Interviewing is a two way street, but that is so easy to forget. Sometimes we get into the interview feeling as if it is an interrogation. I can’t deny that it does feel that way, especially if the interview is heavily focused on a the showcase of a hard skilled, or it touches sensitive points, but seeing the interview that way can make us lose our sense of control.
When we go to an interview with the mindset that it is a process, that helps us learn as much about the company as much as they are trying to learn about us, the dynamic changes. Our interactions feel more balanced and we understand that it is a two way street, that we not only need to meet their needs for it to be a great match, but they also need to meet ours.
That being said, you got an interview with your potential dream company let’s see how you can interview them!
I’ll be sharing the key elements of a method that I have developed overtime to help me have a clearer understanding of how much a company matches my expectations. My actual deep evaluation is lengthier than this, but this is a great way to start, and adapt, to fit your own needs.
This won’t save you from negative things that are hard to notice till you actually start working in the company, but it will help you have a better understanding of what you’re signing up for.
The 2-Way Street Interviewing Method
After the interview or during the interview, the interviewer usually takes notes about their impression of you and if they feel you meet the expectations of the company. In short, if you are a good fit to move forward with.
However, you can do the same! Sometimes our initial impression about a company might change during the interview process and it is important to keep a track of that too.
I’ll break this method in Pre-Interview, During Interview, and Post-Interview.
Ask yourself these questions.
1. What is their mission, vision and values?
If their mission, vision and values does not match yours then there is a clash here, and that could be a source of tension in the future. You need to ensure that you are both on the same page.
2. Why do I want to work at this company?
As much as we all want to work at a company to contribute to a larger mission and have a big impact, it also has to meet our basic needs. Be transparent to yourself on why you are interested in said company and if it meets your need
3. What is their product/service? Do I find them interesting?
This question is extremely important for advocacy and sales roles. You need to really believe in what you are selling or promoting for it to feel right and genuine when you do it.
4. Do I see room for growth in this company?
The last thing you want to do, especially if you are a young professional, is get into a company and feel stuck. No upper trajectory, no professional/educational growth.
Here the interviewer is evaluating you.
Here’s how you can evaluate your interviewer:
Understand that this is one of the people who will be your coworkers. It could be that this person is your immediate coworker or a distant one. In the end of the day, they reflect a part of the company.
Did you feel respected during the interview and that they genuinely wanted to know about you? Is your interviewer a person you’d like to potentially work with?
If you are interviewing on-site, pay additional attention to the work environment, the demeanor of their employees, their dress code and how employees of all levels are being treated.
Key time to gather more information about the company or the role is when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions to ask. That’s a great time to learn more about the role, the work environment, why they chose to work at this company and more.
Draft a summary about the impression you had about the interview.
Answer these questions:
What is my current impression about [X company]?
Do I still want to work at [X company]?
If your answer is No during the first interview but you get to the next stage, give it some other chance to confirm on if you still feel the same way on the subsequent interviews.
Repeat the during and post-interview exercise for subsequent interviews within the same company.
Once you get an offer, evaluate your findings. Is it still a decent fit? If it is then great, if not, try to address your concerns and see if there is anything that can be done about it.
Look for deal breakers that hint that this is a job to avoid pursuing. Be 100% sure that that is a deal breaker for you before saying no.
If you get no offer but your experience was positive or decent, this indicates that it could be a great company to reconsider in the future!
That being said, I created this worksheet to help you with this. Find it here: Click Me