Get Hired in 10 Minutes
Here’s the scenario.
You’ve managed to schedule your first round of interviews with the company, the big day comes, you go for the interview.
The interviewer asked questions, you answered them perfectly and the interview is going along smoothly.
Now, it’s time for the Q&A section where you get the opportunity to ask the employer questions. You start asking questions like:
- “What are the benefits that come with this job?”
- “What’s the day-to-day of the job like?”
- “What’s the pay like?”
- “How many days of leave do you get per year?”
And stop doing yourself a disservice!
Don’t just be another average interviewee asking average questions.
This 10 minutes of Q&A gives you the best opportunity to standout from every other candidate, as well as giving you the most human touchpoints of the company that you’re ever going to get.
And you’re wasting it.
Those people that are interviewing you have already been working there for a period of time and are a treasure trove of information about the company, waiting to be unlocked only if you are asking the right questions.
For today’s article, I’m going to be talking about Interviewing the Interviewer and why this is really important for you (and also the employer too!) I’m going to break down this article into 2 digestible segments: The Why and The How
Asking the right questions would allow you to get to know your potential employers better before you actually commit to the job.
Back when I was job hunting as a fresh graduate, I felt that interviews were conversations that allowed the interviewer to assess me as a potential candidate for the role they were hiring — and nothing more.
This is no longer the case.
In this day and age, interviews are now two-way dialogues that requires preparation ahead of time.
Interviews are a great way for candidates to assess the company that they are applying for and probing for more information deeper than what their job description, Glassdoor or LinkedIn Company Profiles can offer. What’s more, you get to know your potential employers better without any contractual obligation.
Asking the right questions will enable you to find the right company that’s the right fit for you.
If you’re asking the right questions, this 10 minutes is also a great platform for you to probe into how the company is nurturing their talents and charting their career growth. It also enables you to understand how their current employees are being treated in the company and what initiatives they are undertaking to keep their employees happy and their turnover rate low. By the end of the interviews, you should be able to have a succinct answer to the question of “Why do I like this company?”
Most importantly, asking in-depth questions would leave a good impression with the interviewers.
Thought-provoking questions are crucial to impress the interviewers. Why? It does a few key things:
- First and foremost, it shows that you’ve done your research and your homework — you are prepared for your interviews. It also indicates to the employers that you’re interested and keen to learn more about the company.
- If you are able to probe questions after hearing a certain answer (questions upon questions!) — it sends a signal to the employers that you’re capable of critical thinking and analysis. It also tells the employer that you’re listening and paying attention to whatever’s being said. None of that “one ear in and one ear out” nonsense.
- It keeps your interviewers engaged in conversation and discussion (especially if they are from HR where they go through many interviews in a day). This is awesome because it greatly increases the chances that they remember you — you automatically stand out amongst the other candidates.
Now that you know why it’s important, here are some tips so that you can start interviewing your interviewers and maximising those precious 10-minute windows with your potential employers!
Start preparing questions based on what values that you have or what matters that you hold close to your heart.
As mentioned in the Why — asking the right questions can help you find the right company that’s the right fit for you. In order to do so, you need to start preparing questions that help you do the following: (1) understand how the company aligns with your own values, (2) clarify any concerns that you may have and (3) address matters that you care about — even if they are difficult questions. In fact, this is the best time to ask those difficult questions and see how the company addresses them.
Some of the questions may look like these:
- “What is the company culture like? How does the company grow its employees? Are there any examples on how some of your employees have grown over the years?”
- “As a manager, how do you deal with an employee that makes a mistake?”
- “If my wife is pregnant and giving birth in a month, will there be leeway for me to have flexible working hours?”
- “How does the company deal with gender discrimination in the workplace?”
Research your interviewer’s background and prepare your questions before each of the interviews — specific to that person.
You should know who the interviewers are before the the big day. Take the time to research into each of your interviewer’s profile because more likely than not, they are going to be part of the team that you may have to interact and work with on a daily basis if you land the role.
Start crafting questions that only that person within that discipline can answer. Think of each interview as a strategic meeting with different stakeholders operating in different facets of the company that you might need to interact with — what do you want to know about it that might affect your job (assuming you land the role)?
For example, if you have interviews with the Marketing Manager and you’re a Product Manager, prepare a list and ask questions that only the Marketing Manager would be able to answer:
- Which geographies does your marketing team cover?
(To better understand where your audiences for the product reside in.)
- Do you have plans for expansion into other markets in the next 3 years?
(It might affect the languages the product needs to be translated into.)
- What kind of marketing / growth strategies do you have in mind for the next year that might have an impact on the product?
(To better understand how marketing communicates with the product team and what their production cycles look like.)
Ask further probing questions based on the answers that you receive.
You may find that you’ve asked a question and you still have another follow-up question. Don’t be afraid to ask and keep the discussion flowing! Dig deep into the information you need to know about their department or company and how they operate as a whole — even if you think that the information might be sensitive. Your interviewers should be able to tell you upfront if it’s private information that cannot be shared with outsiders such as yourself.
If you have more than 1 interview with the same company lined up, don’t be afraid to ask the same questions.
Sometimes, your questions can afford to be generic and you don’t have to be afraid to ask the same question to different interviewers. What you’re looking for is consistency in their answers across all the different employees at the company. Some generic questions could be things like:
- “Why have you stayed at the company for # years? What keeps you going?”
- “What kind of growth have you experienced at this company?”
- “How do you feel about your work? What have you accomplished with this company and what do you hope to accomplish in the future?”
Catch your interviewers off-guard by changing the format of the Q&A.
Just like how interviewers can catch their candidates off-guard, so can you!
Speaking from personal experience, I’ve done my Q&A in several formats that have caught some of my interviewers off-guard and unprepared. When a person is caught off-guard and unprepared, those are the moments when the interviewers are most vulnerable and you can see what their true reactions are like.
This 10 minute Q&A segment is a place where you CAN afford to be creative. Feel free to change up the way you ask questions in interviews — it is definitely refreshing! Paint a scenario for the interviewers to answer, play a guessing game, test them with an IQ question, the world is truly your oyster here.
That’s all I have on Interviewing your Interviewers! Though this thought-process and concept might not be commonplace, I hope that it was useful for you to spice up your interviews and get more bang for buck during those 10 minutes!
Let me know in the comments what kind of questions you’ve asked in your interviews and I hope to see you in the next article!
Get Hired in 10 Minutes was originally published in Mighty Bear Games on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.