In order to shift your job interview into a dialog, keep in mind the purpose of the interview:
To learn and assess if this is the right place and the right job for you!
You must take the initiative to ask questions around the areas you want to learn more about. Not just on the surface, but a deep understanding! This might get you started:
- Do you like your future job requirements
- Do you like your future boss?
- Do you like your future co-workers?
Interviews are not a one-way street. The interviewer expects you to ask questions. It shows your interest in the role and company.
Do you like your future job requirements?
Chances are this new job won’t be like your old job or any job you’ve heard about before due to the unique mixture of people and the company culture. Don’t assume you know what they have in mind.
Be sure you have specific questions written out and ready to ask. And yes, you can have questions written out and yes, you can reference them. The interviewer references a list of questions to ensure they cover everything— you should too. Check out these questions you can ask.
Another way you can a better understanding of the job is to observe someone who works in the position already. While this isn’t always possible, it’s worth asking if you can shadow someone currently in the role. But wait until the end of the interview process before making this request. Asking too early would be like ordering dessert before your meal.
Do you like your future boss?
Pay close attention to how your future boss interacts with you during the interview. But also keep in mind, many managers do not like the interview process either. They may not have any training on how to conduct interviews, so this is stressful for them as well.
During job interviews, you want to understand how your future boss will manage and lead you, how they communicate, and what their priorities are.
Does your future boss talk about him or herself during most of the interview or do they talk about the success of the team? Dig deeper and ask questions about people they managed and what their employees moved on to. You could also ask them to describe their star employee to understand valued skills and traits.
Do you like your future co-workers?
Team-based work is the norm today. If possible, be sure you have the opportunity to spend time with your future colleagues. Always have questions to ask in this situation too. You want to understand each individual’s role on the team and how they interact with each other. What are their backgrounds? What do they like most about working at the company?
Additionally, don’t be afraid to take notes. They’re most likely taking notes too. Taking notes serves a couple of purposes, it shows you’re listening and interested, as well as provides you with details to reference when you write them individual thank-you notes after the interview.
There isn’t always enough time during the interview to get to know them well, but you can ask to contact them outside of the interview process. If you’ve been offered a job and still don’t feel like you know your future teammates well enough, consider asking if you can come back in to meet with them again.
Make the Right Decision
As you can tell, interviews are not a one-way street. You have a lot of questions you need answered before you accept the job. The best job interviews allow for an exchange of information.
There’s a saying among those who assess turnover or retention rates in companies. They often say employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. You can prevent your premature departure from your next job by making sure you know as much as possible about the new opportunity and people you’ll be working with.
The interview process is the time to get all your questions answered (check out these questions you can ask). Don’t wait to find out until you are on the job.