Control may be an illusion, but making an effort to gain more control over an interview pleasantly often impresses prospective employers. Get your questions answered and learn whether or not you even WANT to get the job you’re interviewing for. The best employers worry as much about their employee’s experience as they do their customers. They recognize that the best employer-employee relationship is one of mutual benefit and enjoyment. If only candidates and employers could date each other, getting together to spend time and get to know each other better. But that’s not how it works. Your Only Opportunity to GET a Great First Impression It has often been said that you only get one chance to make a great first impression. When it comes to a job interview, it’s also your only chance to obtain a clear impression of your potential new employer. What is their culture? How significant is employee growth to the company? Do they promote from within? What will you be expected to achieve? What support is available to help you? How long have other employees been working there? If they stay, what makes them stay? If they leave, why do they go? So many questions you’d like to ask. If only you could be interviewing the company instead of them interviewing you. Why not? Conducting an Effective Employer Interview The best strategy is to ask these questions. Ask all your questions. If the answer doesn’t satisfy you entirely, probe deeper. Be positive, be courteous, but be curious. You will be spending more time at this company than you do with your family for the foreseeable future. They have, therefore, a significant impact on your life. It can’t be a relationship you enter into lightly. Respect your right to know more and ask your questions. When you ask, you stand to learn a lot. At the same time, your interviewer will find themselves learning a lot more about you. The essential element of any interaction is intent, and nothing gives a more unambiguous indication of your intent than the questions you ask. Let’s compare two candidates who asked questions: Candidate #1: “Does your company celebrate employee successes? In what ways? How can employees best learn how to make more and better contributions to the company? Do you think your current employees treat the company as if it were their own? How many of your senior managers and executives were promoted to those positions from within? Candidate #2: “What are the benefits you offer employees? How many vacation days and personal time off is provided? Is the pay period every two weeks or twice each month?” Which candidate would you prefer to hire? You may be thinking that nobody would ever start with the questions that Candidate #2 did, but you’d be wrong. They do more often than you’d believe. The real question is how many ask the same kind of questions as Candidate #1, and the answer to that would be “not enough.” For you, this is good news. When you show the initiative to ask your questions and all your questions are around how you can bring more value to the company, you will always stand out from those who don’t ask questions and far ahead of Candidate #2. Don’t Be Shy A job interview is no time to be shy. Only you can gauge how assertive or aggressive you can be with any given interviewer, but you may not want to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate your ambition. A great employer recognizes and rewards initiative. Once the interviewer has made their introductory comments, as early as you possibly can, ask a question, make sure it’s a question about how you can find ways to make bigger, better contributions to the company. Employers hire value. Show that you are a candidate with great value for them. As your conversation continues, find opportunities to ask more of your questions. Bring a list of questions if you think it will help you. You will quickly be able to tell if the interviewer appreciates your curiosity or not. You must decide what to do if they don’t. What to Keep in Mind at Every Interview As was said earlier, you’ll be spending more time with the people at the company than you do with your own family. This is a significant decision about a significant investment of your time and effort, and it changes the direction of your career and your life. That demands that you know as much as you can before you accept employment with this company. They have to deserve you as much as you deserve the job they’re offering.