The Two-Way Job Interview
By PD Richmond
Much of the fear that comes from Job Interviews is rooted in the feeling of being on trial or judged by the people, or panel, that is conducting the interview however it should always be remembered that a job interview is a two-way process.
A job interview should not just be a one way diatribe of questions thrown at you, with you aiming to convince the prospective employer of your worth, it should involve questions and answers both ways. How are you to know that his a company that you wish to work for?
A job is a long term commitment of a large part of your waking time, deciding how this time should be spent can not be left to a panel of interviewers to decide but should be taken into your own hands. Take the time in the interview to establish the best points of your prospective employer so that you know that the fit is right for you.
There are a few key points that you may want to consider, aside from the pay scale.
What does the company social life look like?
Some companies put on extra events, socials, barbecues and sporting events for their employees. Sometimes this is based around membership of a social club, sometimes it comes mandated from head office.
Other companies have a working tradition of leaving work at work, clocking out at half five and not even thinking about work or your colleagues until you clock back in the following morning. These are entirely contradictory working cultures and it is important to work out which you would prefer.
What about overtime?
This is another factor that varies wildly between companies and between potential employees. You may want to work your 40 hour week and that's it or you may be willing to work as many hours as they will pay you to work. Find out what is expected from you and what you would want to be offered from them.
Is there Room for Progression?
Would you be happy working this job for the rest of your career? If not then it is worth inquiring about the opportunities for internal progression that the company can offer you. If there's a clear path to your career goal then this is a bonus but don't forget to ask about some alternative routes such as internal or external training and qualifications. The company may be willing to support you or even pay for extra qualifications if it leads to them having a more productive employee and it certainly won't hurt your chances of future promotion, either within the company or with another employer.
None of these factors should be a deal breaker, just as no one factor should decide which candidate they hire. Try to approach these subjects throughout the course of the interview rather than saving them for the inevitable section at the end. Having these interspersed throughout will turn the experience into more of a conversation and dialogue.
This has several advantages. It will make you feel more comfortable if you having a conversation rather than just responding to a series of questions. Being more comfortable and relaxed results in being more confident and always gives a positive impression to the interviewer.
It also gives the impression of being more proactive, rather than just reacting to the questions the interviewer can see that you are actively involved in the process and seeking information.
Perhaps most importantly, it can help you decide if it is actually somewhere that you wish to work.
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