There’s nothing more exciting than going to a job interview for a company that you’ve always wanted to work for. But it’s important to put your best foot forward and not unknowingly sabotage yourself by asking questions that won’t necessarily cast you in the best light. Sure, it’s possible to “read” your interviewer and get a feeling for how she or he will conduct the interview and how relaxed the atmosphere is. But generally speaking, avoiding a few pitfalls will make for a more successful interview, and ultimately increase your chances of getting the position.
We hope you know this already, but when you’re going to a job interview it’s important to research the company at length before you step foot into the building. This means that you should be armed with all the basic information available on the internet before your interviewer meets you in person–things like the names of upper management members, products or services, basic mission, and so on. If you don’t find out everything that you need to find out, (or you forget to look) do not blurt out anything that will make you look like you didn’t research the company beforehand.
Everyone wants to make a little bit of money doing a dream job. During the job interview, however, the trick is to make it seem like it’s your dream position regardless of the salary. You want to appear passionate, not desperate for just anything that will pay your bills. No employer is going to be naive enough to believe you don’t want to know, but if the interviewer does not prompt you to talk about your salary requirements, keep quiet about the topic until it’s brought up.
If you are in the final round of candidates, things like salary and benefits will likely be discussed for negotiation. But during the interview it’s not a good idea to ask things like “How many weeks of vacation will I get per year?” or “Is massage therapy covered under your health insurance?” These might seem like no-brainers but you’d be amazed at how, once an interview is going well, candidates will develop the courage to ask things like this. Again, it’s better to wait.
Working Remotely Questions
While it might be true that you can work from your home or from a neighboring coffee shop once in a while, the interview stage is not the time to ask about it. Your employer wants to know that you’ll be available, ready for training, and looking forward to learning about the company and the others who work there. If you ask about opportunities for long lunches and coffee, you’ll just come across as a slacker who intends on doing the bare minimum for the position.
Of course you’re interested in career growth, but the interview is not a time to ask about the next step on the “ladder” at the company. Let your employer know that you feel passionate about that very position, not the next one that you aspire to. Of course, if the employer asks you about your long-term goals, you can certainly mention what they are. But even then, don’t let that overshadow your enthusiasm about the present opportunity.
Personal Life Questions
If you ask your interviewer if you can bring in your trusty bloodhound or your toddler in the afternoons that preschool dismisses early, he or she might start to get the idea that you’re more trouble than you’re worth. Don’t make yourself look like you have too much baggage to handle the position effectively.
Whether you got the job then and there, or a few more steps exist in the process, the interviewer will probably let you know at the end of the interview. It’s best not to put the interviewer on the spot by blurting out, “So, did I get the job?” at the end of the discussion. You will likely know if the interview went well or not without embarrassing yourself and your interviewer.
Remember, a job interview is a chance to show how much you want the position at hand. The interviewer is not a close friend, so keep things professional and focused–the way you would act if you already had the job.
Author of this post is Lizzie Wann. Lizzie is the Content Director for Bridgepoint Education. She oversees all website content and works closely with New Media, Career Services, and Student Services for Ashford University.
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Good luck in your search.