During the interview process many candidates lose sight that interviewing for a job opportunity is a two-way street. Not only are you being interviewed but you should also be interviewing the company representative across the table. The purpose of the interview is not only to determine whether the company wants you but also whether you want them. Many candidates measure success only in the terms of whether they get hired, not whether it is a fit for their career goals or objectives. Without this insight your odds of making a successful job change can drop dramatically.
So what questions should you ask? Ask about company culture, ask what signifies success in the company, ask the interviewer why they are at the company. What makes them unique and successful in their marketplace versus their competitors? An article by Rachel Weingarten, 10 Ridiculously Smart Questions You Should Ask in a Job Interview, discusses questions you should be asking during interviews. Many indicators of future success at the company are not necessarily based on salary, titles and advancement opportunities. They can also be tied to other factors such as work/personal life balance, employee turnover, workspace setup, company social responsibility, etc.
Don’t pass on the opportunity to ask the questions that give you the information you need to ensure the position is a fit for your personal and career goals. Your questions can set you apart from all of the others interviewing for the position. Ask unique questions and you’ll be remembered as a unique candidate. Exiting an interview you should have a clearer understanding of whether the position and company are a fit for you. Its OK if the answer is ‘No’. It’s better to pursue other opportunities than take a job where you’ll be job hunting again several months later because it wasn’t a fit.
Also remember that just because you pass on an opportunity doesn’t mean the story is over. Make a lasting impression and you may be called for future opportunities. We’ve presented candidates who were not hired for the original position, but were offered another position due to the impression they made. So use the interview as a learning opportunity and to set yourself apart to increase your odds for a successful career change.