I like to define an interview as a conversation. The reason, of course, is that conversations typically involve two-way communication.
It’s very easy for both job candidates and companies to allow an interview to become a one-way street. The company is the one calling the candidate in for a job interview. The interview usually spends more time talking about the company, the job, and the candidate’s qualifications for that job. So, candidates spend the majority of their time talking about how they’re the right person for the job.
Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos is a good reminder that job candidates need to spend time during the interview process making sure their questions are answered. Not just about the job, but the company and its management as well.
Candidates: Come prepared with questions! Having a handful of questions ready sends the message to a prospective employer that you’re interested in the job. Now, I will admit that some companies do an awesome job of providing information during the interview, to the point that they will answer most of your questions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions like, “What would current employees say are the top 1-2 benefits of working here?” or “What will be my biggest challenge?”
Companies: Encourage candidates to ask questions! If the job candidate doesn’t have any questions, it’s either because 1) they’ve already made up their mind that the company isn’t a good fit for them or 2) they’re reluctant to ask the question – for whatever the reason. This is a good opportunity for recruiters to say, “I get asked about ABC a lot. Do you have any questions that I can answer?” or “You’re probably wondering about XYZ, let me just upfront the conversation with some additional information.”
Hiring an employee is a partnership. The organization is selecting someone they believe will perform at a high level. The job candidate is choosing a company that will invest in their success. Interviews are the conversations that help both sides make the best decision.14