The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Good Luck Candidates!

In my previous articles I focussed on corporate side of interviewing mindfulness. I take this space and opportunity today to throw some light on tiny yet mighty aspects that a candidate be mindful while preparing for the job interview.

‘Do you have any questions for us?’
As a candidate, these are the words that you may hear towards the end of your interview. Or maybe after considerable conversation has gone past. This is when the potential employer throws the ball in your court and gives you an open arena to play. You must play, but do tread with caution. What you have at hand is to procure some valuable information which will not only allow you to make a critical decision but also show a glimpse of your thought process, to the interviewer. So after you have done undoubtedly well in your initial conversations, you would not want this segment to dampen your chances at the job. While most of your questions may be smart and well-considered, there are some questions that are red flags for interviewers. 

As an interviewer, here is what I think are not very powerful or impressive questions that candidates can avoid asking…

Generic questions about the company
What does the company do? Who are the competitors? What are the main products of the company? In the age of internet and information accessibility, it is expected that the candidate would have already done their research and ground work before coming for a discussion. You can surely ask more about what you have read or any recent news or update that you came across that related to the company or the industry. That would not only show that you are well informed but also showcase your intent to understand better.

Seeking other opportunities
Is there any other position that you have? Try to avoid this as much as you can. This question displays arrogance and lack of interest in the role at hand. In your mind you may be assessing other options, and that’s totally fair. But talking about it with your prospective employer breaks the rhythm of the conversation and brings in uncertainty.

Binary questions
Avoid asking “yes or no” types of questions. In preparing for an interview, a candidate should take time to identify some open-ended questions in areas where they need more information to evaluate their alignment and make a final decision. The preparation helps identify areas where the candidate is seeking further insight into the job, the company culture, specifics of the role and the hiring process.

Promotion timelines and raise
It is recommended to avoid questions about a position’s compensation or benefits until you receive an official job offer. Better instead would be to ask questions about how the company measures performance of their employees. These questions can help you understand how you could excel in the position, which may provide opportunities for advancement or salary increases in the future.

Overtime and holidays
Will I have long working hours? How many holiday do you offer?

Now these are not wrong questions to ask. But maybe the way you frame them can be different. For example asking about long hours of work may make you come off as being lazy. Instead, ask the question ‘What are the working hours for this role?’ or ‘Is there a positive work-life balance?’ Sounds better, doesn’t it?

To gain as much as you need to during your interview, it’s important to have a back pocket of good questions for your interviewer. Yes, the company are assessing whether you will be a good fit for the team, but even you are making sure the company and role will suit you and your lifestyle.

So what should you be asking instead? Watch this space for more…