It’s easy to forget that a job interview goes both ways: it’s as important for you, as a candidate, to determine if the job, the company, the culture, and the work environment is right for you as it is for the company to determine if you’re right for them.
When people say a job interview should be a two-way street, they mean it—but you have to make sure you actually get into the driver’s seat and take control of the conversation.
Remember a job interview gives you the chance to assess whether this is the right job for you. Unfortunately, most of us spend the entire interview just answering questions.
Here are some tips on how to take control and use that precious time in your interview wisely;
Make sure your job interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. Whenever you’re asked a question, answer, but take the opportunity to ask about the job. For example, if you’re being asked about your experience with using property database software, answer them directly and clearly, but follow up with “what software do you use?” Doing this answers the question, but also shows an interest in the company and the things they do. Not only does this make you look good, it also provides you with information you can use to decide if this is a company where you would like to work.
The best interviews leave you feeling confident and informed. You should leave knowing what the interviewer wants, what the team is like, and ideally what your working day will be like and the tools you’d use to do your job. Don’t leave it until the last minute, when you’re asked “So, do you have any questions for me?” to get clarity. If you’ve been trying but not got the answers, or never had the opportunity to get your questions answered, the job may not be for you. However second interviews or follow-up calls sometimes provide the opportunity to get more questions answered.
The only real secret to a successful interview is to make sure it’s a good conversation between all parties. However in order to make a rational judgment as to suitability, you must take control of the conversation. Be confident. You have a big decision to make. It’s up to you to ask thoughtful questions, and do the necessary digging to see how well the position and the organization suits you.
Don’t get caught up in the carrot-and-stick mind-set that an interview means you have to take the wrong job because you get an offer. During the interview process it’s easy to rationalize all the things that don’t feel right to you because you really want the job but remember you do yourself no favours by accepting a job offer that is not a good fit.