Going to a job interview is stressful. Most of us spend a lot of time practicing what we are going to say about ourselves and our qualifications—deciding how to convince potential employers that we are the best candidate. But according to Trisha Flores, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington, the interview is as much an opportunity for the employee to vet the organization as it is to introduce themselves.
“It’s important to remember that a job interview is your chance to find out what kind of an organization you’ll be working for,” say Flores. “There is more to a new job than just being able to do the work. The culture, reporting structure, and future advancement opportunities are also important factors to consider.”
In preparing for an interview, Flores says be sure to take time to determine if the job, the role, and the organization are a good fit. Below are a few questions she suggests asking potential employers to help inform your decision.
- What does a typical day look like?
Often job descriptions focus on skills and qualifications. But how these abilities support your daily activities can vary from job to job. Flores suggests asking a potential employer to explain not only what skills are required, but how those skills will benefit you on the job each day. For example, an employer requesting good communication skills may want you to be able to communicate clearly and concisely with your internal team, or they may want you to be able to respond directly to customer questions or complaints. One or the other of these scenarios might change how you feel about accepting the position and may help you head off a career that may not fit with your ambitions.
- What attributes does someone need to be successful in this position?
Everyone has certain skillsets that come more naturally than others. Flores says while most people can step outside of their comfort zone and learn new skills, it often takes more energy and might not be as fulfilling over time as a job that capitalizes on your strengths. She emphasizes that understanding the attributes that will make you successful at the job can help you better determine if a role is likely to help you grow as an individual and an employee or become a burden and possibly make it harder for you to succeed.
- What are the greatest challenges of this role?
Every job comes with challenges. Flores suggests that identifying challenges at the onset may help you better understand what you’re up against and whether you believe you can be successful in overcoming them. Perhaps the responses allude to problems that are systemic or organizational. Understanding the most difficult parts of your role allows you to determine if the benefits of the position outweigh the challenges you will be up against.
- What are the most immediate needs to be addressed?
Flores admits all roles include a bit of a learning curve. Even if you’ve done similar roles for other organizations, all organizations have idiosyncrasies that set them apart. She emphasizes that understanding what would be expected of you and the timeframe of those expectations will help you determine if you can be successful at your role while also navigating the unfamiliar waters of a new organization.
- Do you expect the responsibilities of this role to change in the next six months to a year?
Flores says understanding where your role fits into the organizational structure is important in determining if the role is a good fit for your personal career ambitions. Perhaps the role is expected to grow to a number of staff reporting to you. That may change the context of the role you are seeking. It’s important to understand if a job is going to change in a way that benefits both you and the organization.
“At Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington, we encourage candidates to interview us about any careers they are seeking because we want all of our employees to be successful, long-term members of our organization,” says Flores. “Hiring a new employee or taking a new role is a partnership, and both parties should ask the questions necessary to make the best choice.”
For more information about applying at Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington or open positions, visit us at WorkForHope.org.