I spent this past week in interviews with candidates for our June 2010 hiring class. This is the fourth round of our interview process, so by now most of the candidates are solid. But still, a few of them stood out during the 1:1 time because they were just as interested in my company, how we run, and the challenges we face. Most job applicants (at any level) use their interview time to wedge in their own stories and highlight their own strengths. Of course, that’s part of the program. But it’s only half the point.
The other point in an interview, as a candidate, is to test out the prospective employer. Find out if it’s the right fit. If you spend the entire time answering questions and talking about past experiences, you’ll never know if you’re making the right decision for you.
It impresses me when candidates understand the importance of finding the right fit. That’s how I know, when/if they accept an offer from me, they’re making the right decision for them. And they’ll be excited and give everything they have to their new job and company.
But that’s not the only reason. I learn just as much about a candidate from the questions they ask me as I do from listening to them talk about their resume or answer my questions. And it shows initiative and willingness to control the interview, which are traits of people who are confident, direct, and understand the importance of finding the right position and company.
So I want more people to interview me while I’m interviewing them. Good questions include anything I’d be likely to ask a candidate myself. Things like:
- Tell me about a recent challenge you had in your organization and how you addressed it.
- What are the three main reasons you’ve been successful as compared with your competition?
- What do you see as your next big win?
Good interviews are two-way streets, and I hope I see more of them in the future.