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Why You Should Ask These Questions During Job Interviews?

Why You Should Ask These Questions During Job Interviews?

TED talk presenter Meg Jay illustrated beautifully, in her captivating speech that went vial last week, the danger of dismissing an entire decade of your 20’s. If I may piggyback, understanding important tactics of an interviewee fresh out of college (or high school) is beneficial to fighting this. Among many things, it makes you appear more professional, qualified, wise, and able to do any job with integrity, poise, and talent. The questions you ask can easily make or break a crucial career opportunity.

We don’t want you to squander that, and you don’t either.

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What would better equip you than a mental database of stellar questions to ask interviewers? Here we’ll cover 10 important questions, in sequential order of how you should ask them, with vivid descriptions behind the psychology of each. As a bonus, I’ll include a short list of questions at the very end that you should avoid like Liberian Ebola when in the interviewee chair.

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Pre-interview question to ask yourself: How much do I know about this company?

  • A quick Google search you can pretty much find anything you want to know about a company. Nothing screams unprepared amateur like waltzing into an interview and asking basic questions like, “What does your company do?” How enthusiastic, motivated, and intelligent will you appear when you drop knowledge about when the company was founded, it’s cornerstone ethics, and some notable successes of the past?

1. How is the culture of this workplace? What will my roles and expectations be?

  • Expressing interest in knowing what’s expected of you before you get the position shows that you’re serious. It’s a display of your desire to fully understand your obligations before the first day of training. In one word: ambition.

2. Do you enjoy working here? Can you name a time when you felt extra proud to be a part of this company?

  • Chances are high that if they’re in a role that involves interviewing people, both of these questions will be a resounding ‘yes.’ Everyone enjoys talking about themselves, too. If you give them permission to take the floor, you’ll not only learn valuable lessons from someone who may very well be your boss if you land the job. It’ll also relieve a lot of the tension interviewing environments evoke.

3. How does my position contribute to the goals of the company?

  • A bit like #1, but different enough to note. Understanding the layout and structure of the company, as well as your personal involvement, breeds a team-first attitude. This will rub potential bosses and interviewers the right way by persuading them that you’re someone who can take direction, but knows their role and can lead when necessary.

4. What does your company consider a “success?” -or- What does your company consider “excelling?”

  • No matter what job, success is what we all strive for. Knowing what that means to a given company is crucial to your daily workflow, development, and progress. This will speak well to a potential employer considering their performance is often based on how well or poorly their underlings perform.

5. Can you describe for me the ideal candidate for this role?

  • This is to provide you with a “bar” per say. It gives you something to strive towards, shoot for, and a set criteria of what it takes to be accomplished in the job. Also, if you’re asking this it tells the interviewer that you wish to know the golden standard of workmanship that needs to be upheld day in and day out.

6. Does anything on my resume concern you? Do you have questions about anything you see?

  • This is a bit testy because it puts them on the spot, but not in an abrasive, awkward, or strange way. Instead, it will encourage them to ask questions about you personally, which would be a good chance to point out special things on your resume that shine like amateur curling and Easy-Bake-Oven-Offs. Furthermore, this is a good chance to let your personality show, as the other 9 questions are quite professionally oriented.

7. Who will I report to? May I meet them before I start, please?

  • The second part of this question is assuming you have the job locked down, but in my experience I’m not often reporting to the person who interviewed me so this is good to ask. Use this opportunity to get to know more about the people in your office. For your own sake, don’t be a suck up.

8. Can you describe for me the typical day or week in this company?

  • This is as more for your benefit, but it reiterates your aspiration. It’s definitely nice to know what to expect, too.

9. Are there any other important people you recommend I reach out to?

  • Assuming that you don’t have the job yet, this will show your interviewer that you have enthusiasm for the position and want to expand your further reach into the company. It’s also a valuable habit that will make networking a breeze. You’ll be surprised what happens when you ask.

10. I love challenges. Can you provide me with an example of a difficult challenge you’ve overcome in your current role?

  • I put this one last, and encourage you to use it last, for a few reasons. First, it shows that you have a solid backbone and good resolve that you won’t shy away from difficult situations. Second, I have yet to meet one boss who turned down a challenge taker (Warning: I’m not recommending you force this if you despise challenges, but the job world, your dreams, and nearly everything else in your life will be full of them. No sense in running from them.) Third, it gives them the podium once more to speak their piece and share their wisdom. I can’t tell you enough how much people like talking about themselves.

As promised, here are your never mentions:

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  • Does the company require drug or alcohol tests?
  • Will you perform a background check?
  • When will I get paid and how much?
  • How much vacation and sick time will I get?
  • Does the company track my internet and email activity?

These may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. Arm yourself with the proper mental artillery to nail the interview, seal the opportunity, and begin a fresh chapter in your newly developing career.

Featured photo credit: Businessman / bowie15 via 123rf.com

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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