Interview Prep Questions

Posted by Pat Tovo

Interview preparationA job interview is one of your best opportunities to determine if the position and the company are a good fit.  A hiring manager will be making this assessment and you should be, too.  The interview isn’t a one-way street – it’s a dialog between two professionals.  As a job candidate you are not just entitled to ask questions – it’s expected of you.

Take advantage of this opportunity. Not only does it help you determine if the position offers the qualities you seek, but it shows the hiring manager that you are an active participant with a genuine interest. Asking well-thought out questions can create a lasting impression and when the employer is doing a review of candidates, it’s in your best interest to stand out.

As a part of your prep for the next interview, print out and review these suggested questions. Get comfortable with asking them (practice!) and be ready to ask follow up questions to their response. You want to be prepared when the interviewer asks, “What questions do you have?”

How do my qualifications compare to your ideal candidate?

Recruiters and hiring managers will have some reservations about almost every candidate.  Your goal with this question is to have those reservations expressed so that you have the opportunity to address them. This is a great way to clear up any misgivings. If you have reviewed the job posting you should be familiar with any requirements where your experience is shallow. Be ready to address any concerns.

Has this position evolved over time?

If the job has remained static over the years, it could be an indication of a dead-end position or maybe the organization doesn’t welcome change. That’s something you want to find out before you take the job.

Does the organization promote from within?  What would be my potential for advancement?

Most everyone sees a career path for themselves.  This is the time to discover if the position and the organization will embrace advancement; the time to find out if their work hierarchy will match your career goals.

How would you describe the company culture?

Cultural fit is as important as job duties.  It’s important for the hiring company and it’s important for you. If you’re a team player you want an organization that promotes team work. If social interaction is important you might want to hear that once a month they have a company event. Dig a bit to get them to talk freely about the work environment.

How will this role impact the company mission?

Cyber security job seekers today want more than just a job; they want to make a contribution to their team, the company and even the community. If having an impact is important to you, ask this question to fully understand your role.

What does a typical day involve?

You’ve seen the job description, but it’s valuable to know how those duties play out day-to-day.  If you don’t like meetings and find out this will be 50% of your day, it gives you something to think about. The same goes for all areas of responsibility.

Would this job come with schedule flexibility?

More and more companies realize that work/life balance is important to candidates. If it’s important to you, now is the time to find out if it’s a perk that is embraced. Be prepared to discuss what kind of flexibility you desire.

Could we go over company benefits?

You may not get to salary levels (let the company bring it up), but you can inquire about other benefits. It’s not necessary to bring up what perks you want on the first interview, but asking will give a better picture of their benefit package.  If you are offered a job that would be the time to negotiate what’s important to you.

What are next steps?

This accomplishes two things: It reinforces your interest in the position and it gives you their hiring timeline. Waiting for an interview response is stressful, but if you know their timing goals you can relax a bit while waiting for their timeline to play out.

These questions are obviously generic to most any security position or company. You should also fully review the job posting and gather your thoughts on anything more you’d like to know about specific duties.

Getting your foot in the door is a big deal – many candidates don’t have this opportunity.  So prepare for the interview and be ready to present your best self.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 18, 2018 12:24 pm

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