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What to say when an interviewer asks if you have questions

Interviewing can be a stressful process, but be sure to keep your eye on the ball by focusing on the importance of questions.

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Interviewing Questions: What’s the big idea?

This semester, I am taking a class that aims to prepare soon-to-be college graduates for the work force. A major topic that we focus on is the importance of interviewing.

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So far, the biggest takeaway has been the significance of questions. Obviously, the questions being asked to you by the interviewer are the meat and potatoes of interview. However, what I never truly appreciated with the equal significance of asking follow up questions, especially at the end of the conversation.

There is a commonality among interview questions

We have examined how to answer the most common interview questions. But the answering and asking of questions never ceases to be a daunting process.

Of course the usual “strengths and weaknesses” makes an appearance. Some of the more interesting questions are ones that require you to reflect on yourself as a person; i.e.: “Are you a leader or a follower?” “What gets you up in the morning/what motivates you?”

With those questions, he also touched on how to make the best of any interview situation. He explained the importance of “knowing”, which includes: knowing the essence of the job you are looking for, knowing the company, and knowing what makes you a great fit.

Be sure to end with questions

But, as previously mentioned, the most important question is, “Do you have any questions for me?” Too many times have I let this pass me by, and it likely lessened my chances of getting a job or position in a club/organization.

This is your chance as the interviewee to turn the tables in an effort to sit in the driver’s seat. Sophie Deering at The Undercover Recruiter examined what questions to ask at the end of an interview.

Among these are (in no particular order):

  • What do you enjoy about working here?
  • Can you tell me about the people I will be working with?
  • Do you have any questions or hesitations about my qualifications?
  • What constitutes success at this position and at this company?
  • How has this position evolved since it was first created?
  • When and how is feedback given to employees?
  • What is the top priority for the person in this role in the first 90 days?
  • What challenges face the person filling this position?
  • Do you offer continuing education or professional training?
  • What hours are typically worked in a week for someone successful in this role?
  • What can you tell me about your upcoming projects or plans for growth?
  • What is the next step in the hiring process?
  • When do you expect to make an offer for this position?

It can be very beneficial to gain insight on the company by asking the interviewer about what they do day-to-day and what they enjoy about the company. It also shows them that you have an active interest in that particular company and that you are not just looking for any old job.

In the end…

The question and answer aspect of an interview can be likened to bookends. If you don’t reciprocate by asking the interviewer questions, the books have a way of falling down.

#InterviewQuestions

Taylor is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and has a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Illinois State University. She is currently pursuing freelance writing and hopes to one day write for film and television.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Emma

    March 21, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Agree, asking when done the right way shows inquisitiveness, critical thinking and interest in how you can help the business grow and how the business can help you grow as an individual too. Great set of questions, Taylor. Thanks

    • Taylor

      March 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Emma!

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Business News

Is insecurity the root of overworking in today’s workforce?

(CAREER) Why are professionals who “made it” in their field still chronically overworked? Why are people still glorifying a lack of sleep in the name of the hustle?!

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So you got that job you wanted after prepping for months, and everything seems cool and good… but you’re working way more hours than scheduled. Skipping lunch, coming in early and staying late, and picking up any project that comes your way. You’re overworked.

Getting the job was supposed to be a mark of success in itself, but now, work is your life and everyone is wondering how you can be working so much if you’re already successful.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Laura Empson delves into what drives employees to overwork themselves. Empson is a professor of Management of Professional Service firms at the University of London, and has spend the last 25 years researching business practices.

Her recently published book Leading Professionals: Power, Politics and Prima Donnas, focuses on business organizational theory and behavior, based on 500 interviews with senior professionals in the world’s largest organizations.

Over the course of her research, Empson encountered numerous reports of people in white-collar positions pushing themselves to work exhausting hours. Decades ago, those with white-collar jobs in law firms, accountancy firms, and management consultancies worked towards senior management positions to gain partnership.

Once partnership was reached, all the hard work paid off in the form of autonomy and flexibility with scheduling and projects. Now, even entry-level employees are working overextended hours.

An HR director interviewed by Empson noted, “The rest of the firm sees the senior people working these hours and emulates them.” There’s a drive to mirror upper management, even at the cost of health.

Empson’s research indicates insecurity is the root of this behavior. Insecurity about when work is really done, how management will perceive employees, and what counts as hard work. Intangible knowledge work provokes insecurity since there’s rarely ever a way to tell when this work is complete.

Colleagues turn into competitors, and suddenly working outside of your regular hours becomes seen as normal if you want to keep up with the competition. You want to stand out from the crowd, so staying late a few days a week starts to feel normal.

This can turn into a slippery slope, and when being overworked feels like the norm, you may not notice taking on even more extra hours and responsibilities to feel like you’re contributing efficiently to the company.

