Career

Questions Every Woman Should Ask at an Interview

Questions Every Woman Should Ask at an Interview

We are all well aware that we should do at least some research into the company that we will be interviewing for, but many of us are making the mistake of undertaking this research for the purpose of impressing those conducting the interview. However, carrying out some real research both before, and during the interview will provide valuable insights into this career move will be the right one for you!

The heady mix of elation, excitement and nerves are not always contusive to us clearly defining our own expectations and desires, but as we spend on average, 11 years of our lives at work, it is critical that you ensure the business you are considering working for will offer you the opportunities and support to ensure that you are motivated, content and successful in every aspect of your life – most us of are guilty of under-estimating just how much of an impact your career can have in other areas of our lives.

Below are 5 questions that you should ask at every interview to make sure this career move will give you the prospects and corporate culture you deserve.

What can I do to make this company more successful?

This question serves to quickly establish what will be expected of you within the role, and will enable you to probe further into the cooperate culture by asking questions relating to your work/life balance, such as expectations for answering call and emails outside of working hours.

Every great leader within a business should be asking this question continually, and by asking this during an interview demonstrates that you already possess leadership qualities.

What is the company’s stance on work/life balance?

Under no circumstances should you fear that this question will make you appear as your working efforts have severe limitations; Tech giant, Google, have made their employees work/life balance part of their culture and focus on helping them to make more time for their family.

Having quality time away from the pressures of a career can go a long way to make you more focused and motivated; gaining fresh perspective and increased job satisfaction. It doesn’t have to be the first question that you ask a potential employer, and you may be able to gauge the answer from your time in the interview, but if this is something that is a priority don’t sell yourself short by working for a company that doesn’t seem to acknowledge its importance.

How do you see this role progressing over the next 2 years?

Being driven is fantastic attribute but so is being realistic. 2 years is a great timeline for you to educate yourself with regards to the role and the industry whilst also putting the effort in and mastering the role in hand, so when you hungry for something more, it is vital to know in advance whether this business can provide the next steps when you are ready for it; because, if the worst case scenario is that the answer doesn’t live up to what you were hoping for, there is no danger of you contributing to the success of a business that doesn’t contribute to yours.

From an interviewer’s perspective, this question suggests to the interviewer that you are interested in the long term goal and vision of the business.

There’s been a lot of press coverage about equality at senior management & board level – How does this affect your business?

The lack of women at board level is a huge topic right now; you may find this a tough question to put to a potential employer particularly in the interviewer is a man, but if you want to climb that career ladder right to the top, it will get a lot tougher. The answer to this question will indicate to you both how important this issue is to the business and how innovative the whole operation is.

Some the world’s most successful companies have at least one woman in the board room Yahoo, IBM and Facebook to name a few. The number of women in senior management or CEO level will quickly tell you whether the company is simply paying lip service or if they are serious about providing equal opportunities in the workplace. Ask questions about the board, culture has a top down effect so if the driving force behind the company is comprised of men with similar backgrounds, it may be worth delicately asking how this reflects the customer base and the company mission.

What practices are in place for continued learning and advancement?

This question is also twofold; it will give you a clear indication as to the level of support the company provides when it comes to training and internal progression, such as mentoring programs or reimbursing study costs that relate to your role.

When it comes to corporate culture; outdated companies that implement restrictive policies will be concerned that the time and money spent on supporting staff in this way could result in them taking their skills elsewhere; whereas businesses that are embracing the new trend of expander leadership and advancement are committed to producing educated, fulfilled employees that are productive, creative and continually developing. To see if they are serious, ask for an example of an existing employee’s progression. Great leaders are concerned with creating more leaders – not followers.

If you are confident in your abilities and skill set, uphold the integrity to your capability and pick an employer that lives and breathes its company values, that holds its staff in the highest regards and one that welcomes and fosters innovation.

About the author

Jo Sweetland

Jo Sweetland is the Managing Partner and Practice Head in HR at Green Park. With over 15 years of experience recruiting senior executives, Jo was awarded the IMA Interim Consultant of the year in 2013 at the IRP REC awards. Working closely alongside the search team and CEO, Jo ensures that both her clients and candidates are delivered a seamless and bespoke experience.

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