Friday, June 21, 2013

Forget This Step And You Will Never Get A Second Interview

Recruiting in the fast-paced and rapidly growing agricultural industry offers me the opportunity to meet some very talented people.  With more and more people gaining interest in this industry each day, it’s not uncommon for me to interview people with excellent resumes, great experience, proven success, significant potential, strong communications skills, and great answers to my questions.  In short – they are ideal candidates.  However, the surprising fact is that many of these “ideal” candidates don’t move ahead in the process because of one simple thing – their questions.  Or, in most cases, it’s the lack of questions that prevent them from making it to the final round of interviews.

During an interview, I’ll always ask “Do you have any questions for me?”  My excitement quickly fades when they say “No, I think you covered everything”

Really!?  We covered everything you need to know to make a career decision in less than 30 minutes (of which you were answering my questions about your work history for most of it)!?  In many cases, these are same sales people who just told  me they ask great questions and listen.  But now that I'm giving them the opportunity to show their stuff - they have nothing to say?

Failing to ask questions gives the impression that your done, you don't care, and you have no interest in talking about this position any longer.  You are missing the golden opportunity to prove you are the right person for the job.  Well executed questions are your best way to demonstrate your desire to learn more, and your vision of adding value to the company. 

The key to asking great questions in an interview is to NOT ask question you should already know the answers to. 

If you want to impress your interviewer, don’t ask about vacation, benefits job description, travel, etc.  You should already know this from your research on the position.  You need to ask questions that show genuine intent and interest in this role as a career opportunity.  Great questions don’t allow for one sentence answers.  They create conversation and can lead to other topics in which you can continue to match your qualifications to their needs.
There are hundreds of good questions you can ask in an interview.  Here are five simple and easy to remember questions that I feel will help your odds of making it to the next round:
1.     What attributes are you seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?
2.     How can improve on the work of the person who previously held this role?
3.     What do you see as the biggest challenges of working here and how can I overcome those challenges?
4.     What will need to have accomplished my first year to be considered successful? What will be considered success in 3 years?
5.     What is your vision for where the company or department will be in 3-5 years?

While good questions are not the most critical step in getting a 2nd interview, they are often the most overlooked component of the interview process.  By asking questions that show genuine interest in the success of the company (not just things that affect you) their confidence in you being the right person for the job will continue to rise.

Research the company, learn as much as you can about the position, and then use the components of these questions to craft great questions for your next interview.  Asking good questions will enable you interview experience to be more interactive and conversational.  Accomplish this, and you will be happy with the results.