During her research, Empson found that some recruiters admitted to hiring “insecure overachievers” for their firms.

Insecure overachievers are incredibly ambitious and motivated, but driven by feelings of inadequacy. Financial insecurity and disproportionately tying self-worth to productivity are just a few contributing factors to their self-doubt.

As a result, these kind of people are amazingly self-disciplined, and likely to pursue elite positions with professional organizations. Fear of being exposed as inadequate drives insecure employees to work long hours to prove themselves

Even upper level management is subject to this same insecurity.

Organizational pressures can make even the most established leader overwork themselves.

Empson notes, “Working hard can be rewarding and exhilarating. But consider how you are living. Recognize when you are driving yourself and your staff too hard, and learn how to help yourself and your colleagues to step back from the brink.“

Analyze your organization’s conscious and unconscious messaging about achievement, and make sure you’re setting and enforcing realistic expectations for your team.

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The most common buzzwords (still) used in job descriptions

(BUSINESS) Employers are trying their best to attract really high quality talent, but the buzzwords that continue to plague the process are lame, annoying, and often insulting.

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It’s that time of year again. Year-in-review lists abound and Indeed.com is no exception. The website for employers and potential employees has taken a look back at the year in job descriptions and released its list of the weirdest job titles used in online listings.

They found the usual suspects — yes, sadly rockstar and hero still make the cut — but a few other keywords skyrocketed up the charts in 2018.

Indeed recognized seven top-performing buzzwords in its research: genius, guru, hero, ninja, superhero, rockstar, and wizard. Among these Top 7, some were up over previous years, while others’ popularity seems to be fading.

Employers really loved referencing masked assassins in their descriptions this year, resulting in a 90 percent year-over-year jump for ninja, and a 140 percent increase for the term since Indeed began tracking these stats in 2015.

Wizards and heroes didn’t fare as well. Job titles containing “wizard” were down 17 percent from 2017 and use of the word “hero” was down a whopping 44 percent since last year. Superhero ended the year up over 2017 (19 percent), but is still down by 55 percent since 2015.

So which states are touting these weird (some might say annoying) titles the most? The answers aren’t too surprising. California tops the list for ninja, genius, rockstar, wizard, and guru. Texas, whose capital is Austin, aka Silicon Hills, loves using hero, superhero, guru, rockstar, and ninja. Populous states New York and Florida make the list for using several of the buzzwords — no surprise there. But a few smaller states snuck into the Top 4, including Ohio (No. 1 “superhero” user) and Utah (No. 4 on the “rockstar” and “wizard” lists).

While many companies like to use these so-called creative terms to convey a sense of a hip and cool company culture, does using these “fun” titles actually find the best candidates? According to Indeed, the answer might be “not exactly.” Job seekers aren’t necessarily searching for terms like ninja or guru, so they might not even find the job they would be the perfect fit for. And truth be told, many experienced job seekers are turned off by these weird titles and might not even apply to the job in the first place.

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Half of the jobs Amazon will offer at their new headquarters won’t be tech

(BUSINESS NEWS) As Amazon begins laying solid plans to start hiring, some are upset that half of the new jobs won’t be tech jobs – let’s discuss why.

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As 2019 gears up, one of the biggest tech stories of 2018 will carry into this year, and that’s Amazon HQ. Amazon’s two new headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City, New York have promised about 50,000 new jobs coming in 2019 according to Engadget and the Wall Street Journal.

The catch? Only half of those jobs will be in tech. Some are upset about this, so we’ll explain:

Naturally, a behemoth like Amazon has many moving parts and these two facilities will require different roles to keep the company functioning. An estimated 25,000 jobs will be in support roles like administration, marketing, finance, maintenance, and human resources. For the cities they’ll occupy, this means there will be more than one way to find employment besides tech or IT.

It’s undeniable that Amazon’s $5 billion investment will vastly change these two communities. Employment opportunities can bring growth for residents, however it will depend upon the company’s ability to hire local. Likewise, Amazon’s presence will draw city transplants, a tactic that historically raises property values and living costs (looking at you, Seattle).

Crystal City is expected to see a huge influx in traffic and housing, according to The Washington Post. Although the state has promised to allocate resources into transportation, and Amazon assures a slow growth at first, thousands of workers will need accommodation.

For Long Island City, a community who’s already transforming from industrial yards to a blooming arts neighborhood, we will likely see its gentrification reach new heights. LIC is set to become the digital-lifestyle relative across the river from its cousin, Manhattan.

In any case, residents can hope to take advantage of the varying positions that will need filling in 2019.

However, everyone should brace for change as this corporate beast gradually awakens.

Whatever the new headquarters will bring, we can expect it to be, in typical Amazon fashion, bold and flashy.

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