ChatGPT and the job interview
AI did your homework, now it's your time to shine
ChatGPT polishes your resume and helps you to present yourself as the best candidate for the job. AI can also help you to craft an amazing cover letter in a witty confident tone while you tick all the job requirements boxes. Just prompt and go.
However, when it's time for the interview, it comes all down to you. There is only one way to nail the interview: old-school preparation—no shortcuts or some AI assistance.
Writing this for a friend, and maybe this can help you too.
Why the interview matters
The best work is done when you have fun and trust each other. That’s the ‘click,’ the personality, ethos, and capabilities. The job interview is there to check that out.
Of course, those interviews can be dreading, especially if they stick to the predictable recruitment script with the obligatory questions like ‘Why do you apply’ or ‘Why do you think you’re a fit for this job.’
The magic happens, and the lasting impression is in the last part of the interview when you ask your questions.
Show that you care and that you did your homework. What ChatGPT did in the first phase was to get you the invite; now it’s your time to shine, whether the interview is with the hiring manager or the nitwit recruiter.
I’ve created some categories for the questions. Up to you to use what suits your interview and personality. My sources are in the last paragraph, as I’ve stolen with pride.
Mix and match the questions. You do you, me do me.
About the company questions
This is where ChatGPT did your homework. And you don't have this information top of mind. Yet, it's quite essential to know and if the company is a good fit for you. Do this before you have the interview.
- What are the mission and vision of the company?
- What is their north star? And the strategy to survive? The license to operate and reason for existence in five or ten years?
- What's their take on sustainability and diversity?
- Are there reviews and recommendations by (former) employees? Google this.
Download the Annual Report and Sustainability Report.
Dive into the cracks of the corporate section of their website, usually accessible via the footer.
Check the socials and their webcare.
Subscribe to the newsletter.
Do that stuff that goes beyond the employer branding marketing and shows the company's true colors.
Questions to ask during the job interview
To start, make sure you get time at the end of the interview to shine. Probably, they open with the agenda; that’s your time to notify them you have some questions, which will trigger them because it shows you’re very well prepared.
Do keep in mind that the interview is not only to see if you’re a fit for the company. It’s also a check to discover if the company is a fit for you. It takes two to tango.
About the job questions
To prevent you’ll look like an idiot, ask these questions during the first part of the interview. If not answered, then get clarity at the end.
- How would my role affect the business in the short-, medium- and long term? Get insights on how your work contributes to the overall business objectives.
- What about this position is most important? How does it support management and serve direct reports? Get insight into the position and how it fits into the network of the company. Who will you support? Who will you supervise and guide? What is their management style or working style? What skills are critical for success?
- Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do to get up to speed quickly? Any guidance on how to speed up the learning process and make you effective and productive quicker can give you a significant advantage.
- What are the biggest trouble spots you’re hoping the person in this position can help you with?
- What is the most challenging part of this job? What is your favorite part of this job?
- What would you want to see me accomplish in the first six months? Asking about specific performance expectations and accomplishments can allow you to tailor the conversation to demonstrate that you're the ideal candidate for the position. It also shows your commitment to adding value.
- What is the history of this position? Perhaps this opening was recently created to support company growth. If that is the case, ask a follow-up question about who owned the responsibilities up to this point and how the duties will be transitioned.
If you are interviewing for a position left vacant by someone's departure, get a sense of what happened. Why did the predecessor leave the job? Was he or she promoted or internally transferred? If the predecessor left the company, ask about the circumstances.
On the same note, it is usually fair game to clarify whether the company is considering internal candidates for the position.
- Is there a team? If so, how does that look?
- Can you tell me about a recent time one of your employees really excelled? A good employer won't have any trouble celebrating their team. A c**p employer will struggle hard to answer. ...And it's a perfectly reasonable question.
- What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to your competition?
I absolutely love these questions. And every time I ask this during the interview, the other starts to shine and gives an honest answer. If they are taken aback, I also know enough, and that’s not a company and culture I want to work for.
- Why did you join this company? In other words, a very polite version of ‘Why should I want to work here?’
- What gets you out of bed every day and excites you to come to work? What do you love the most about working for this company?
Some more personal questions you could ask if there’s enough time. My two favorites are listed first.
- How can I f*ck up in this role? This is also good to know for when you want out ;)
- Is there anything I have said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?
- What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?
- How would you measure my success, and what could I do to exceed your expectations?
Job interviews can be fun if done right. It's like a no-brainer to prepare well and have your questions ready. Yet, as a hiring manager, I'm often surprised by how little the candidates are prepared and not going beyond the obvious. N = 1, it comes across as if they are not interested.
AI did your homework; now it's your turn to shine. Show that you care. My personal favorite question is ‘Why do you work here and what excites you about your job and the company?’