Questions to ask at first interview

As we have mentioned before, the goal in any interview is to develop a balance between interviewer and interviewee. You, the interviewee are not there as a supplicant rather as an applicant who has services for hire. You would not be there if your skills did not reach the minimum requirements.

Part of building the rapport between you is the ability of the applicant to ask asking-questionsgreat questions. Over the next few days we will be looking at some of the questions you should be asking and at which interview.

It is appropriate to have a list of questions with you, this shows some of your organization and research capabilities. It is also useful as a prop if you need a second to get your thoughts together, you can look at your list and make a note.

A great opening question is:

Why is this position vacant?  Followed by: What led to the vacancy?
The value of this question is that there are many paths that you can follow from here to gain some insight as to the corporate culture. If you have managed to achieve this interview through networking then you may have a contact that can give you some insight as to the current situation.

Further questions are then selected based on who the interviewer may be and your potential relationship to them. Below I have sorted a few of these questions into two “buckets”, the first are questions that relate to either the people or duties and the second is focused on the organization.

Section 1 – People or Duties

  • What are the major duties and responsibilities of this position?
  • What would a typical day on the job be like?
  • Is there someone in this, or a similar position I may talk with?
  • Based on past experience what would you suggest be done differently by the next incumbent?
  • Management style is important; can you tell me something about the current manager to whom I’d report? How would you characterize their style?
  • What would my exact duties be?
  • What are you the primary characteristics you will be looking for in the person who fills this position?

Section 2 – Organization

  • Is there an organizational chart available?
  • This position seems to have contact with other departments within the company. Can you tell me the access that the department has?
  • Are there any plans to downsize or increase current staff levels across the organization?

We will be posting another blog soon with questions more closely related to second interviews.

Good hunting


Different Perspectives – Outplacement Counselors

This portion of Different Perspectives looks at some of the ways in which professional coaches and counselors respond to the same type of question as that given to Job Seekers. How can we, as professionals answer our clients when they ask for some reassurance and a silver bullet? Below are two of the responses I received, both of which demonstrate the dilemma that a coach or consultant faces. Continue reading