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Ace Your Next Interview by Interviewing the Client!

Your main objective in a job interview (whether it’s with an agency or a client) is to set yourself apart from your competition.  So what is the best and most underutilized technique interviews?  It is so simple you won’t believe you didn’t give it more weight and it might be the reason you didn’t land your last dream job!  The answer? You need to have some questions ready to ask the interviewer.  That’s it! That’s the highest determining factor in successfully moving onto the next round of interviews in a highly competitive interview process.  Every good Manager worth his or her weight is going to ask you the question “Do you have any questions for me?” and we’ll help you find a good way to answer it.

So how do you answer this open ended question?

In your notebook, on a fresh page – and it is very important to use a fresh page – create three to five smart questions.  Between the questions, leave yourself five or more blank lines. This will help you be able to quickly see the questions to read them and allow you to write down the answers provided so that you can refer back to them after the interview.  They should be well thought out questions that are important to you personally and contain topics that show you are  serious and interested in the role. [Tip: Use Post-It document tabs to flag the section of your note book that contains the company information and your questions. This way you won’t fumble to find the page you need in the middle of your interview. It will also give the impression that you mean business: because you do!]

Here are some example questions you can ask either the client or your Recruiter:

Person with question mark over head
  • What is the single largest problem the Manager (Leader/CEO/President) is facing and how would I be in a position to help?

  • What are the three most important skills required to succeed in this role?

  • How does the client prefer to communicate with contractors?

  • What is the invoicing and payment process?

Most people think a contract is a contract. But it’s not. It is a partnership between a company and a professional.  Everyone wants to land the contract for their own reasons (prestige, income, responsibilities, industry, etc.), and asking questions will help you determine if the role is a good match for you personally. This is especially important if it has potential to be a long-term contract.  In a situation where you are interviewing with more than one client, these answers will help you decide which client is the best fit.  If you don’t get answers that you like, it would be a professional mistake to move forward in the hiring process. However, if the answers to your questions are positive, they speak to you personally, and they line up with what you are looking for professionally, then go ahead and let yourself get excited!

What questions do you ask your clients and recruiters to get the best information? Do you have a standard set or do you build them based on the specific project?