Many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Others have been motivated to quit their jobs because global lockdown has led them to focus on their side hustles. My conversations with several friends led me to believe that a lot of us seeking new jobs think we are at the mercy of the job interviewer. We hold back from asking questions for fear of not getting the job because we want to be amicable. This often leads us in positions which we hate, and have absolutely no clue what we are doing in those job positions.
I asked Ms. Hilda Kabushenga Kragha (if you do not know her, please look her up because she is PHENOMENAL) for some guidance on questions job seekers should ask in interviews. Ms. Hilda is the CEO at Jobberman, Nigeria’s number 1 recruitment platform. She is the new Managing Director of ROAM Africa jobs. Who better? Am I right OR Am I right?
She’s a busy lady my good people but she’s shared some questions for us to ask during job interviews. I hope you will put to use some of these questions when you next go to a job interview.
A lot of young people, especially in Africa today had no strong career services programs while at university so we do not realise that when a company is interviewing you, it is also an opportunity for you to interview them. Getting into a job without a clear understanding of the role you are expected to play or how/where you fit in the company can set your career back years. So do not be shy to do your due diligence. Here are 5 smart questions you can ask in an interview to both give yourself comfort that this is the right career move for you and leave your interviewers wowed because you are clearly a serious human being.
- How does this role contribute to the company achieving its strategy?: This is a brilliant question because it will help you establish whether you are in a central role or in a support role, whether you are client facing or internal and paint a picture for you on how you would use this role to build your own platform. E,g, if you have always been in internal facing roles, moving to a client facing one gives you the chance to test out what is known as “client hands” aka, can you successfully manage external stakeholders. Or if you have been client facing and are looking for a slower pace, maybe you want to make sure this is a support role and you won’t be jumping out of your frying pan into a hot fire
- What does the career map look like for this role? What have people who have done this role gone on to do?: Maybe you have an idea where you want to be in 5 years in which case this question is an easy way to let you know if you will still be on track if you take this role, or maybe you do not know where you want to be and this question will help you to reflect on whether or not this is the kind of trajectory you are looking for.
- What kind of technical skills/toolkit are essential for success in this role?: Believe it or not, companies have different expectations for what may appear to be a familiar title. E.g., head of admin in some companies includes HR, in others it does not. Digital marketing for some includes social media community management, in others it refers more to the google analytics side of things. Some companies use a very specific software for their IT and if you aren’t an expert you will fail (e.g., SAP V Oracle). Get clarity on the toolkit that is needed so that you know if you are a good fit, need to learn or you need to just respect yourself because you can’t manage what they are looking for
- What would you say are the three pillars of this company’s culture?: Every company has a different culture whether it has been deliberately defined or just wandered there. You want to be in a place that respects work life balance, that offers psychological safety and basically isn’t a toxic environment – asking about their culture is a good place to start.
- What has been your own experience at this company? Watch for how enthusiastically the person interviewing you answers. If they are not excited about their workplace, why should you be?
Bonus question: What actions did you take during the COVID-19 lockdown that affected your employees whether positively or negatively? Need I say more? Some companies threw their staff mercilessly under the bus during the toughest time in a century – you do not want to work for them. You are looking for a balance of empathy and business sense here e.g., we had to reduce pay, however we also sent basic food packages to all staff, or; Senior management got reduced pay while we let the junior members keep theirs.
This list is not exhaustive and notice I did not address pay, because why discuss pay when the fundamentals are missing? No need.
Check out Hilda on Instagram – @modernafricanmother for more business and life inspiration.