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5 Thoughtful Questions To Ask That Will Make Sure You Nail That Job Interview

Add a nice cherry on top of a great interview and a gleaming resume.
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“So, do you have any questions for me?”

Uh-oh. You didn’t prepare for this. You know your top three strengths and weaknesses, your work history and examples of progressive responsibility like the back of your hand. You had a firm handshake at the beginning of the interview. You even looked up what the company does first instead of just applying at random. You’ve got stellar qualifications and rocked the rest of the questions, but this simple little inquiry has you stuttering.

In most cases, not having twenty soul-searching questions for a recruiter probably won’t make or break your candidacy. But why not add a nice cherry on top of a great interview and a gleaming resume by asking questions that highlight what a thoughtful, dedicated worker you are?

Ideally, interviews are not just a chance for companies to scrutinize potential employees, but also an opportunity for job-seekers to find out more about what they could be signing up for with a new job. Here are five questions you can ask interviewers that give you valuable information to consider before accepting a job offer and show your future employer that you mean business.

1. Tell me about the team I’ll be working with

Ask instead of: tell me about your company’s culture

This question will give you a preview of what other employees, departments and backgrounds you’ll be operating with on a regular basis. It also gives you a picture of what the structure or hierarchy may be like for your functional area. The words the employer uses to describe the team and your position’s relationship to them might give a more genuine answer to the question “tell me about your company’s culture” than actually asking that question.

Read between the lines when the employer responds with “you’ll be reporting to Janet” versus “you’ll be collaborating with Sam.” One of these cultures may have a more hierarchical structure and culture, while the other could be more cooperative.

2. What is the biggest challenge someone in this position would face

Ask instead of: describe a typical day in this position.

Should you ask a recruiter what a typical day is like in a given job, they will most likely tell you the canned response: every day is different. The position description already gives you a glossy, rose-colored view of what the role could be like. What you might not get out of this carefully packaged marketing is the tough parts of a job.

What will you struggle with? What problems will you be faced with on day one? Asking about the challenges you could face in a job not only gives you a more realistic job preview, it also shows the interviewer that you are thinking deeply about how you match with the role.

3. You mentioned you’ve been at ABC company for # years, what made you decide to stay and grow within the company

Ask instead of: what do you like about your job?

Instead of soliciting a slew of generic responses, asking what made someone accept or keep a position at the company you are exploring shows the recruiter you care about the organization, not just the open position. This question also opens the door for follow up inquiries on potential room for growth and promotion from entry-level openings. Referencing something the recruiter shared about themselves during their introduction also shows you listened and considered the information they brought to the interview, and overall, makes the experience more of a conversation than a questionnaire.

4. What are some short-term and long-term goals this position would strive to meet

Ask instead of: what are you looking for in an ideal candidate?

Now that you’ve spent twenty plus minutes discussing you, this is your time to dig deeper into what benchmarks you’ll need to meet if you land the job. By asking specifically about short-term versus long-term expectations, you’ll get a feel for what you’ll be dipping your toes into right away, and what you’ll be making strides for once you have a few months under your belt. This also might indicate types of project or work that could come your way farther down the line once your shiny new employee status has worn off a bit.

5. What are the next steps

Ask instead of: smiling and shyly exiting hoping you’ll hear from them in the near future.

Make this your last question, and don’t be too shy to ask. Some recruiters will give you this information voluntarily, but don’t be afraid to ask what the expected timeline will be. This demonstrates to them, one last time before leaving the interview, that you are truly excited about the opportunity, and want to understand their process.

Remember: a little confidence goes a long way. Your dream job is out there, waiting for you to go and get it.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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8 Ways You Can Pursue An International Job After College

Working in a foreign country is something that so many people dream of, but no one really knows where to start.

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You're extraordinary, not ordinary — so why settle for a bland, typical career? Those who have the traveling bug can find work easily all over the globe. But, how do you decide where to go and what to do?

Those with the wanderlust can look to the ideas below to find a gig enabling them to live anywhere on the planet they may like. Whether you dream of summer days spent on an Australian beach or meditating on a mountain peak in Nepal, it's so much easier to start living your dream sooner than you think!

1. Help children learn English.

To those with a bachelor's degree, the world truly is their oyster. Even if you earned your degree in something like underwater basket weaving (I swear it's a thing), you can enjoy a career overseas teaching English.

In order to receive permission to teach English overseas, you'll need to complete a training program to obtain your Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification. Some organizations will sponsor you to obtain said certification in exchange for offering to teach overseas for at least a year. Of course, if you find working abroad suits you, you can stay longer.

2. Put your typing skills to work and transcribe conversations.

Enjoy nothing better than listening to conversations and transcribing them? Consider heading overseas by landing a transcription job allowing work-from-home scheduling. In the age of the internet, the opportunity is so much closer to you than you'd think.

Didn't get enough training to type quickly by pulling those undergrad essay all-nighters? No problem. You can learn how to type quicker online for free.

3. Flex your entrepreneurial muscles and join a global team.

Not the sort who enjoys listening to their boss all day? Why not strike out on your own while traveling the globe? Sure, you may not have much capital state-side but moving to a nation with a less pricey cost-of-living can help you grow your business endeavors quickly.

Furthermore, hiring international team players makes solid business sense. 72% of people like working on global teams, but they like them even more when they feel listened to and treated fairly. Getting an outside perspective can help business owners find innovative solutions to common problems.

4. Become the live-in help, and enjoy a homestay while you're at it.

Have wanderlust and love the little ones? Consider traveling overseas as an au pair. Being an au pair is similar to becoming a nanny but the job description includes caring for basic cleaning tasks, homework help and dinner preparation as well as changing diapers.

Many of those wanting to explore Europe become au pairs in order to fund the journey. Even though said positions pay relatively little, you get free room and board as part of the bargain. Given how European trains travel great distances in little time, you can reserve many weekends for excursions to nearby nations in the region for super cheap.

5. Or, you can take care of pets abroad.

Who said traveling the world meant needing a huge bankroll? Those who adore our four-legged friends can fund their international escapades by pet sitting for those overseas.

Many people treat their fur babies like family and they demand nothing but the utmost quality of care for their puppies and kitties. Getting started can prove somewhat tricky but once you learn the ropes, you can explore foreign cities to your heart's content for little more than the cost of a big bag of kibble.

6. Use your medical skills for even more good.

Did you do your undergraduate work in nursing or another health-related field? Consider joining an international organization such as Doctors Without Borders to quench your thirst for adventure.

Nothing feels more rewarding than putting your skills to good use to help others. Depending on where you envision your career going, having such experience on your resume stands out to future employers and will help you in the long-run.

7. Join the circus (no, really).

When you were a young child, did you dream of growing up only to run away and join the circus? Believe it or not, this can make for an interesting, if unusual, career path!

If you trained as a gymnast or dancer as a child, you'll have an easier job of finding a troupe of performers with whom to travel the globe. Only got fit in your teen years or early 20s? No problem! Consider getting your group fitness instructors' license and teach classes aboard a cruise ship (only steer clear of the all-night buffet to keep fitting into your leggings).

8. Perform acts of kindness for others around the globe through volunteering.

Are you one of those lucky devils born with a trust fund in hand? If money is no object, consider joining the Peace Corps. As a volunteer with the Peace Corps, you'll receive housing and stipends in exchange for help with their projects around the globe. While competition makes finding roles challenging, anything giving you the opportunity to travel for free comes with some strings.

The Peace Corps isn't only for young people leaving school for the first time. Many retirees wishing to give back after a rewarding career also flock to sign up and begin their journeys.

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