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Questions to use in your next interview

How can you ask the questions to learn what you need to know about a vacancy while demonstrating your eligibility?

Posted by Jared Cave, Senior Data & Analytics Consultant, Monday March 9 2020

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It's widely agreed that you should ask questions during an interview but preparing these questions isn't always straight forward. A candidate who asks nothing will come across as unprepared, unengaged and uninterested. But how can you ask the questions to learn what you need to know about a vacancy while demonstrating your eligibility?

When put on the spot, it can be challenging to think of questions that will set you apart for the other candidates. In a panic to ask something, many of us will reach for the low hanging fruit. We'll ask surface-level questions, and we'll get surface-level responses. This is why it's crucial to prepare thoughtful questions ahead of your interview. An approach to preparation which I have found useful is the 4 Cs approach.

The 4 Cs are connected, culture, challenges and close. Though I'd like to take credit for this idea, it was  J.T. O'Donnell who came up with it (https://www.workitdaily.com/interview-questions-ask-hiring-managers). Using these you can plan questions that demonstrate that you are well prepared, show accountability and convey your interest in the role as well as the person you're speaking with.

Below are some examples to show how you might use this method.

Connect

  1. What drew you to this company?
  2. How was it for you when you started in your role?
  3. What excites you about the work you're doing?

Culture

  1. What characteristics do successful people in this company have?
  2. Who is the top performer in your team, and what sets them apart?
  3. What type of person would struggle here?

Challenges

  1. How could I have an immediate impact in this role?
  2. What challenges did the business have to overcome last year?
  3. What are the threats to your objectives, and how do you plan to tackle them?

Close

  1. What concerns do you have about my ability?
  2. What would stop you from progressing my application?
  3. What are the remaining interview steps?

These are some great questions which will demonstrate attractive qualities but for bonus points, use the research you've conducted to introduce questions and personalise them. You could make references to content on the company website, previous employers/employment (found on LinkedIn) or specific industry news. Instead of, "what drew you to this company?", you may say "*insert previous employer* is a much bigger agency. What drew you to this role? Now it's clear you've gone the extra mile.

Interviews can be nerve-racking, but if you are well prepared, they shouldn't be!

If you're looking for a new job or simply after advise you can reach me on at jaredc@reuben-sinclair.com

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