Interview Prep #2: Your Questions

When you are at a social gathering and you meet someone you’ve never met before, what are some of the indicators that they are interested in you as a person? They would probably make eye contact, maybe smile and nod when you speak, and more often than not, they would ask you questions about yourself. As I said in my last post, companies want to hire candidates that are interested in working for them….so here is interview prep tip #2:

Ask questions when you are given the opportunity

Usually there comes a time in an interview when the interviewer will ask you whether you have any questions you want to ask. This is not the time to become a shrinking violet. In my last post I recommended researching the company before you interview, here is another reason why research is a good idea: because it fuels the areas you can ask about and provides another opportunity to showcase your knowledge and intelligence.

As a food grad there are many areas that you could ask questions about, although it is a good idea to try to make your questions somewhat relevant to the role you are applying to. If you are going in to a lab environment, ask about something you have read about related to research or technology. Alternatively, if you have some knowledge about the general trends in the sector in which the company operates, then ask about this. Other aspects to consider are the following:

  • We all know food and drink is very closely regulated; have there been any recent changes in government legislation that might impact the market in which this organization operates? Has there been any legislative changes in the countries that it supplies to? Another topic at the moment might be food fraud; many people are writing and talking about it.
  • Ingredient Trends – if you are planning to go in to the corporate chef or ingredient creation side of the food sector, do you know what some of the hottest food trends are for this coming year? Why not ask about whether the organization you are interviewing with is going to be changing any of their recipes to accommodate these changes and what that means for their productions processes? From cactus water or powdered bugs, there is always something new.
  • Priorities in food manufacturing – according to a Food Processing Magazine survey, Food Safety is the #1 priority for North American manufacturers in 2016. Could you ask your interviewer what their major manufacturing priorities are? Whatever their answer you can drop in the fact that you read the Food Processing Magazine survey. It demonstrates your interest and commitment to the industry.

These are just a few examples but the list is endless and I’d be happy to brainstorm with anyone leaving a comment to come up with some good ideas to help them personally with their interview questions.

Prepare 3 or 4 and aim to ask 2 or 3 questions (prepare more so that you have a few to chose from depending on what you think are most appropriate) and always thank the interviewers for responding. If you are struggling to come up with questions about the company or sector, there are others you could ask that are more general but still would create some interesting dialog and peg you as an exceptional candidate. These include:

  • If I was the successful candidate, what would be my priorities in the first 30 days of my employment?
  • If you could identify one thing that would make someone the most successful candidate in this position, what would it be? (this gives you an opportunity to follow up with all the ways that you have the one thing the interviewer identified)
  • (If you are interviewing with your future supervisor) How would you describe your management style and what is the best way you like your employees to communicate with you?

I hope this helps – leave comments if you have any good ideas to share, or want some help with your own interview questions.