Job Interviews: A Two-Way Street

Sidney Hubner
Latest posts by Sidney Hubner (see all)

    Mastering the job interview is a pivotal skill in the job search journey, serving as a dual gateway for both employer and candidate to explore potential fit. While employers need to ask insightful questions, candidates often overlook the importance of their own queries, missing a key chance for deep engagement. 

    In today’s fast-paced job scene, it’s key for candidates to flip the script. Forget the old-school idea of interviews being a one-way street – it’s time to see it as a chance for both sides to learn about each other and figure out if they’re a match. When candidates take the reins and ask thoughtful questions, it’s like a sneak peek into the company’s culture, the team dynamics, and what kind of leaders are running the show.

    Keep in mind you are not just selling yourself, you’re also scoping out the scene to see if it’s a place you’d want to be. Smart candidates get curious about where the company’s headed, what they’re doing for diversity and inclusion, and how they help their team grow. It’s not just about the paycheck – it’s about finding a workplace where you can thrive. 

    Treating the interview like a friendly chat instead of an intense grilling session is a game-changer. It’s a chance for you to show you’re not just looking for any job – you’re looking for the right job. Check out Hire Heroes USA’s  Interview Success Guide for additional information and guidance. 

    Learn About the Culture

    If you’re someone who loves a bit of downtime to recharge your introvert batteries, you might want to think twice about a company with a bustling communal culture that throws “optional” social events every night. On the flip side, if you thrive on competition, an organization rooted in metrics with a ranked bonus structure could be your perfect match.

    What to ask: “How would a fellow associate describe working here?”

    Growth Opportunities

    Is this an organization where you have a chance to stay long-term and advance internally? Do they allow people to grow professionally in their skills, or do they exclusively hire from the outside? This is important to know from the onset.

    Suppose this job has the potential to become a larger chapter in your career story. In that case, it is critical to see how they will invest in you while demonstrating genuine enthusiasm for the current position being offered.

    What to ask: “What is the company’s stance on professional development to best serve this role?”

    The Company’s Needs

    Understanding the “why” behind a position is crucial for setting expectations from day one. Is this a recently established role, or has it seen a turnover of three candidates in the last 12 months? Examining the turnover rate for the role or department provides insights into potential workloads and the company’s grasp of employee capacity. This information helps you gauge whether you might be overworked and offers a glimpse into the company’s awareness of its employees’ limits.

    What to ask: “Please share what the ideal candidate would bring to this team to achieve both the short and long-term goals of the department.”

    Next Steps 

    Knowing the decision timeline, next steps, and onboarding procedures, are a few additional questions you may choose to inquire about. It also helps set clear expectations and guides your follow-up strategy. Asking about additional steps demonstrates your enthusiasm and readiness for any additional requirements, like further interviews. Discussing onboarding shows you’re proactive and keen on understanding how the company supports new hires, reflecting your commitment to a seamless transition and long-term success in the role.

    What to ask: “What else would be helpful to know about me as a candidate for this position? Can I elaborate on anything that you may be wondering about?” 

    It is critical to leave an interview knowing exactly what you can offer and what you can expect from the role you are being considered for.  Asking thoughtful questions can help you stand out in a competitive job market and leave a positive impression on the interviewer. 

    Be sure to follow up after the interview to thank the company for their time, show interest or to clarify any questions. Check out Hire Heroes USA’s resources on  how to follow up after an interview for additional information and guidance. By understanding what you bring to the table, engaging actively during the interview, and following up thoughtfully, you not only enhance your candidacy but also move closer to finding a role that truly matches your career goals and aspirations.

    Sidney Hubner is the Midwest Area Manager at Hire Heroes USA.  You can register to connect with a dedicated career coach at Hire Heroes USA.