Saturday, May 5, 2012

Job Interview - Questions to Ask and Avoid

No job interview is easy, especially investment banking interviews.  You need to be smart in answering as well as asking questions.  Knowing what questions to ask and avoid is one of your keys to success.  Although asking intelligent questions won’t guarantee an offer, but asking bad or inappropriate questions will definitely kill.  I’ve recently read an article from Jimmy Sweeny which contains valuable tips about what to ask and avoid over a job interview.  Here's the article.

Questions to ASK and AVOID during your next job interview…

The phone call you've waited for has finally come! You've been invited in for a job interview. Now your nerves are on edge. You know what to wear but you may not know what questions to ask or avoid, or if you'll even have an opportunity to speak up other than to answer questions fired at you.

Don't worry. There will be time for you to voice your concerns and inquiries. The important thing is to know what questions to ask and which ones to set aside—for now. Keep in mind that interviewers want to speak with job seekers who are sharp, confident, and professional. This is no time to be passive and overly polite, though courtesy is always appropriate. Remember, you're vying for the job you want. Take an active role in asking questions by being prepared ahead of time.  

Consider These: 
  • What factors about this company are attractive to you?
  • What makes this firm a great place to build a career?
  • How do you see the future of this company?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of working for this organization?
  • In your opinion, what would be the biggest adjustment for someone new?
Answers to these questions can help you decide whether or not this is the place you want to work. They will also help you respond to the questions you're asked. You'll be ready to answer in a way that will show you were listening, paying attention, and taking note of management's vision and objectives for the company. 

Questions to Avoid 

Steer clear of questions that you can answer yourself by doing a bit of basic research online—such as the kind of work you'd be doing, or the level of leadership that would be expected of you or the focus of the company. Walk into the interview armed with as much information as possible and then ask only those questions that will help you decide whether to accept or decline the job offer if it is presented. 

Also avoid asking questions related to salary, benefits, vacation, sick days and so on. At this point you have not yet been offered the position. You are being 'screened.'

There will come a time and place to discuss pay and benefits, but the interview is not that place.

Use What You Learn

The most important thing you can do during an interview is to show yourself as someone the hiring manager wants. Focus on displaying your skills and experience and how you can fit the profile of the person the interviewer is looking for. This gives you leverage for negotiating salary and benefits when the job offer comes through.

Be aware of the impression you'd make if you ask questions that have nothing to do with the job opportunity. An interview is not a social visit or a time to talk about sports and hobbies. It's a business meeting that has one purpose: to determine if you are the right person to fill the opening. If the interviewer asks a few questions about your interests, it's fine to answer them honestly. He or she wants to get to know you—but avoid getting off-track with long-winded responses that take the focus off the job.

Common sense is your best ally. Be yourself. Do your homework. Show up neatly dressed. Arrive on time. Know the right questions to ask, and the ones to avoid. And bring enthusiasm, a smile, and a firm handshake.

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator and Secret Career Document