During a job interview, veterans should be focused, confident, and able to answer questions about their skills and experiences. But that is only part of the interview process. There is one aspect of interviewing which may be confusing to some veterans. A successful interview requires input from both parties- the interviewer and the job candidate.
Although many private firms, and federal and state government agencies, are actively seeking out veterans to hire, a percentage won’t be hired because they fail to ask the right questions during an interview. Asking the right questions can help the interviewer form an impression of the applicant that may, in many cases, be as important as the answers given about their skills.
Here are the top five questions job-seeking veterans needs to ask during a job interview:
What is the culture of this office or organization? Is it formal or more relaxed?
This question is important because most veterans, especially if they have never worked outside a military environment, may have the expectation of a more formal work environment. If a veteran wants to be hired, they need to understand exactly what type of setting they will be working in before they begin. This shows the interviewer that the veteran has a keen interest in trying to conform to the existing environment. It also demonstrates that they realize there is more to hiring than skills, and that they want to make sure the job is a good fit
What is the structure of the office/organization? May I see an organizational chart?
It is useful to understand where a job or role falls within an organization. Veterans are used to a chain of command, and most civilian/private sector jobs also have an office hierarchy. Asking where the position falls in the organization chart, and who the first line supervisor is, will make things much clearer for most veterans when they are considering taking a position. It is best to have clarity and transparency before making a decision.
What are the core office hours? Is there flexibility?
Service members generally do not work “9-5” schedules, and it can be helpful to know what expectations a hiring manager has for a daily time schedule. Some organizations may be flexible with office hours, but others will have more rigid hours of operation. It is important to clarify what those expectations will be in order to plan accordingly.
How do you see my military experience and skill sets fitting into this position/job?
While it is important for a veteran to assure their employer that they are making the transition from service member to civilian, there is value in emphasizing their background and how the positive lessons and discipline gained during their military service can benefit the organization.
Is there room for growth in this position?
This question will demonstrate that the veteran is interesting in staying with the organization and hopes to improve and grow in it. Additionally, this question shows the interviewer that the veteran applicant hopes to become a valued asset and a good investment for the company or agency.
If a veteran is able to demonstrate their enthusiasm and interest in the job to the interviewer, by asking and answering the right questions during the interview process, they have a far better chance of being hired by the firm or federal agency for the job they are seeking.