You need to remember that as much as the Company is interviewing you, you are also interviewing the Company. In a previous blog post titled "Ask your questions" i shared the importance of asking the interviewer questions as well as examples of interview questions you can ask at your next interview.
While your questions will largely depend on the company and specific job responsibilities, there's one that many candidates fail ask: - "Why is the position vacant?"
The answer will give you important insights into the role and should you receive an offer, it will help you make a decision on whether to accept the offer.
Here are a few reasons why a position has become vacant and what you should consider-
Its a brand new position
This will signal that the job is new, there may still be uncertainty and the role still needs to be trialed. There is also no previous performance history to refer to. It may become complicated when a new role is created but the job description is different from what the senior management expects from the role.
If you find this to be the case, make sure that you get clear expectations up front from the line manager. It's risky to step into a role without clear knowledge about why the position was created, what you need to accomplish, and how success will be measured.
2. You could be replacing a high performer
This means that the performance bar has been set high. You need to ask yourself if you are able to match that expectation. Do you want a challenging role that will expand your skills and experience? Does the idea of filling big shoes excite you? If not, then you may need to reconsider whether the job is right for you.
A good place to start is to identify what made the previous employee so valuable and what you can do to raise the bar. Don't be afraid to interview the outgoing employee and hear from the horses mouth so to say.
3. You could be replacing an underperformer
It could be that the previous employee was either not a good fit, had no clue what was expected of them or they got fired for misconduct. Either way, you need to establish the reasons why!
Maybe the position is extremely demanding and requires someone with more experience.
Maybe they were too experienced, and you might find yourself in a similar position based on your skills.
Maybe it wasn't their fault that they failed to impress (e.g., the company or boss wasn't a good fit, they decided to go a different direction in their career).
Maybe they were simply not engaged enough.
The goal is to know why they didn't do well, and how you can do better — or whether you want to work at the company at all.
Once you establish the reasons why the position is vacant, you can use the information to decide whether you want to accept the offer and if the company and the role is a good fit for you.
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