After fixing your resume and rewriting your cover letter to be absolutely perfect for all of those jobs that you’ve found to be acceptable to apply for, and are actually real, you finally get called in for an interview! Woohoo! It’s both exciting and irritating when your caller ID displays a number you’ve never seen before. I know that I always tentatively answer when it’s a number I don’t know because I’ve gotten some crazy calls before from people who seriously had the wrong number. So when it’s actually someone calling for an interview, I’m always elated, and practically jump up and down after I hang up. Even when it’s a job I’m not really all that excited for, because a job is a job, and practically any job would make me happy at this point.
I think the thing that makes me the most nervous about interviews is knowing that the interviewer is going to ask me to ask them questions. Before the interview, I always do some research, figure out what the company does, what my role would be, etc. I try to put together a list of a few questions, but it seems like once it’s time to ask, I forget them! I wanted to do a little research today to figure out what it is exactly that employers/interviewers are looking for you to ask them, and if it actually is appropriate for the interviewee to take notes.
The first site that came up for my search was Virginia Tech’s. Some of the things are kind of obvious, but they also write that you might not look very bright if you don’t have any questions (yikes!). You should let the interviewer know that you have done some research by asking some questions that begin with something along the lines of, “I read on the company website that…” And you should know what to call the company, because maybe they’re actually referred to as an organization, school, business, agency, etc. Of course, you’re never supposed to ask about salary/benefits unless they bring it up first. That website, along with Career Builder, both give suggestions for other possible questions to ask.
In my opinion, I think that some of them are kind of inappropriate for the interviewee to be asking, but I guess what do I know. When it comes down it, I guess ask questions that you feel are appropriate and are really interested in learning more about.
Oh, and taking a pen and paper, totally fine, as long as you don’t have your face glued to it.