Did You Know That You Can Ask the Hiring Manager This Question?

Posted July 11, 2016

Sometimes it's best to just cut to the chase and ask a hiring manager, "What are you looking for in a candidate?"

The question may sound a bit forward, but it often leads to the interviewer, perhaps surprisingly, telling you the truth. You may have the exact skill they are looking for, but somehow it hadn't come up until you asked. On the other hand, you may not be what they are looking for and you can end any speculation about getting the job.

Being direct and asking your interviewer what they want also helps you avoid the pitfall of thinking too much and trying to come up with the right carefully prepared answer for each question.

At the end of the day, asking an interviewer what they're looking for cuts out guesswork and misunderstandings. It helps you to have a more honest conversation.

Other upfront questions to ask

In addition to asking your interviewer what they are looking for in a candidate, you could also ask them why they like working for the company and why the company decided to bring you in for an interview.

Asking the interviewer why they like working for the company is another way to break down conversational barriers that normally go up during an interview. It also causes you to see your interviewer as a person you can connect with, not just an unfamiliar person you are trying to impress. Most importantly, if the interviewer hesitates or has a hard time coming up with a good answer, you may want to think twice about continuing along the hiring process.

Asking the person across the table from you why the company decided to bring you in can provide you with two very important bits of information. First, it can reveal what parts of your background the company finds valuable - knowledge you should be able to use to your advantage. Second, the question can help you negotiate compensation, schedule flexibility or anything else you might be after.

Maintaining a two-way conversation

These questions are designed to keep the interview from becoming an interrogation and make it more of a two-way conversation where both parties can benefit. In addition to asking these prepared questions, you should also be taking every opportunity to actively engage in the conversation. For instance, if one of your particular skill sets comes up, ask how that skill set might be applied at the company and if there is a chance to expand your abilities working in the position.

Also, don't focus on the "right" or "wrong" way of doing things, simply give honest answers based on research and experience and let your interviewer know that you are open to new ways of doing things, as long as you understand the reasoning behind it.

At Ambassador Personnel, we assist all our job candidates with every part of the hiring process. If you feel like you need some in-person advice on how to make a great first impression, please contact us today to work with a leading employment firm in the South!