Congratulations! Landing an interview is a big deal- you should be proud that your application caught the recruiter’s eye. Below is a list of common questions that will likely come up in any interview.
What do you know about the company you applied for?
Recruiters will ask this questions different ways. They might say “so why this company?” or “what interested you in us?” or “what do you know about us so far?”
Do your homework on the company and be prepared to show off your knowledge. Put together a brief “elevator pitch” to articulate what they do and why that interests you. Know their mission, products and general business model. To go above and beyond, research their competitors so you can speak to their positioning within their market space and competitive edge in their industry.
What is your understanding of the position you applied for?
Study up on the position description! Be able to say which responsibilities and duties interest you and how honing those skills will help you reach your ultimate career goals. Questions 1 and 2 might be meshed together with “what lead you to apply for this position?”
Can you walk me through your background and highlight any experience that is especially relevant to the job you applied for?
Be prepared to go through your resume in chronological order and give a brief over view of each position. Ideally, you can tie each job into a trajectory that culminates in the role you’re interviewing for. Some specific details you want to include:
- Why you left each position and what drew you to the next opportunity.
- Your biggest accomplishment in each position. Google’s Chief People Officer wrote an amazing column on expressing achievements in a resume. His advice is also applicable to interviews. Use the following formula: “Accomplished X, as measured by Y, by doing Z.”
What are you looking for in your next opportunity? This question has two parts:
- Responsibilities. Discern what specifically you want your day-to-day to look like and responsibilities to be. What skills are you most interesting in building? Is there an aspect of your current role you want to specialize in or an expertise you want to develop?
- Compensation/Total Rewards. What type of salary increase are you looking for? Most folks look for a 15-20% increase in order to make a move. Some folks are less concerned with a base salary and more interested in benefits, paid time off, company culture, work from home arrangements, flexible office hours, etc. What would an attractive total package look like to you? Do you want to retain certain benefits of your current role? Or are there requirements of your current role (formal dress, stringent hours, etc) that you want to move away from? Give it some thought prior to your interview.
What questions do you have? The points outlined above many have given you a pretty thorough understanding of the role. You may not have any questions, but if you do here is your chance to ask! A few to consider:
- What is the biggest challenge your organization and my prospective department, specifically, are facing?
- Currently, what are the organization’s top priorities?
- How can I have an immediate impact on the company’s success?
- Read up on big events in the organization’s market or any recent new features so you can ask how those events are impacting the business.
At the end of the interview, always ask the Recruiter:
Do you have any concerns about recommending me to move forward in this process? Asking this question gives you an opportunity to re-visit anything you didn’t have an opportunity to discuss. If the recruiter says she is concerned about something that you don’t have any experience with- don’t argue, but if she says she has a concern that you feel you can address, go for it! Asking this question will help you close the deal and move one step closer to an offer.
Go get ’em!