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How to Create Killer Questions for Your Interview

How to Create Killer Questions for Your Interview

“So do you have any questions for me?”

You hear the question. Your brain freezes. Yeah you have questions about salary, vacation time and benefits. But you know this isn’t what the employer wants to hear. They’ve just thrown the ball in your court. What do you do?

Properly asking questions in interviews can be tough. especially if you’ve spent most of the interview doing your best to give full answers to their questions. As hard as it is, if you can master asking questions in interviews, you’ll be the one directing the interview.

Why is asking questions important?

If there’s one thing that impresses employers, it’s an employee that knows their stuff. Asking solid questions in interviews is a basic technique to used to show your worth. You want to take the qualities that employers are looking for (resourcefulness, technical skills, dedication, for example) and ask questions that show you embody these qualities.

When the employer gives you the opportunity to ask questions, you’re being given control of where the interview will now go. It’s up to you to direct the interview to a place where you can elaborate on your skills and gets the employer to further inquire about them. If you can influence the line of questioning in a interview you can put yourself at an advantage.

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Questions are also important because they can show employers your dedication and commitment. Preparing concrete interview questions beforehand shows dedication since you’re not guaranteed the job even if you do spend the time preparing. Employers are looking for people with this drive to succeed. The is the bare minimum employers expect from potential employees.

It’s easy to say the right things during an interview, but candidates that can showcase their skills are able to stand out. Asking questions is the most important part of selling your skill set to a potential employer.

Here are some rules and tips to follow when creating your interview questions.

1. Stay away from basic questions

It’s important not to ask just any question during an interview. Its better to ask one in depth, concrete question than two flimsy ones. Questions about what to expect on the job or what your day might look like aren’t indicative of an exceptional employee. In order to come up with impressive questions you need to do research.

2. Be extremely specific with your questions

Ask questions specific to your industry based on things that you have noticed. For example, if you are applying for a position as a secretary, ask how the company plans to use technology to increase productivity and use this questions as a segue in to telling them about your efficiency and technical skills as a secretary.

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If you notice specific things a company is trying to achieve, show how you can contribute to their company meeting its goals. Always be looking to show how you can help them outside of your normal duties.

3. When coming up with questions, ask yourself these two things:

First, what quality do you want to show off with this question? Are you trying to show a specific skill, a personality trait, or an industry related idea? This question should be based on research that you’ve done about what the employer is looking for.

Second, what experience do you have personally that proves this? Think of a time you put this thing in practice. Draw from your practical experiences, from work, and volunteer positions. Incorporate this example into your question. 

4. Take the time to properly word your question

The way you phrase your questions is also important. Use action words in key places to show that you’ve done your homework.  After sharing what you noticed from your homework, tie it in with your skills. Your questions should start off like this:

I was reading *insert industry related magazine, website, study, book ect*

You mentioned that * insert quality, task or necessity that interviewer mentioned*

While watching * insert industry related tv show, webinar, seminar ect*

I noticed that * insert industry trend, something related companies are doing ect*

Use variations of the following lines to finish your questions:

Is there any opportunity for ___ here?

I noticed ____ is important to your company. What skills are you looking for to achieve this?  Follow up with your skills that fit this quality. 

Use the above to come up with at least 3 solid questions. You’ll walk in the interview ready to take anyone out. When in doubt, just ask one of your questions. If done properly, you’ll have a concrete question that show off qualities in you that employers desire.

Featured photo credit: Businessman reading company report via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss – you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

1. Leaders are compassionate human beings; bosses are cold.

It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

If people feel that you are being open, honest and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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2. Leaders say “we”; bosses say “I”.

Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

Let me explain:

A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern day workplace.

3. Leaders develop and invest in people; bosses use people.

Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

4. Leaders respect people; bosses are fear-mongering.

Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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What’s the bottom line?

Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

5. Leaders give credit where it’s due; bosses only take credits.

Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

You might be wondering how you can get started:

  • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
  • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
  • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

6. Leaders see delegation as their best friend; bosses see it as an enemy.

If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

Delegation equates to trust and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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Learn how to delegate in my other article:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

7. Leaders work hard; bosses let others do the work.

Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the hardest work of all when the need arises.

Here’s the deal:

Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go”, a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support.

8. Leaders think long-term; bosses think short-term.

A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

9. Leaders are like your colleagues; bosses are just bosses.

Another word for colleague is collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

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Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

10. Leaders put people first; bosses put results first.

Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

Here’s what I mean by process over people:

Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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