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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Job Interview

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Job Interview

Job searching is no easy task. Whether it is navigating your first big step into the world of work or if it’s changing your career, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself before you interview for a job.

1. Will I be happy to wake up and go to work everyday?

People always say, if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. Well, that statement holds a lot of water. I know many people who have been in their careers for 20-30 years and still love doing what they do. When you’re happy to get up and go to work, it’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life. So take the time to think about the job you’re interviewing for and if it truly has the potential to make you happy.

2. Is this a place where I can begin building a career or is it a temporary solution?

You need to know before your job interview if you plan on this job being a part of a career move or if it is just a temporary fix to pay the bills. It’s important to know the answer to this before you interview so that you know what you expect to get out of the working experience.

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3. Will the job be enough to pay my living expenses?

Even if the job seems absolutely perfect, you should always look into about how much you can expect to make – especially if it is an entry level job. It’s important to get some kind of an idea of the salary range (if they don’t post it with the job posting there are a few websites, like Glassdoor, that you can check out) so that you know what you will be bringing in. You need to make sure that you make enough money to cover your living expenses with a little added breathing room.

If it doesn’t look like you will be able to do that with the job you’re interviewing for but your heart is set on it, then consider picking up a second job somewhere to make sure you can make ends meet. It’s no fun to have to leave a job simply because you are living outside of your means.

4. Is this a company I can build a future with?

If the job interview goes well and you get the job with this company, is it a place where you can grow in your career? This is important to think about because being able to grow in the company gives you goals to strive for while you’re working.

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If you get a job where no growth is available, it might hinder how hard you’re willing to work. But knowing that there’s something to continue to strive for will help you continue to push yourself.

5. Is this a company I believe in?

You also need to know if you believe in what the company does and whether or not you can stand behind it. Check out their website or research reviews from workers online (you can usually find this simply by searching the company name and reviews). Going into a job interview knowing that you are shooting for a company that you believe in will give you extra drive during the interview process. Also, being extra educated because of your research will impress your potential employers.

6. Are the hours what I’m looking for?

This is an important question because the hours you work will determine the lifestyle you live. Are you willing to work a job where you have to get up at 3:30 am to be at work by 5 am? Or are you willing to work nights or weekends? Make sure you think about what lifestyle you are willing to live for this job. If you aren’t happy about the life you’d have to live in order to work the job, chances are you won’t be happy working, and then your work will suffer.

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7. Is the commute worth it?

Depending on where you live and where you are trying to work, the commute may be a major pain. You might be commuting over an hour just to get there and an hour to get back home. You have to know if that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make. If it’s your dream job or a great foot in the door to getting started in your ideal career, then the commute may not matter to you at all. But it’s still a question worth pondering.

8. Am I ready for the job?

Sometimes, you can be offered a job that you may not be ready for and then you end up way in over your head. So before you go in for a job interview, think about all the responsibilities that will come with the job. Are you feeling overwhelmed already? Then you may not be ready for it.

However, if the responsibilities excite you, then you may be ready to dive right in! But it’s important to think about it so that you know what you’re getting yourself into before you even walk through the doors.

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9. What are the benefits?

Many times when employers post a job, they will post what benefits come along with it. If they don’t, then try to do a little research because it may be posted on their website or on company review sites. As boring as it might sound, it is important to think about 401k opportunities and health insurance. Especially with insurance, since it is becoming expensive and companies are changing what type of insurance they carry- it might be important to you to know what they offer. Single coverage? Family? It’s a daily expense so it’s important to think about what you need a company to offer you for benefits.

10. Will I be proud of myself?

If you get this job, will you be proud of yourself? Proud of where you work? Will you be excited to share your news with family, friends, and on all of your social media sites? If the answer is no, that’s not a good sign. But if the answer is yes, then you can bet you’ll be happy in the position. Being proud of yourself and accomplishing the task of landing this job is important, you want to feel good about yourself and what you do.

Many people spend more time working than they do at home so it’s important to make sure before you even go in for a job interview that you’ve thought through the decision. You want to make sure that you’re as ready as you can be, so that if the job is offered to you, you’re confident in your choice.

It doesn’t take a long time to think about these 10 questions, but they can help prevent you from making a huge mistake as you job search. Or, if nothing else, they can help to prepare you and give you the confidence you need before the interview. Happy job hunting!

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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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