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Seven Great Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Seven Great Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

Seven Great Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

    If you are going for an interview as a prospective employee then you should do some research.  Read the job description and requirements carefully.  Browse the web site to see how the organization presents itself.  Search for news items and comments about the company on news sites and blogs.

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    For the interview itself you should dress smartly and appropriately.  It is important to have some questions prepared and here are a few that could really help:

    1.  What exactly would my day-to-day responsibilities be? It is essential that you clearly understand your role and the tasks that you would be expected to undertake.  It is easy to make assumptions and get the wrong impression of what the work would be so it is vital for both sides that there is clarity in what is expected of you.  If the interviewer cannot give a clear answer then this is a worrying sign, so politely follow up with more questions.  Some people even ask to see exactly where they will sit.

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    2.  What are the opportunities for training and career advancement? This question serves two purposes.  It helps you to understand where the job might lead and what skills you might acquire.  It also signals that you are ambitious and thinking ahead.

    3.  What is the biggest challenge facing the organization today? This sort of question takes the interview away from the detail and towards strategic issues.  It allows to you see and discuss the bigger picture.  It proves that you are interested in more than just the 9 to 5 aspects of the job.  It can lead to interesting discussions that can show you in a good light – especially if you have done some intelligent preparation.  If appropriate you can follow up this question with some questions about the objectives of the department and the manager who is interviewing you.

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    4.  When did you join? After the interviewer has asked a number of questions about you it can make a good change to ask a gentle question about them.  People often like talking about themselves and if you can get them talking about their progress in the company you can learn useful and interesting things.

    5.  What are the criteria that you are looking for in the successful candidate for this position? The job advertisement may have listed what was wanted in a candidate but it is very useful to hear the criteria directly from the interviewer.  The more that you can discover about what they want and how they will make the decision the better placed you are to influence that decision.

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    6.  How do you feel that I measure up to your requirements for this position? This follows on naturally from the previous questions.  It may seem a little pushy but it is a perfectly fair thing to ask.  In sales parlance this is a ‘trial close’.  If they say that you are a good fit then you can ask whether there is any reason you might not be offered the job.  If they say that you are lacking in some key skill or attribute then you can move into objection handling mode and point out some relevant experience or a countervailing strength.

    7.  Would you like to hear what I could do to really help your department? If you want the job then this is a great question to ask at the end of the interview.  Most interviewers will reply, ‘Yes.’  Drawing on what you have learnt in the conversation, you can give a short sales pitch on why you fit the criteria and why your strengths and ideas will siginficantly assist the boss to meet their objectives.  Make it short, direct and clear with the emphasis on the benefits for them of having you in the team.  At the end ask something like, ‘how does that sound?’

    Many candidates take a passive role at the interview.  They competently answer the questions that are put to them but they never take the initiative by asking intelligent questions that steer the interview in a helpful direction.  If you are a proactive candidate who asks the sorts of questions given above then you will be seen as more dynamic and you will significantly increase your chances of being offered the job.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to win Arguments – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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