Questions to avoid during an interview

“Do you have any questions?”

By this stage of the interview, the formalities, tough questions and good impressions are over…. right? Well, not exactly! The interview isn’t over, until it’s over (AKA you are out of the door), so what you say, do or ask at this moment of the interview is still being considered.

Here are some questions you should NEVER ask! And some alternatives for those of us who are extremely curious and need some answers.

1. How many hours are involved in this role?

These days, we do have flexibility within our jobs for out-of-office work, and the pleasure of working from home. So, it is understandable you want to know if this position accommodates your lifestyle. But if it hasn’t already been confirmed in the interview or the job advertisement, and it isn’t labeled ‘part-time’, it’s safe to assume you will be working 9-5. Asking about the hours can translate to “I don’t like to work too many hours” or an image of that employee who is always checking the clocking and counting down ‘till home time. 

For an alternative, you could ask:

“What does a normal day in this role look like?”

2. How often do you give promotion opportunities?

It is an important question to ask; obviously career aspirations are an opportunity to move up the corporate latter and grow professionally. However, asking this question (in this way) can be interpreted as you are not happy with the position or the salary of the role you are applying for and want a promotion ASAP. It can also seem like you think you have earned a promotion, which doesn’t set the best image for yourself and your potential future boss. There is an alternative though. Try asking, “Are there opportunities for professional development?” This question appears more professional, thoughtful and highlights your career aspirations and desire to grow in your career.

3.  What is the turnover rate?

A high turnover rate is usually a prime indicator of a problem with the company’s culture and environment. So, obviously wanting to know the turnover rate is a great way to determine what the company is like, and what the company will be like to work for. Yet these types of question can potentially ‘touch a nerve’ with the interviewer. To avoid causing any awkward feelings or pauses within the interview, try asking “How long have you worked here?”, or try, “How long has the team been working here for?” You will get the answer you are looking for without seeming offensive.

These are just a few questions to avoid during the interview process to allow for positive results and potential employment. Keep these in mind and you'll be able to get through the interview from start to finish. Good luck!

 

How to Research a Role

One of the most common questions you will find yourself asked in an interview is “What do you know about our company?”. It can sometimes feel awkward telling the interview panel what they already know, but this demonstrates that you are well prepared, and also genuinely interested in the position.

The Position Description

Read the Position Description thoroughly. This is your first insight into the position and has all of the most important information that you need to know. If there are any terms you don't understand make the effort to look each of them up so that you won't be caught off guard in the interview. If you have any questions, make note of them so that you can ask when the opportunity arises. Make sure that you check to see if there is a more detailed Position Description or any other additional information attached to the advertisement.

Human Resources

Many job advertisements will list a phone number for enquiries about the role, and some will even encourage you to call them for a chat before applying. Talking with a real person can help you to understand the workplace culture and how the role fits into the organisation. If you make a good impression this conversation may also help you to stand out from the crowd when shortlisting occurs.

Company website

This is your most valuable resource for understanding the identity that the company wants to present to the public. Read About Us and History sections to find out how the company has evolved. Have a look at Team pages to understand the corporate structure, and possibly research the interview panel. Read any News or Blog pages for ideas on conversation points and questions to bring up during your interview. Values and Mission Statements will also allow you to decide how you would like to present yourself in the interview, you can play up certain elements of your personality and skills that this particular organisation considers desirable, while downplaying others which may be at odds with their culture.

LinkedIn

This social media and networking tool is playing an increasingly large role in bridging the gap between employers and job seekers. Many companies will have a LinkedIn profile for the organisation itself, as well as many of the key players in management and people who may end up being part of your team. You can also see news, profiles and links that the company has posted, which will sometimes be different to their more formal website content, providing a different insight into the public persona of the organisation.

Google Search

It can often be handy to use Google to look into a prospective workplace. The company may have online reviews, be listed in connection with recent news stories, or have a wide range of information detailed on their Wikipedia page. Just remember, if it wasn't posted by an official source it may not necessarily be accurate!

Category: 
Interview, Job Search

Is salary negotiation a no-no?

You’ve landed the job of your dreams, but the take-home pay is less than impressive. Here we discuss if – and when – you should negotiate on salary.

According to the Institute of Careers CEO David Zanker, don’t barter on wages at your first interview.

“You have to wait until the company has invested in the process, and in you,” Mr Zanker says.

“A good time to enter these discussions is before you start the job, not while you’re still an applicant.”

Another clever way to broach these somewhat uncomfortable discussions, Mr Zanker says, is to take a strategic, forward-thinking approach.

“Employees could ask their new employer whether they’d consider a salary review in three months’ time, based on performance.

“That way you’ve opened up the doors for discussion without hitting them up straight off the bat.”

A final word of advice – if you’ve negotiated on salary, don’t expect to get any leeway in hitting your KPIs and targets.

“You’ll really need to impress your employer during your probationary period because you fought for your skills and experience to be reflected in your higher salary,” Mr Zanker says.

“If you don’t fulfil those expectations, you’ll lose credibility fast.”

Finding work in the hidden job market

Have you heard of the hidden job market?

An estimated 80 per cent of jobs aren’t advertised, which begs the question – where are they and how do I get one?

In the burgeoning aged and child care industries, for example, you won’t find many jobs advertised because employees are required to have a Certificate III in their respective industries, and complete a certain amount of hours on work placement. As a consequence, there’s a lot of potential employees doing placements in the aged and child care sectors that will automatically get the job.

But that’s the bad news.

The good news is there’s plenty of scope to find out about these and other hidden jobs through the power of networking – both on and offline.

Networking is advantageous for all jobseekers, whether you are unemployed and looking for work or have a job but want to take the next step in your career. It’s a great way to meet key industry insiders, and find out about new opportunities through word-of-mouth and face-to-face contact.

Online, the best way to network is without a doubt through the business-focussed social network LinkedIn, so if you don’t have an account – get on it! LinkedIn is the biggest and best professional network to find a job, develop your career and connect with likeminded professionals in your area of expertise. Make sure your LinkedIn profile reads like a resume – keep it crisp, clean and concise.

For those of you who are already in the workforce, immerse yourself in your industry and take a genuine interest in what you’re doing. Further to that, actively attend professional development opportunities including events and after-hours functions. Be confident but not pushy when approaching people you don’t know – the last thing you want them to think is that you’re trying to get something out of them.

As a final tip, we at the Institute of Careers recommend you become a collector of business cards. Get yourself a little black book and store every single business card in it – you never know when that contact will come in handy!

 

Category: 
Job Search