Use interviews to your advantage with the right questions
WITH JAMES KWON
INTERN AT HAWAII PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCATES LLC, WHICH SERVES AS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAWAII CHAPTER.
It’s common that most people prepare for a job interview by thinking about the best answers to questions employers might ask. On the contrary, however, interviews also are opportunities for job applicants to ask their own questions to employers. Posing the right questions can ultimately lead to an overall favorable impression that the applicant is interested, curious and engaged.
Q: What is an example of a question I can ask in a job interview?
A: Ask open-ended questions like, “What is the career path for people in this position?” Or, “Can you tell me more about what I would be doing on a typical day here?” Further consider asking future-oriented questions such as, “Where do you see the company in five years?”
It is also best to avoid questions that can be answered simply by looking at the organization’s website.
Q: Will the employer tell me the truth if I ask about the culture?
A: Look for indicators that what the employer tells you is true. For example, if the interviewer claims that the workplace is “family friendly” but you don’t see any signs of it, such as photos of families on people’s desks, the claim might merit further investigation.
Q: Are there any off-limits questions?
A: Inquiring about raises, benefits or time off might be best saved for a later conversation. If a particular benefit is extremely important — a deal-breaker — for you, then you will eventually have to ask about it. But at the initial stages of being interviewed, your questions should be genuine and demonstrate your interest and willingness to join the organization.