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When interviewing for a job it is important to remember it is just as much about you interviewing the company as it is you being interviewed. Finding a job that will satisfy and motivate you requires thoughtfulness, intention, and authenticity.
In some ways, interviewing is like dating. When you are searching for a romantic partner you probably have thought about what you’re looking for in a mate, and when you’re on those initial dates, you’re spending that time getting to know the person by asking [and answering] questions, observing their behaviors, all in an effort to put your best foot forward AND assess if they’re a match for you. The same is true when interviewing for a job.
This means it’s imperative to prepare thoughtful questions that align with what you’re looking for, to ensure you collect the data needed to assess whether the job and company is indeed a match for you.
Not to mention, asking thoughtful and strategic questions positions you as a mature and prepared professional, which will impress the interviewer. And you can always follow with interviewers’ answers to show them how you would approach the situation or how your motivations align with their answer.
4 Deeply impressive interview questions.
1. What are the most important attributes for a person in this role to have and what will differentiate good performance and great performance?
The answer should give you a clear understanding of the type of person who will succeed in this role. Pay close attention to what the interviewer says and get honest with yourself whether or not you align with the description currently or aspire to.
This question shows the interviewer that you are doing your due diligence to assess if this role is right for you, which builds confidence in the interviewer that you aren’t interested in taking just any job, but rather, the job that is well-aligned with you as a professional.
2. What is the most frustrating challenge this role will face?
Notice how easily the interviewer answers this question and also what the specific challenge is. Again, get honest with yourself about whether or not you are up for the challenge. If you are, respond to her answer with how this challenge aligns with your motivations or professional goals. Showing the interviewer how motivated you are to navigate this challenge will position you as the ideal candidate.
3. How are employees supported to learn and grow in their roles?
This is especially important to ask if this is something that matters to you. Listen for evidence that backs up what they’re saying, such as, “Yes we value growing our employees AND we allocate money to professional development every year. We also have development plans for high performers.” This shows not only that they value this, but also shows direct evidence that this actually happens.
You can follow up with how important learning and growing is for you and how you would go about doing that for yourself in the role, regardless of what the company does. This shows proactivity, agency and self-management, all of which are very impressive.
4. How would you describe the culture of the company, and what are some activities that reinforce this culture?
Again, you want evidence of what they say. It is really easy for someone to talk a good game, but in this case, you need to see how they’re actually espousing what they say. Listen for activities and norms they have built into the culture to support their cultural values.
Asking them for examples of how this plays out shows you are an analytical thinker and you understand how culture is seen and felt throughout the company, which showcases you as a strategic thinker with professional maturity, and of course, gives you important data about the company.
How to close the interview
Ask about the next steps in the process and when you should expect to hear back. You can also ask how many other candidates are being interviewed to get a sense of the competition. They may or may not answer this directly, but it’s worth a shot. You should also ask the interviewer if there are any other questions they have for you or anything you can explain further about any questions they’ve already asked.
How to prepare for your next interview
Interviewing is a muscle that when exercised will get very strong. Think about every interview as an opportunity to build this muscle, and take 15-minutes after each interview to evaluate your performance by asking yourself what you did well and what you could do better for the next one.
This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss