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The Best Questions to Ask in an Interview to Leave a Remarkable Impression

The Best Questions to Ask in an Interview to Leave a Remarkable Impression

You’ve finally got through to the end of the interview and your potential employer asks you the most common question – “Do you have any questions?”

Many people don’t think of this as an important question, and actually the most common reply is “no.”

Perhaps you had some basic questions in your mind but felt they were already covered during the interview?

Perhaps you didn’t think of any at all because surely an interview is more about what you’re saying than what your potential employer is saying?

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If this is the case, then you may be hindering your chances of getting the job more than you realize.

Why This Simple Question Can Be Hard to Answer

If you’re particularly nervous in interviews, whether or not you felt you performed well, your mind can start to feel relief at the end of an interview and start to get into a relaxed state.

The problem here is that we believe the “do you have any questions?” is the moment where the interview is over, but in fact you’re still essentially being tested by the interviewer. They want to gauge your interest in them, the role, or the company. If you’re unprepared with interesting or information-seeking questions, you may come across as disinterested and unenthusiastic for the job.

The other problem is if we did prepare questions, but they were already answered in the interview process. It can be hard to search for new questions on the spot, and we can end up not being able to think of any.

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How Asking Questions Can Prove You’re the Best Fit for the Job

Enthusiasm, interest, and a good, two-way flowing conversation are all excellent ways to come across well when meeting with a potential recruiter. While the bulk of the interview is to shine a good light on yourself and your abilities for the role, asking questions really shows your potential employer your knowledge, awareness of the role, and that you prepared fully for the interview.

It essentially shows you’re serious about the job and if you’ve done your research on the company and its values, it can be an opportunity to further show your knowledge about them and how they operate.

But it’s not all about the recruiter, it’s also a chance for you to see if they’re a good fit for your work values, career progression, and work lifestyle.

What Types of Questions Should I Ask?

Preparation is key. It’s important to have at least two potential smart questions that can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job. The best ones incorporate your interest in the employer while also eliciting essential information for yourself and whether the job is a good fit for you. In other words, your questions are focused and open-ended.

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Questions to Find out About the Company

This is an opportunity to show off your knowledge of the company, but also to see if it’s somewhere that will benefit you and your career path.

  • I read the company focuses on the importance of community and runs a volunteer scheme for its employees. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
  • Could you tell me a bit more about the culture of the company?
  • How does the company invest in its employees in terms of training?
  • How does this company define and measure success?

Questions to Find out About the Role

Show more enthusiasm for the role by asking additional questions. Remember, you can pick up on something the recruiter mentioned when describing the role and ask to elaborate on it, or you can think about your future in this role and how it can help you grow.

  • Can you tell me how you can potentially see this role progressing?
  • What are your expectations for this role for the next month, three months, or year?
  • Can you tell me what a typical day would be in this role?
  • What are biggest challenges of this job?
  • Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Asking the interviewer for their personal view on their role in the company and how it works for them is a good indicator for a typical work life at this company, and perhaps the team you’ll work in.

  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • How long have you been with the company?
  • Is there anything you would improve in terms of working here?
  • What are the dynamics of the team like?

Questions to Further Clarify Your Suitability for The Role

If you feel you have more to say about yourself that could help you get the job, or you’d like to clarify something about your work history, then now can be a good time to present the information. Try not to force information if it hasn’t been asked for – this is a way for you to come across as being open. However, over-explaining a discrepancy that hasn’t been asked about will probably cause problems for yourself.

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  • What can I clarify for you about my qualifications?
  • Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
  • Are there any other questions I can answer for you?

Questions to Find out Logistics

There will most likely be questions to do with the next steps in the process that you would like answered. It’s good to think of a few because you don’t want to leave the interview wondering what is happening next. It’s best to ask these right at the end.

  • What is the next step in the hiring process?
  • When can I expect to hear back about the job?
  • When is the anticipated starting date for this position?
  • If I think of any more questions who can I contact?

Remember: Don’t ask questions about salary, benefits, taking off holiday, or whether you got the job. These will be discussed after the interview.

So, remember to have a few questions under your belt. Continue the mindset that this is still a crucial part of the interview, and you’re showing off your enthusiasm and interest in both them and the role. However, it’s also for your benefit, and having good information-seeking questions can help you know if the job fits you. Good luck!

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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