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Last Updated on June 18, 2020

8 Impressive Questions to Ask During an Interview

8 Impressive Questions to Ask During an Interview

I. Love. Job Interviews.

Call me crazy. Some people get super freaked out about job interviews. I love them, because not only are they a great way to convince companies to hire you, but they are also a great way for you to learn about them. This requires preparing for all sorts of interview questions.

In my professional career, I believe I have attended more than 75 interviews as a candidate. This includes in-person interviews at a placement exchange or on campus. I’m not counting phone interviews. But if you count those, I’m easily over 100.

Having worked in 9 different jobs in 7 different states in the past 25 years, I’ve learned a few things about the questions I need to ask in order to determine if the organization is a good fit for me. Ultimately, there is one little thing is more important than title, salary, or benefits.

It’s not whether YOU are a good fit for them…it’s if the EMPLOYER is a good fit for you. They’ve already done their initial research, and they already believe you qualify. If you are approaching the interview from a research standpoint, you now need to determine if this place of employment is one where you will thrive, grow, and make a difference.

What I’ve learned over the years is that employees come to a job interview with different needs in mind. I will always be concerned about work/life balance and opportunities for professional development. However, you might be more interested in supervision, your team, the history of the company, office culture, or the job selection process itself.

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With that in mind, here are 8 questions you can ask that cover all the bases.

1. What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?

This question is on the job itself. It really helps pull from the interviewer what they are looking for in the new hire.

“Challenges” winds up being a trigger word for “wish list,”  so when you ask the interviewer about challenges in the position, you are asking them to specify the type of employee they are seeking; but you are showing the interviewer that you are up to the task and want to push yourself to raise the bar on your performance.

2. What training programs are available to your employees?

This is a basic, simple question that could be expanded depending on the answer. Personally, this is my favorite question about training and professional development.

Whatever specific training is offered or included from the get-go will be illustrated in an answer, but the interviewer may also provide you with details on professional associations, annual conferences, or other training/development that happens in the organization.

If you have room for a follow up question, ask what conferences or seminars other professionals in this position have been able to attend.

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3. What will you expect from me during the first day, first week, and first month of employment?

I’ve always loved asking this question as a recruiter, but it will also get to the heart of what your supervisor or team leader is looking for in the early days of your tenure.

General expectations should be unveiled, as well as the spirit and attitude expected as you get to know your team and your department. Pay close attention to these expectations, especially if you are being interviewed by the person who will be your immediate supervisor.

4. What gets you most excited about this company’s future?

Here’s where you’ll get a sense of the organization’s vision, especially if you are attending a panel interview and have the benefit of several people answering this question.

This is one of my favorite questions to ask since it will give you a sense of what makes the employees happy in their work. You’ll also get a possible inside scoop on who might be somewhat unhappy at the moment as there will be a short pause before that person answers the question.

5. What are my direct report’s strengths and the team’s biggest challenges?

If you are going for a management position where you’ll be supervising a team, this is a great place to get started learning about them.

If the hiring manager is unable to share this information with you, tweak the question slightly by asking about the hiring requirements for those folks who will be part of your team. At the very least, you can get a sense of what is required for those employees who will report to you.

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6. Can you tell me about the last team (or office) event you did together?

This question will help you determine if you are going to work for a fun, progressive organization or a more conservative, traditional one.

If their last event was a store-bought cake for all the February birthdays, then you know already that there isn’t much socialization outside of the workplace….or that much creativity, for that matter.

However, if the most recent event was a team building retreat and ropes course out in the woods, then get ready for a very team-driven and close knit community at work.

7. What are the next steps in the selection process?

This may seem obvious, but not all employers have this information together during the interview, or the hiring manager may not know it.

If you are interviewing with a traditional selection committee, they should be able to outline exactly what’s going to happen next: a second level interview, checking references, and so forth. They may even let you know how soon you’ll know any updates.

But be prepared to leave the interview without this information and know that you’ll need to follow up. At least by asking it, the potential employer will know that you are still interested and want to be kept up to date.

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8. What do each of you enjoy the most about working here; and what is one thing you would change if you could?

This is my very favorite question to ask at the end of the interview. It is best utilized if you have a full panel interviewing you. This was one of the questions that really made me shine at my most recent interview, which was for the position I have now and have had for the past 6 years.

In my years of job searching and interviewing, I have found that this one question lets me know a good cross-section of the things that make employees happy, as well as the things that bother them. If I hear the same thing more than once, I mark that down.

Final Thoughts

As a candidate, you may only have the luxury of asking one question; but have these questions on hand and review them often before the interview.

Remember, the interviewing team or manager is not the only one making a decision here. You should be armed with as much data-gathering material as possible, so when you get the chance to ask, you are ready. If not, use these questions as a follow up call or email for the hiring manager.

Best of luck on your interview — you’ve got this!

More Tips for Nailing an Interview

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

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Kris McPeak

Educator, Author, Career Change and Work/Life Balance Guru

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Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

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No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

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If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

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Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

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If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

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