One of the biggest mistakes you can make during an interview is spend all your time discussing why you are right for the job—while neglecting to consider: is this job right for you? Do you even want this job? Even if you’re sick of the job hunt, and this is your first interview in you-don’t-know-how-long, it’s so important to assess the job properly before accepting any kind of offer. Here are the top five things you can learn from interviewing the interviewer.
Does your personality fit?
You have to make sure you mesh well with your future employer. Like meeting anyone for the first time, you can quickly get a feel for whether your personalities will work together. Does he or she seem serious and straightforward? Or is he or she cheerful, friendly, and personable? Is he or she buttoned up, or kind of all over the place? You don’t have to be bffs with your boss (in fact it’s probably best not to be), but it is important, for your own sanity, that you get along. Likewise, your future boss wants to know that you get along well with others, and that you will be a pleasant person to spend 40 hours a week with.
What’s the management style?
When interviewing with your future boss, ask: How would you describe your management style? Some other good questions to determine whether this boss will be the kind that makes you cry yourself to sleep at night are: Why did the last person in the position leave? Or, who else directly reports to you? Be honest about your working style, and desired expectations in a manager—i.e., one who trusts that you will get the job done. One who will motivate and set you up to succeed. One who gives you credit for a job well done, and offers constructive advice to improve.
Are you over or under qualified?
Although you can learn a lot from the job description, find out what a typical day would look like for you. Also learn which people or teams you will be working most closely with, and whom you will report to or who will report to you. Find out about processes, and who will be overseeing your work. Are there any projects or new initiatives that you would be leading? Basically learn: is this a step up, a step down, or a lateral move? Determine your readiness for the job, before determining if it’s right for you.
Are there opportunities for growth?
Ask the interviewer why the position is available—is it a new position? Did the person before get promoted? Both answers could tell you whether the company is profitable, and could reveal that your boss is supportive of growth. You should always want to advance in your career. If the person before you left because he or she was there for 10 years and never moved up, you may reconsider whether this is the position that will launch you toward success. Also ask what the future plans are for this position, and how you can grow. Make sure your next job takes you in the direction you want to go, or is exactly where you want to be in your career.
Will you like the company culture?
When you get to the office, take in your physical surroundings—is this an office you can see yourself going to every single day? Is it modern or outdated? Are people friends and do they have a good rapport with one another? Are there holiday events, happy hours, lunch meetings, or awards to recognize top performers? Is five o’clock a reasonable time to go home, or are you expected to put in 10-hour days? Aside from the day-to-day grind, is it an overall enjoyable place to work? You can find all this out by simply asking: What’s the company culture? You can also ask what he or she likes or dislikes about the company.
Employers can appreciate someone who’s looking for the right job fit, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Interviewing the interviewer shows that you care, and gives the impression that you are serious about your career—and that always looks good to employers. Make sure you don’t overstep your bounds with your questioning—check out our top 11 things to never say in an interview.
Want to love Mondays? It’s possible when you love what you do. Paradigm is a San Diego staffing agency dedicated to finding the perfect job for candidates like you. We’re connected with some of the most innovative tech companies around, giving our employees that competitive edge needed in today’s job market. We hope to hear from you today, and let's make your career goals happen.