How to Evaluate Job Fit During an Interview
As an applicant, it’s easy to focus on “selling yourself” during an interview, but the employer-employee relationship is a two-way street. We all know that it’s important to bring questions to the interview in order to show your interest, but I’ll give you a better reason: if you really want to find a job you love—not just a job that pays the bills, but a job that you are excited to come to work for, and empowered to excel in—you need to do your homework. You need to know who you’re working under, who you’re working with, and what you’re working for. If you end up accepting an offer but don’t then get what you want out of the role, you won’t want to stick around very long.
Dig deep. Be thoughtful and critical during your interview to educate yourself on the role as much as possible and ensure it’s a meaningful fit.
The questions you ask in an interview are your opportunity to assess job fit. Come prepared with questions (ones that can’t be answered on the company website). Here are some that will allow you to dig deeper than the job description, so that you can feel confident as you sign on the dotted line.
What is the work environment like?
Do you need a private, quiet working space to be productive, or do you thrive on collaboration and active team dynamic?
How would you describe company culture?
Do you enjoy working on a highly interactive team, or would you prefer to work as an individual and only come together as a team to discuss ideas in a formal setting? Do you value a work-hard-play-hard environment or are you looking for a more professional work atmosphere?
What should I expect to accomplish within the first 3 months of working for this company?
Find out how quickly you can start contributing to the success of the company and how performance will be measured. As a young professional, you want to be sure that your supervisor will give you the opportunities and feedback you need to grow.
What is employee turnover in the company like?
A high turnover rate raises questions about the work environment and management style. It also means the people on your team are unlikely to be very experienced which may affect your efficiency.
How would you describe your management style?
What kind of supervision do you want? Would you prefer someone who checks in with your progress regularly, or someone who leaves you to it and trusts you’ll approach them for help if you’re stuck?
Listen carefully to the interviewer’s responses and think critically as you evaluate the company and role. This will help you to find a meaningful fit while showing that you’re a strong, thoughtful candidate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STARTUP INSTITUTE & CHRISTINE ZIMMERMAN
Christine Zimmerman spreads the Startup Institute magic as Content Marketing Manager. She is an avid dancer and lover of all cheese.