Getting ready for a big job interview? Congratulations! You’ve already accomplished something amazing. You stood out among the crowd of candidates whose resumes flooded the inbox of your prospective boss. Now it’s time to win in the next round of competition. That requires some well-thought-out preparation. Fashion search firms in NYC indicate that it’s not enough to show up in the right attire, ready to talk about yourself and your qualifications—those things are givens. You’ll be in a much better position to advance to the “semi-finals” if you prepare to ask the right questions.
Do Your Homework
Start your job prep by researching the company to get a feel for the company’s history. Look for details like how long they’ve been in business and how they position themselves. The website should give you plenty of information, including some type of mission statement, or at least an “about us” page to indicate their values, priorities, and goals, and how they view the future.
Notice the language used to describe the company and their products or services—this is the company’s voice. Is it formal and “corporate,” or more casual and trendy? Don’t try to imitate the company voice. It’s more important to be yourself, but keep it in mind, and then take your cues from the interviewer when responding to their questions. Look over information on the site about the team, the executives, or anything that indicates what they value in their top employees. Read their news or press page to be current on company milestones and achievements, and do an online search for background they might choose to leave off the page. If there are past serious problems at this company, you’ll want to know about them in advance.
Prepare Your Questions
You know the interviewer will have lots of questions for you. If you work through a fashion recruitment agency in NYC, like The Fashion Network, you can ask for coaching to make sure you are fully prepared for an interview. Some larger companies will have you speak to more than one person, often starting with a screener, who then turns you over to the supervisor of the open position. The first-stage interview is typically a nuts-and-bolts focus, reviewing points on your resume, and raising any questions about incomplete information. When you move on to the key decision-maker, you’ll encounter more challenging questions that ask you to present yourself and your skills in some depth, indicating how you could contribute to the company’s success, and why you are qualified to do the job. At some point, the interviewer should ask if you have any questions. If they don’t, and the interview seems to be coming to a close, suggest that you’d like to ask a few questions.
Why Ask Questions?
The best fashion staffing agencies in NYC work to match you with the right job openings for your skills, so you are ahead of the game when you arrive for an interview. Make the most of this advantage by asking the most effective questions. There are three essential reasons to ask questions. First, by asking the right ones, you dig a little deeper to elicit crucial information about the job and the company, a valuable resource that can help you determine if this is really the job and the employer you want. After all, you are interviewing them at the same time as they are interviewing you. You’ll also learn more about how to succeed if you do nab the job.
Second, and equally important, you’ll demonstrate your skills and confidence in action, showing how you think on your feet, and how much time you’ve already committed to learning about the company. Third, it’s a great chance to learn how you’re measuring up. By asking the right questions, you can find out a bit about your competition and if the interviewer is harboring any concerns about you.
6 Key Questions to Ask
As much as you might wish it, you are not conducting a full interview with the employer, so plan to ask around 3 important questions. That means you should have 5 or 6 questions prepared, in case some of them are answered in the course of the interview, or you judge them to be irrelevant once you’ve learned more about the job.
Keep in mind that your questions should not be confrontational, but they can be respectfully probing. You don’t want to put your interviewer on the defensive. Instead, you want to subtly invite them to speak with you on a more open, person-to-person level. You also want to convey the idea that you are focused on making a contribution to the company’s mission, rather than just on how it will benefit you.
Here are 6 important questions to choose from, or to use as inspiration for developing your own ideas:
1. What is the most important thing to focus on in my first quarter here if I want to be successful? You are putting yourself “in the picture,” and at the same time letting the interviewer describe company priorities.
2. What do you like best about working here? This gives the interviewer a chance to connect with you as a person. It may prompt him or her to be a bit more open about the nature of the company and the working environment.
3. What kind of opportunities are available for ongoing training and education? You have made clear that you are interested in a long-term commitment to the company, and in becoming an increasingly valuable member of the team.
4. What can you tell me about the group I’ll work with? Knowing how your job intersects with others in your team will give you a better sense of what the job really entails. You may get a better sense of the working atmosphere and personalities of your future co-workers.
5. Do you have any concerns about my qualifications for the job? This question lets the interviewer know that you have the confidence to address any perceived weaknesses, and that you’ll be open to constructive criticism and coaching in the future. Plus, you get a chance to counter misperceptions they may have formed about you.
6. Don’t forget to “close the sale” by asking for the job. You can say “I think this job is a good fit for me, and I’d really like to join your team. What do you think?” You have clearly stated your interest and shown that you already feel a level of commitment to the job. It may give you a chance to probe further and find out how many final candidates are still in the running, and what your chances are.
Depending on the answer to the last question, you can follow up by asking what to expect next. There may be another interview, or you may get an offer on the spot.
Did you notice what was missing from this list? Right. There’s nothing that says you should ask about compensation. Save that for your second interview, and give the employer every opportunity to open that subject before you do.