Our second series of questions for job seekers helps you prepare in advance. Consider what you can do in preparation for your interview that will help the interview to both go smoothly and to help you to present your best self. Read on for tips 4-6!
4. Prepare questions ahead of time. You’re always going to be asked if you have any questions. Do you know what you want to ask? What questions might you have about the job, organization, culture, the people, the work? Don’t be be stumped when the interviewer says, “Do you have any questions for us” We like to ask questions with an equity lens and to think about the “why” behind some of the who, the what and the how of organizational practice that help us to reflect on the way a workplace truly works. Consider asking questions about workplace culture, like what team meetings look like, or what workplace celebrations look like. Remember to ask more questions that invite open-ended responses, not questions that have a specific fixed answer (although you may have some of those, too). And ask questions of the interviewer: consider how you might learn through their experience, by asking how long they’ve been with the organization, what brought them to join the team, and what excites them about the future of the organization. And don’t just ask questions at the end…it’s OK to ask throughout the interview!
5. Play the match game responsibly. Do the questions you’re preparing to ask match the role of the person who is interviewing you? If you’re meeting with the recruiter, and you’d like to know more about the benefits package, you may not get the right information. Consider the questions you have, and simply hold on to the ones that aren’t a good match for the person you’re speaking with–so that you have them for the next round. We encourage you to consider the kind of questions you’re asking, and to think about questions that tap into not just facts, but also the ways in which your prospective employer might handle particular challenges and situations, as well as their vision for–and creation of– a safe, respectful and equitable workplace culture.
6. Practice your personal story. Most interviews include some version of the question, “tell me more about yourself.” How do you plan to answer that question, in no more than 2 minutes? Be concise and prepared with a strong, authentic narrative so you’re not fumbling when this inevitable question comes up. It is OK to be humorous, but don’t make humor the centerpiece: make you and your work shine as you tell the story of you in interaction with the work you do. Consider sharing a few stepping stones or mile markers on your journey. What is your personal story here that is unique? Consider sharing examples of your personal narrative that emphasize your commitment to equity, to creating meaningful, safe and respectful workplace cultures and teams, and also examples of your own journey. In a later tip, we’ll tackle some of the trickier questions that might come up, too.