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Jennifer Oswald

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The founder of a recruiting and human-resources consulting firm We.Moxie shares what you should ask during a job interview. 

Story and photos by Sarah Holcomb

Jennifer Oswald has conducted more than a few job interviews—more than 20,000, in fact. After spending 15 years in top human-resources and recruitment positions, Oswald founded her own firm, We.Moxie, to match up companies with the right candidates. Looking beyond the resume, she and her team use research on what makes different people and personalities successful in specific positions to find engaged employees and decrease turnover. During a typical interview process, We.Moxie representatives scrutinize more than 100 people for one position.

Knowing what to ask an employer is essential to discovering whether an applicant is right for the job, Oswald says.

“It should be a mutual effort of trying to find out if the fit is there on both sides,” she says.

Here are Oswald’s best tips for what to ask during an interview.

Her List

1. How does this role contribute to the mission of the organization? “What you’re really trying to get to is the why: Why is the role important? If you personally can connect to the mission of the role and how you can contribute to it…you’re more likely to be happy and productive in that role.”

2. Tell me about the last person who left this organization and the exit strategy. “How the organization treats their employees upon leaving is really telling. It’s just as important as how they treat people coming in. There’s always instances where tough things happen…but it’s how they tell you that story.”

3. What are the goals for the first 90 days of employment, and who will benefit the most from my meeting—and hopefully exceeding—expectations? “How do you fit into the organization? How can you can be successful and know that you’re successful? There’s nothing worse than getting in a new role and thinking you’re doing a great job and finding out you’re not. Who’s going to be your cheerleader?”

4. Are there any concerns you have that I can clear up for you? “It gives you an opportunity to make sure you’ve answered their questions. A lot of times, companies will have concerns, but they won’t ask. … If you don’t ask that question, you might not ever know.”

5. Ask for the job if you want it. “A lot of people do a great job asking what the next step is, but they forget to ask for the job. [Try:] ‘I really want this job. What are your thoughts about me as a candidate?’ or ‘What are your thoughts about moving forward to the next step?’ It’s getting into almost a sales mentality. But if you practice anything, it can become comfortable.”

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