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  • Stacey Baker

Ask about challenges, struggles and competition


Any role that you go into, or are taking up, there are going to be the downsides. Using your interview/s to find out more about these will allow you to gage more of a full picture of the role and the company, and will show your keen to learn everything you can before going into the role. It’s the perfect time to help get a more rounded view of the role, as well as maybe make the interviewer think about the potential problems and challenges they face and how you can make a difference.

1. You mentioned that the team was struggling a bit to work together. How would my role help improve teamwork?

Obviously this question can be re-worded if they haven’t brought up any struggles within the team, but if they have, then this is a prime opportunity for you to show that teamwork is a key factor for any successful team to function. It will also allow you to get an idea of the faults that other members have, and you can figure out how to approach them, as well as what not to do.

2. May I ask why the last person left the job?

As recruiters, we get asked this question a lot. It is important to know why your predecessor left the role, if they did anything wrong or if they just decided to leave, and why, as this can help with whether you think you would be the right fit for the role. It would also be a good idea of what you should be focusing on in the job, and how different you can be. In your head, you may have an idea of what you want to do in the role, but if this was the same as the last person to take the role and they lost their job, then obviously you need to change your ideas.

3. What mistakes have people made in this position?

Again, this will allow you to see the faults of those before you, as well as kill off any ideas that you may have had if they are mentioned. Getting a wider view of what your potential new management want from an employee and what has not been right beforehand will make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

4. Which competitors/products/targets are you most worried about?

Research, research, research! Having this information, you can go home and look into these, which will give you more of an idea about what you can take into your new role. Knowing how competitors work and the targets that your new employer has struggled with will allow you to go in to the new company with a focus on who you need to target and what goals you need to prioritise.

5. How many people have left the company in the last year (or dedicated time frame)?

Labour turnover for whatever company is important as you need to know how and why people leave. If you find yourself going into a company that has a high turnover, this may have a negative impact on you, as your idea would be to go in for the long run. This question can be delved into deeper if you can find out why and how people in the company left, as you know that exit interviews have been made.

6. What are the current focus areas for the company as a whole?

Being in line with the rest of your peers is crucial to company success, and knowing what you will have to focus on when you arrive in your new role will allow you to come up with some ideas that will help them on their way. New ideas is one of the many perks of having a new employee so make sure you get ahead of the game and have these ready to go when you join. It wouldn’t be a case of disruption when you arrive, but having some new ideas that could help the company focus.

As we have said before, these questions are just ideas of what you can ask to make yourself stand out amongst the other interviewing candidates, and for you to get more knowledge about how you can help the company with your ideas and plans. Realistically, you are not going to go into your new company and change everything they do, but you can go in with an idea of what you want to achieve and to help the company achieve the goals that they have specified to you.

Be different, but stick to what you know.

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