Tuesday, July 5

13 Questions to Win Over the Recruiter

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13 questions to ask — and win over — the job recruiter

By Tranette Ledford - Decision Times
Jarrod Washington knew about interviews. He had spent more than five years as an Air Force recruiter. So when he sat down to interview for his first civilian job, he asked a question directly related to the position.
"What type of training does the company provide?"
Washington chose the questions he wanted to ask before he arrived at the interview. He also chose the timing.
"I waited until the interview was winding down," he said. "By that time we were having more of a give-and-take conversation and I knew that was my chance to ask the questions."
He got the job. An Air Force veteran of 20 years and a master sergeant when he separated, Washington had his interview Jan. 30 of this year and was hired Feb. 19 as the career director for a large real estate firm in Newport News, Va. Now he's the one hiring and asking the questions.

Questions vs. answers

Most job seekers are advised to anticipate interview questions and rehearse responses. But you need more than good answers: You need good questions.
"The biggest sin for a job candidate isn't going to be arriving to the interview late or being dressed inappropriately or even asking less-than-ideal questions," said John Kador. "The biggest sin is asking no questions at all. That's a dead end for the job candidate."
Kador is a business writer with expertise in technology, communications and the economy. He has also written numerous books, including "The 201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview," published by McGraw Hill in 2002. While researching his book, Kador gathered information and anecdotes from human resources professionals, recruiters and career coaches, and turned that information into a revealing look at what employers want to hear from job candidates, and the power of well-phrased, knowledgeable questions.
"Because of the Internet, there's really no reason to ask questions about the company," Kador said. "It's better to put into the form of question statements about who you are. This is a way to advance your value as an employee."

'I'm valuable'

Whatever you've put in bullets or highlighted on your résumé -- those are the points to bring up in questions. The following are examples of questions that paint a picture of the value you bring to the position:
1. What is the most important thing I can do to help the company within the first 60 days?
2. What specific skills from the person you hire will make your life easier?
3. What kinds of processes does the company have in place to help me work collaboratively?
4. What are the major concerns that need to be immediately addressed for the successful candidate for this job?

Directing your sales pitch

Most hiring managers don't have tunnel vision. They're looking for a combination of traits and skills. Still, they have one common goal -- picking out the best match from a field of applicants.
According to Kador, the following questions allow you to interview the interviewer. By doing so, you can learn more about what you are up against and respond accordingly to turn things to your favor. You also can use your questions to play up your strengths.
5. By what criteria will you select the ideal candidate for this job?
6. What are some of the problems that keep you up at night?
7. What are the critical factors for success in your department?
8. In my last assignment, I supervised 10 people. How would such a skill translate to the requirements of this job?

Questions that dispel doubts

Several years ago, the market was such that job seekers often used interviews to screen for the best offers. That's not the case anymore, says Kador.
Employers are running the show now. That means job candidates must ask questions that put the interviewer's doubts to rest.
Hiring managers want to know that you have the ability to do the job. But they may have doubts and unspoken or even unconscious objections to hiring you. You can dispel their uncertainty by finding out what objections they might have to hiring you, then dealing with them head-on, Kador said.
9. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
10. How do my qualifications compare to the qualifications of the ideal candidate?
11. Is there anything standing in the way of us coming to an agreement?

Bids for action

Depending on the job and the company, you may have to go through a series of interviews. Kador suggests job seekers find out who really does the hiring and reserve a few questions for that person -- questions that clearly demonstrate you really want the job without directly asking for it.
He acknowledges it's a bold approach, but believes it's better to make a veiled request to get hired than to make no request. His examples:
12. This position sounds like something I'd really like to do. Is there a fit here?
13. I'm very interested in this job and I know your endorsement is the key to getting it. May I have your endorsement?
The information provided by hiring managers who spoke with Kador indicates that interviewers see questions as a projection of confidence. They also tip the scales.
"If there are two candidates equally qualified for the job and one asks great questions and one doesn't, or one candidate asks for the job and the other one doesn't, who would you choose?" he said. "When you're looking for a job, remember that questions reveal a lot about you. That's why they shouldn't be 'me' questions. Instead, they should be focused on your value and what you bring to the table."
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