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7 Questions Millennials Should Ask During Interviews

7 Questions Millennials Should Ask During Interviews

Millennials, do you spend hours prepping for a job interview by researching companies, googling common interview questions and rehearsing answers? You may be missing one step! Don’t forget that an interview is not just about employers determining if you’re right for the company. Millennials should use this time to determine if the company is the right fit for them as well. Get past your nerves and work up the courage to ask your potential employer these questions: 

1. What are the opportunities for advancement?

One of the top reasons Millennials leave a company is because of lack of advancement opportunities, so it’s important to weed out any employers that will not offer this long-term growth. Millennials may be hesitant to ask this question so employers don’t get the impression that they are trying to get ahead before even getting a foot in the door. However, interviews are not just about finding a job, they are about finding the right fit for you, and if that means having opportunities for you to develop professionally, this question must be discussed.

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2. What is the job flexibility?

Millennials crave job flexibility, so why not find out how rigid the environment is before signing on for a job? This question does not have to come off as you having demands or wanting to sleep in late. Instead of saying “can I work a 10-6 shift? I’m not a morning person” try “What is the work-life balance like in this department?” The answer to this question will be more telling, as the potential employer will probably give you information about people in your department with families or activities outside of work that will help you determine the flexibility while still allowing you to make a strong first impression.

3. How much of an impact will I have?

To get a sense of where you stand on the totem pole, ask your potential employer questions about what kind of decision-making impact you will have. Will you be able to give ideas on solving department issues? Or will your biggest decision be what to have for lunch? Millennials love being responsible for important assignments and brainstorming solutions to company problems, so finding out ahead of time that this won’t be available to you will save you a lot of trouble working in the wrong job.

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4. What kind of interaction will I have with upper management?

Millennials do not want to work in an atmosphere where upper management is segregated from lower level employees. This generation wants to collaborate with team members on all levels, and get feedback and coaching from people they view as mentors. If you want to mix and mingle with the big wigs, but the position you’re interviewing for will have you trapped on another floor with similar employees, ask if there are mentorship opportunities available. Make sure you’re coming across as someone who wants to learn from the best, not someone who wants to be the best brown-noser.

5. What are the benefits?

Millennials may be more interested in short-term benefits like vacation time and the number of sick days, but during an interview, get an idea of long-term benefits as well. Find out what kind of retirement plans the company offers, and if health insurance covers dental and vision. As a Millennial, some of these benefits may not impact you soon, but you’ll be thankful you have them in the future.

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6. What reservations do you have about me?

This is a hard question for Millennials to ask in a situation that is already nerve-wracking, but it should be asked in every interview. Asking a potential employer this question shows you are a direct communicator and open to constructive criticism. Be sure to handle whatever answer comes your way in a professional manner. If they are hesitant about gaps in your resume, acknowledge that you understand why it is a concern, and then explain why it shouldn’t impact their hiring decision.

7. Who previously held this position?

Get a glimpse into the corporate environment by asking what happened to the person who came before you. If the person was promoted, this is a positive sign that the company believes in upward mobility, and that your position is a great starting point. Some employers may not openly tell you if the person who previously held the position was fired or left for another company, but always look for body language signs to signal that this could be the case. Fidgeting or nervousness in the response may be a red flag that the company does not treat employees well, or easily fires entry-level employees. 

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Trying to land a job so you can work your way up the corporate ladder? Take this free assessment by Joel Goldstein, President of Mr. Checkout Distributors to find out about your leadership strengths and weaknesses!

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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