Who’s Interviewing Whom Here?

Interviewing your interviewer isn’t something many candidates consider when going out on a job interview…but you should! Unfortunately, some job seekers feel like Julia:

Why would they want to hire me?Julia rhetorically asked her husband as she reread an email inviting her for an interview at a big-time fitness club. A gifted sales person, she had exceeded every quota at her current retail position. Yet she had always doubted herself. Her husband reminded her of the many hard and soft skills she possessed that applied to this job opening. But Ive never done this type of sales before,Julia insisted. They dont need me. They have plenty of options. Forget it–Im not going to the interview.

The misconceptions that plague Julia here plague many job-seeking individuals: First, there’s the lie that the organization seeking to fill an opening is the only one doing the interviewing. The second faulty belief is that you are the only one with something to lose. In reality, you may have more to offer than to lose. While interviewing, you ought to be out to discover whether thats the case so you dont choose the wrong position.

A couple of perspective shifts may be helpful here. The first is the realization that you, the job-seeker, are also in a sense the interviewer. Should Julia to go to this interview, she ought to be questioning the organization as they question her. Who knows, they may have something to lose by not hiring her. Whos interviewing whom here? The answer is both employer and candidate! You ought to feel empowered by the knowledge that you’re there to gather information about your potential employer.Interviewing your interviewer is key to learning whether this employer fits your requirements, as the employer makes the same decision about you.

The idea of interviewing your interviewer may build your confidence as a job seeker. But I am not suggesting that you should run the interview. Rather you ought to enter the room with a posture of gathering information. Look for this information in the questions they ask you, as well as in answers to your questions of them. Interviewers commonly give candidates the opportunity to ask questions toward the end of the interview. Here are helpful suggestions for questions to ask a potential employer, but follow their lead as to when it is an appropriate time to do so.  

The second perspective shift is accepting that you have skills worthy of being used and sharpened. Julia is obviously unaware of the hard and soft skills that she has to offer. She has maxed out at her current position, is unfulfilled, and needs to identify what these skills are in order to find fulfillment in a career. It is crucial that as a job-seeker, you enter an interview aware of what you have to offer. If you don’t, you won’t be able to discern whether that organization is the right fit for you. Will this position both utilize and grow the skills you bring to the table? You cant successfully answer this if you aren’t already familiar with your skills.

Job-seekers, be empowered! You have much to offer an organization, so hunt for the one that is worthy of your specific skill sets. Approach your next interview with the belief that interviewing goes both ways, and with the awareness of specific skills you have to offer. Your self-awareness will help you choose a position that is the best fit for you.

By Megan Reinke, Guest Blogger

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