For decades I've interviewed for jobs.
Sometimes I was successful. Sometimes I failed miserably.
I have recently realized that I was doing something wrong and I'd like to document it here in the hopes that this technique will help someone else.
As the title says I am writing about the question that happens at the end of every interview, "Do you have any questions about us?"
I consider myself intelligent and I researched each company that I applied for.
In the beginning ... 38+ years ago, I went to the local library and opened a book and read about the company. Today I would look on LinkedIn or glassdoor.
What I DID NOT DO was ask any questions.
Interviewer: Do you have any questions about us?
Yes. I did this EVERY TIME. For 38+ years ... including my current company.
Thankfully, some people saw something in me.
If you have ever chatted with me, I have a monotone voice.
This was great from 1994 to 2004 when I was working in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and had a secondary job as a Hostage Negotiator.
My nickname was "Easy Listening" because I was kicked off the phone as a negotiator in training because I was putting the instructor to sleep.
Thankfully, some of the interviewers I came across saw something in me even when I showed little or no interest in their company.
Attempting Something Else
Another scenario I came across was a Recruiter who knew I drank Mt. Dew that recommended I drink three bottles before going into the interview.
Let me tell you, 50.7 fluid ounces later I interviewed. It went well ... I was animated and talkative. I couldn't sit still and raced for a restroom the moment I was out of sight of their doors.
I actually can't even remember if I got the job or not.
Hindsight is 20/20
Looking back, I made some remarkably poor choices.
I needed to show interest in these companies.
You should show interest in the companies you are looking at.
Without a voice that shows interest or passion, the next best thing I could have used would have been the questions I could have asked.
So ... questions.
I researched companies (as you should).
I came across good and bad things in my research (as you could).
What questions could I be asking?
First, ask questions that allow the individual to showcase something about their company. Second, ask questions that show you see what the company values.
An Example Question
Taking a look at Leading EDJE, Inc. (where I work now), there are five core values ...
- Puts Team First.
- Is Dedicated to Growth.
- Does the Right Thing ... Not the Right Now Thing.
- Approaches Problem Solving Passionately.
- Is Authentic and Clear.
These core values are not normally numbered. I did this to point out number three (3): "Does the Right Thing ... Not the Right Now Thing."
This could mean many things. I interpreted it to mean they don't take the easy way out when issues arise. This interpretation has been born out many times in the years I've been there.
Here are some questions I should have asked ...
- What does, "Does the Right Thing ... Not the Right Now Thing" mean to you?
- What does this core value mean to the owners and leadership within the company?
- Can you provide some concrete examples of them applying this core value?
So what does all this mean and how do we apply these techniques ...
So, we can (and should) come up with questions about a company we want to interview with.
These questions should be custom for each company.
The research we do shows good and bad things about the company. Don't ask questions about the bad things unless there is a good reason (example, ask about the data breach if you are applying for cyber-security within the company ... avoid it otherwise).
Come up with questions that allow the interviewer and their company to shine.
With all of these great questions in place, the end of the interview becomes something that allows the interviewer to remember your interest in the company and the pride they were able to showcase.
I firmly believe the emotion at the end is what the interviewer will remember, far more than any specific questions or answers.
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