Ask These Three Questions to Make Interviews Less Intimidating

October 27, 2016

If you’re nervous about an upcoming job interview, you’re not alone.  A recent study by Harris Interactive and Everest College reveals that 92% of U.S. adults between the ages of 18-54 are anxious about job interviews. 

job-interview-437026_960_720Dale Carnegie said, “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.”  An effective way to combat our human inclination to fight, flight or freeze in high-stake situations such as a job interview is to plan and prepare.  While you cannot anticipate every single question the interviewer will ask, it is possible to develop a list of important questions to pose to the interviewer.

Here are three questions worth asking during the interview.

What do you like best and least about the company culture?  Pose this question to both the recruiting and hiring managers to hear different perspectives about your prospective employer’s culture.  Learning about the company’s culture helps ensure that you are a good fit overall, and impacts your level of future employee engagement.  For example, if flexibility is important to you and you hear that the organization trusts its employees to work from home when necessary, you can rest assured that you and the company are aligned in this regard.  Probe further with questions such as, “What sets a superstar apart from an average performer, and how are they rewarded?” to gain better insight into the organization’s culture.

What is your management style?  Once you’ve passed the interview with the recruiting manager, the next natural step in the hiring process is to meet with whomever would be your direct manager.  It may seem awkward to pose this question, however it is critical because a Gallup study conducted last year found that about 50% of the 7,200 adults surveyed left a job “to get away from their manager.”  The answer to this question will help you determine your long-term success in the role versus a premature departure.  Your direct manager may ask you to clarify the question, so have a few follow-up questions in your back pocket such as, “Are you more of a hands-off or hands-on manager?”  Also, “Which characteristics and behaviors do you value most in the employees you manage?”

What are the top three challenges I would need to overcome in this role?  No one wants a job at which they are destined to fail, so it’s important to understand potential performance pitfalls.  Dale Carnegie’s 3rd Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ underscores the importance of appealing to the hiring manager during the interview process.  Inquiring about potential challenges shows that you are realistic and genuinely interested in all aspects of the role, both positive and negative.  Ask additional clarifying questions as needed to help you ascertain if you would be overwhelmed by the challenges or if you could more than likely overcome them.

Arming yourself with questions to pose during interviews will minimize any feelings of anxiety and maximize your confidence level.  Just be sure to actively listen to the responses.

Image: Pixabay


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