By Randy Wooden, Director, Professional Center by Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina
Interviewing is an exchange of information. It is not enough to answer employer’s questions; top job candidates come up with good questions of their own. Today we’ll explore more of them in part two of this three-part blog series.
If they do not volunteer this information early in the conversation, consider asking why the position is open. Wait until about halfway through the interview to ask. Their response could take different paths.
They could say the position is newly-created. When a job is newly created, multiple people may have had input during that job’s formation. Try to understand what’s expected from each of those other employees.
They could say the last person was promoted. That’s great news! It shows they promote from within. That being the case, they may promote from within to fill this opening, too. You can ask how long the person who was in the position had been in the job before being promoted.
They could indicate the person who was in the position is no longer with the organization. Unless they volunteer more information, you don’t know whether or not they left on their own. You could ask some key areas they would like to see changed or improved in performance.
Training is another area to explore. If they do not share information about professional development and training, be sure to ask about it after you understand the job duties.
Lastly, let’s talk about how you would inquire about overtime, weekend work, shift work, and other schedule-related questions. Asking, “is there weekend work,” or, “is overtime required,” implies you would prefer to not work weekends or overtime. Rather than asking bluntly, you can ask them to talk you through a typical day or typical work week. This gives them the opportunity share information about scheduling. If they do not fully clarify, you can ask a follow up question to get more information. Tell them you are willing to work the needed schedule (if you are) and just want to understand what’s expected.
Next time, I will wrap up this series with more questions to help you determine whether the job is the one for you. Good luck!