Job interviews can be stressful. Many people feel intimidated because every interview is different, which makes it difficult to know what to expect or how to prepare. However, there are key elements of the interview for which you can prepare. Spending time getting ready for an interview will empower you, helping you to feel more confident and allow you to present yourself as a competent and professional candidate.
Do Your Research
It’s important to research any company you’re interviewing with, as it will help you demonstrate that you’re a strong candidate for the role. Your research will come in handy when the employer asks you questions such as “What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?” Your research will also help you to craft intelligent and relevant questions to ask your interviewer. If candidates do not ask well-informed questions, it could reveal that they have not done their “due diligence” and could give the employer the impression that they’re not very interested in working at that specific company.
Start your research by carefully reviewing the job posting. You don’t want to ask a question that has already been answered. Next, read through the company’s website. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the following:
- Organization’s history
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Recent media attention
- Plus, any details found on their careers page
Many employers will list benefits on that page, as they don’t want to take a candidate through a lengthy interview process only to have them reject an offer due to not having a specific type of benefit.
Take a moment to Google the company and/or specific location, and search for them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Another invaluable research tool to utilize is Glassdoor. This site became famous for sharing interview questions companies had previously asked candidates. Glassdoor also features salary information, current/former employee reviews as well as job postings.
What to Ask Your Potential Employer
You can find a variety of interview questions on career websites, but I caution you – one size does not fit all. Questions must be tailored to the employer and industry. Asking the right questions can help you determine whether or not this particular role is right for you.
Keep in mind, it’s still standard advice not to ask about salary, time off or benefits in the first interview. Nowadays, conducting research beforehand will help you find answers to those types of questions. If you can’t find those answers, wait until subsequent interviews or when you have an offer, then you can begin to have those conversations and negotiate if needed. Here are eight questions to ask a potential employer following your interview:
1. How long is the orientation process for this role?
Often overlooked, this question is vital to your ability to be successful within the organization. If they don’t have an orientation process, you may want to reconsider working there.
2. What are your expectations for new hires in this role in the first 30 to 60 days?
You need to know what you’re getting into and what your life might look like after taking on this role. Starting a job and getting fired in the first few weeks does more damage to your employment history than their company.
3. What are the most challenging aspects of this role for your new hires?
This question allows you to dig further into what this role entails and is a professional way of asking about areas where other new hires may have had trouble.
4. In the event a new hire has trouble with a skill, concept or expectation, what type of support can you offer to ensure the success of your new hires?
You may not need to ask this if they provide detailed answers to numbers 1 and 2. This is also an indirect way of asking about employee retention and how important employee retention is to them. Employers don’t want to hire you just to have to let you go a month or two later but not all employers are as organized as you would hope they should be. If they’re organized and open about having “employee success plans” this will help you make a decision.
5. After the orientation process has ended, what other opportunities do you offer for continued education/professional development?
The best employers expect their employees to continue to grow and increase the value they bring to the organization. This will shine a light on that.
6. Are there opportunities for growth or professional development within your company? OR Could you tell me about the opportunities for growth/professional development that are associated with this role/department?
This question may not be needed in sectors like science and healthcare, as there are expectations of continuous growth to stay current with the industry. However, don’t take the opportunity for advancement for granted, so be prepared to ask a question like this. Be aware there might be an industry-specific way of asking this, for example, in nursing candidates could ask, “could you please detail your clinical ladder for nursing at your facility (or within your system)?”
7. Given our conversation today, is there anything else I can tell you to help you with your decision?
This is a subtle way of asking about and addressing any shortcomings. It allows you to ask the interviewer about areas where they might have concerns, so you can nudge them in the right direction. Directly asking an interviewer about your shortcomings and putting them on the spot can encourage misleading responses.
8. What is the time frame in which you will be making your decision for this position? OR What is the next step in this process?
Don’t sit around by the phone waiting for your interviewer to call. Some employers may offer limited start dates/orientations for new hires in specific roles while others may hire continually throughout the year according to their needs. This will help you with your decision.
Be sure to write down your questions and bring them to your interview. Your interview experience could be rigorous, and you don’t want to struggle to remember any details you wanted to bring up.
Your job search doesn’t have to be a lonely journey! Connect with your Campus Career Coach who can help you tailor all of your career readiness tools to you and your future career destination.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.