It may not feel this way, but a job interview is a two way street. They are learning more about you and your fit for the role. You should find out more about this company, what they offer you, if your values align with the company and will you will fit in with their corporate culture. After applying for so many positions and finally getting the call for an interview, one sometimes forgets that the interview is as much for you as it is for them.
It’s essential to do research about the company. You should identify something unique about them and a recent success or challenge and focus on learning more about that. Once you’ve done all your research about the company, you want that to get noticed. Demonstrating your enthusiasm for the company is easily done by asking thoughtful questions that you couldn’t know to ask unless you’ve done your homework.
Is it important for you to move ahead within the company or will you be content remaining in the role you are applying for? Not everyone wants to be promoted. Whatever your goals, you want to determine if there will be opportunities for you to be challenged within your current or future role. Questions to help you determine those possibilities are important to ask before you commit yourself to a company.
What should I prioritize within my first 90 days? How does my role contribute to the overall success of the company? What are the companys’ most important values? What are the companys’ greatest challenges within the next 3 years? How would you describe the company corporate culture? Why did this position become available? During my research, I learned about XYZ, how does the company plan to overcome this challenge? I was impressed with the companys’ recent success with ABC, how does this contribute to the company metrics this year (you want to reword this question so it makes sense for what the success is, it’s timeframe etc.)? What opportunities are there for growth within my career path? I suggest asking a few of these questions based on what matters to you and how you wish to demonstrate your extensive research of the company.
Observations about Corporate Culture
There’s a lot you can find out simply by observing. Typically, you sit in the waiting room for a bit. You may have a chance to witness some employee interactions and learn about the corporate culture. Upon walking to the interview room, take the time to look. Do you see employees working on a project together, are they having a healthy debate, are they laughing, listen to what is going on for those few moments? I remember walking into a company for a job interview myself and everyone was in their work areas, there was little to no interaction and I could sense the energy was not good. I did come to find out there were recent layoffs at that company and morale was at an all-time low. If I hadn’t taken the time to observe, I never would have asked the right questions.
Keep in mind, this is your opportunity to interview the company, to see if this company is the right one for you. It may surprise you what you can find out if you ask the right questions. The key is to listen well, make your own observations about the corporate culture and try to gather as much information as possible so you can make a sound decision about the next move in your career.