You’re reading an excerpt of Ask Me This Instead: Flip the Interview to Land Your Dream Job, a book by Kendra Haberkorn. This powerful work is written by a veteran recruiter for job-seekers who want to find their dream job—not just the next job. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, worksheets and a question database, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
Imagine wrapping up final interviews with a company knowing that you not only had the chance to share your story and skills, but that you gathered all the information you could about the company, team, and role in order to understand whether this is the right opportunity for you. Asking focused questions connected to your personal priorities is empowering and builds your confidence at each step of the process, especially when you need to determine whether to accept an offer.
If you want that feeling, it’s time to design a 360° strategy for your interviews. Building your plan will enable you to get the most out of the process, just like structured interviews help interviewers achieve their objectives. Asking targeted questions around your priorities to specific people will make the conversations more illuminating and productive. And, candidates who ask the best questions stand out.
This section of the book exists to help you create the plan and take action to make your interviews work for you. As you dig into the question database, you’ll find a common question paired with insights about why it will not get you the information you need. Each of the common questions is then reframed with what you can ask instead, and highlights about why that framing will unlock valuable details about the role, team, and company. This is a chance to bring your voice and power into the process and builds upon the content and exercises from the previous sections of the book. I have aligned questions by persona and topic as a starting point. I encourage you to think about what questions you need to ask and who is the right person for you to ask them to—you may align the questions differently!
Find the activity in this Google Doc!
As you progress through the interview process, you’ll get unique thoughts and opinions about aspects of the role, its purpose, and what the person who will step into the position will be responsible for achieving from each interviewer. If the interviewers are in general alignment—that is, they have a defined set of clear talking points and their answers are complementary rather than tangential—that’s great! You will be able to focus on resolving the differences around the edges or get valuable insight into where potential friction or disagreement might emerge should you join the team.
Unfortunately, not every interview team is aligned. While it may be hard to get visibility as an outsider looking in, if you’re aware of some of the dynamics that interviewers may be dealing with among themselves or within the organization, you can pick up on clues to read the room and identify warning signs more effectively. As you go through each conversation, take in the information provided by each interviewer as well as your gut reaction to what you’re observing and learning. These tangible insights and instincts can help drive your lines of questioning as you progress, or influence your decision to continue in the interview process or bow out.