Many of us come to job interviews, hat in hand, hoping to please our perspective employer so they will hire us. Increasingly, however job candidates are waking up to the idea that the employer has a need as well and that the job interview should be more about finding compatibility between the two parties than about one coming to beg the other for a job. Confident, talented job seekers know that they are in demand and should not be afraid of asking the employer tough questions along the same lines as they are being asked. They also know the regular interview process may not provide them with the opportunity to get their true talents and abilities across. In order to ensure you are able to voice your talents and find out whether you really want to work for this organization, you must have a plan and take over the interview. This requires some tact and preparation however, so that you come across as confident and sure of your abilities but not conceited or arrogant. There is a risk that despite how well you do this, you may be seen as a threat to the organization. In this case you need to ask yourself if you really want to work for an organization that would see your abilities and talents as a threat. Your questions will flow more smoothly and seem less intimidating to interviewers if you can seamlessly slip them into the interview right after you have been asked similar types of questions.

Here are some ideas for taking charge of the interview:

Do Your Research Prior to the Interview

Find out as much as you can about the organization before the interview. Organizations like Glassdoor are great sources of information. See if you can find opportunities to speak to former and current employees. The employer will be impressed that you have taken the time to find out about them and you will feel more confident in the interview. It may also bring up areas of concern that you may want to ask the interviewer(s) about.

7 Ways to Anticipate Questions and Look for Opportunities to Bring up Your Questions

Don’t wait until the end of the interview to ask your questions as by then you will have lost charge and your questions may come across as clumsy or threatening. Look for opportunities that you can slip your questions smoothly into the flow of the interview. Here are some questions that you may be asked that will provide you with an opportunity to come back with a question of your own without seeming to be too forthright and threatening.

• When asked about why you left a previous job would be a great time to ask about why the previous person in the position being hired for left.

• If you are asked about what your past employer would say about you would give you an opening to ask what previous employees would say about their organization. You could also expand this to ask about the turnover rate in the position you applied for and even overall turnover in the organization. It may not be possible for you to speak to the person who was last in the position but you could ask.

• Being asked about your weaknesses would be a good segue for a question you may have about some negative aspects of the organization you may have uncovered. It would also be an excellent opportunity to find out what the greatest pain is that the organization is suffering. From your research you may have already uncovered this but it is better if they tell you directly. This could provide a great opportunity for you to let them know how you can help them with the problem that keeps them up at night.

• When asked about what you consider to be your greatest strength gives you an opportunity to delve into their values, employee engagement, and advancement opportunities.

• If asked about how quickly you learn you could jump on the chance to ask them about their training program and what learning and growth opportunities the organization provides its employees

• If asked about the type of person you least like to work with, you could segue the question into asking them about their staff development opportunities and to what degree they work with their staff to develop their potential

• Any questions regarding your hobbies, values, or what you do in your spare time could be used to ask them about their community involvement and their commitment to providing their staff with work/life balance. As well you could probe further to find out how often staff are expected to work overtime, travel out of town and spend time away from their families, if this is an issue for you.