not be what you thought.
While things like resumes and cover letters are certainly helpful in finding candidates, it’s important to focus on the interview. You can’t replace things like first impressions, responses to questions, and dealing with the stress of an interview with the information in resumes and cover letters. However, if you aren’t asking the right questions in the interview, you could still end up hiring someone you think is a great fit, but turns out to not be what you were looking for. Here are a few questions you should be asking in an interview:
1. Can you tell me about a challenging work situation you experienced and what the situation resulted in?
By asking this question to candidates, you are going to learn how they handle stress and how they perceive results. You should be looking for honest answers, but also answers that have positive results. Candidates should be trying to show you that they work through issues and strive for positive results.
2. Why do you want to work here?
“It seems like a fun work environment.” “I really like the way the company is structured.” “Your brand is really great.” These are typical responses that don’t really carry any meaning. If a candidate gives you an answer like these, you’ll be able to tell they haven’t done much research. Look for specific answers about your company and show that thought and time was put into preparing for the interview.
3. What would you do differently, if you were to start your career over?
The ideal candidate would say nothing and are happy that their career path has lead them to you. But, we don’t live in an ideal world, so you should be looking for answers that focus on, growth, learning, and positive actions. You want a candidate who can recognize mistakes and is willing to make the necessary corrections to get back on track.
4. Where would you like to be in 5 years, career wise?
Sure, it may be a stereotypical question, but it’s an important one to ask. Interviewers sometimes avoid it because of overuse, but it serves a great purpose. You are looking for employees that are going to be dedicated to your organization and want to work for you. By asking this particular question, you can find out the goals of the candidate and if they match those of your company.
5. What type of work environment do you function best in?
As the one interviewing, you should have a handle on the work environment this candidate will be in. Is it fast? Hectic? Slow? Quiet? Once you are able to answer this question for yourself, you can ask candidates what type of work environment they work best in to ensure the two match. Employees who don’t fit with their work environments tend to be unhappy, stressed, and seek out other opportunities.
When it’s all said and done, you need to be asking interview questions that get to the heart of the situation: does this employee fit. Your questions should be tailored to your organization, the requirements of the position, and your overall goals.
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Shaking hands is simple, right? You just put your hand out, grab another one, squeeze, and then let go. But, what if you let go too soon? What if you hold on too long? What if you squeeze too hard? When you are preparing for your interview, there’s a good chance you aren’t practicing your hand shake. However, you should know a few common rules of shaking hands.
No matter how many times you have shaken hands, it’s important to know how to give a proper hand shake. After all, it is one of your first impressions, and those are crucial in the job seeking process.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shaking hands during your interview:
- Wipe your hands off. There is a good chance that you are going to be nervous before your interview and that may mean having sweaty palms. Wipe your hands off on your pants or in a restroom before your interview.
- Initiate the shake. If the interviewer doesn’t automatically offer you their hand, you should offer yours. It shows that you take initiative and will result in a good first impression.
- Smile. Smiling and saying something like, “it’s nice to meet you” can take your interview handshake even further. It’s important to act like you are confident and not nervous.
- Make eye contact. You may be tempted to look at the handshake as it’s happening, but you need to establish eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with. Doing this helps reinforce that you are confident.
- Be firm. In the past, it was common to treat handshakes between men and women differently. But, in the 21st century, it’s important to treat everyone equally, and that means the same handshake for all.
- Avoid aggression. Gripping too hard, holding on too long, or shaking too long can make you seem overly aggressive. It’s ideal to only shake hands for two to three seconds. If you are nervous about holding on too long, take a cue from the interviewer. When you feel them let go, you need to let go.
- End with a handshake. When your interview is over, you may be ready to claw your way out of the room. But, before you leave, you should shake hands again, refer to the interviewer by name, and thank them. By doing this, you add a personal touch.
That may be a lot to remember right before your big interview. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be rude or too aggressive. If you forget everything you just read, then follow the interviewer and mirror their actions.
We live in a world where first impressions mean a whole lot, no matter how much we wish they didn’t. What you wear to your job interview is actually really important. Many HR reps, managers, and other interviewers pay really close attention to what you wear to your interview.
If you find yourself standing in your closet or in front of a mirror asking “what should I wear to my interview?”, then you should know you aren’t alone. It can be difficult to determine the right clothes for an interview. However, here are some key things to keep in mind when picking out your interview clothes:
Dress for the Job
If you are interviewing for a job as a construction worker, you probably don’t need to wear a full suit. And that works both ways. If you are interviewing for a position in an office, you shouldn’t show up wearing jeans and a t-shirt. No matter the job, make sure your clothes are clean, don’t have holes, and are appropriate.
On a typical day, you might splash on some aftershave or spritz some perfume on. I mean, who doesn’t like to smell nice? But before you go to an interview, you don’t want to do either of those things. You never know when someone will have an allergy or a sensitive nose, and you certainly don’t want your first impression to be someone to sneezing or getting sick because of your fragrance.
The Key Is In the Details
Are your shoes polished? Does your belt go with your suit? Is your jewelry distracting? Are you wearing matching socks? Are you wearing the right colors? These are the types of questions to ask yourself while looking in the mirror before your interview. Everything needs to match and be a distracting. Keep in mind that you want to look professional and like you already belong as an employee.
When In Doubt
If you can’t figure out what you should wear to the interview, then feel free to call the HR department. You don’t want show up to your interview underdressed, so ask what is recommended. If you aren’t brave enough to ask, then overdress slightly because that makes a better first impression than being underdressed.
Do you have any questions about what you should wear to your upcoming interview? Leave your questions in the comments section below!