Ask the questions, get the answers.

Over the past week, I have been applying to and interviewing for internships. During this process I have come to realize the importance of interviews; not only for the employers, but also for me as a future employee.

The first thing my interviewer said to me yesterday was that I should ask as many questions as I want during the interview because this is a “two-way thing”. I can’t even begin to explain how important it was for me to view the interview in that way. Not only did it help me relax, but it really helped me to learn more about the prospective job and whether or not I felt it would be a good fit.

Admittedly, I went into the interview not sure if it was for me. This was partly because I did not completely understand the corporate culture of the company or the job itself. However, after sitting with her for an hour and asking about the company, job and tasks that an intern would be responsible for, I left the interview feeling very positive.

It’s amazing what you can find out about a company and a job by simply asking the questions. Obviously there’s a little bit of intimidation when in an interview setting—here you are sitting across from someone who is judging the way you answer questions and the way you present yourself. But when it comes down to it, we also need to judge whether or not the job is right for us. In the end, employer and employee will be much happier knowing that they have both found the right “fit”. It’s just as important for the applicant to feel that fit as it is for the employer. This is a lesson I learned today and will be sure to remember during future interviews.

Have any input on interview etiquette? Should we be free to ask as many questions as we like or should that be left to the professionals?

February 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Interview etiquette can be a touchy subject for those who are relatively inexperience with interviews. I myself have not been involved in a great many interviews. Sure, I had some when I was 15 and 16 trying to get a retail job, and a few since then, but having steady employment throughout university essentially reduced my interview experience to a few larger ones here and there. Never the less, sitting in an interview with a psychological evaluator taking notes in the corner, being deathly silent, is an experience all on its own.

    I agree whole heartedly when you discuss finding the right “fit” between the employer and future employee. As an employer, you are not specifically looking for the smartest person, but the person who best portrays the attributes desired by your company. A person who will not only “fit” the job, but integrate and gel into the corporate culture. The only way to ensure this is a semi structured interview by the employer.

    You, as someone who is interested in the job, must also evaluate the company to ensure that it is the right “fit” for you. Unless the employer can read your mind and answer every question or query you have, you’re going to have to probe the employer and ask the questions which are most important to you. If that requires one to two questions, or ten to twelve, then so be it. You are there to ensure the job is what you want; the same way the employer is there to ensure you are what they want.

    What is most important to you? Salary? Benefits? Culture? Workload? Vacation Time? Travel? Overtime? Advancement? Out of country job opportunities? Whatever it may be, I firmly believe you should never leave an interview with lingering questions. After all, you’ve spent the time to dazzle the employer, making yourself into the attractive candidate that you are. Now ask questions until your hearts content. Give the employer a chance to dazzle you. Leave that interview knowing you want nothing more then to start (and possibly finish) your career with that company. Chances are, if an employer is turned off by a candidate’s thoroughness, then the company and candidate don’t “fit” together anyways.

    There will always be job opportunities, so why not do everything possible to ensure you choose the one that is right for you?

    I say ask away.

    Comment by Craig Harasymchuk | February 8, 2008

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