Check out our newest ezine issue. Written by Mike Ballard, it discusses three questions a candidate can ask while interviewing. Great questions for interviewers to consider as well.
Flip the Interview – 3 Powerful Questions to Evaluate Employers
by Mike Ballard
Many job seekers look at the interview as a test. If they answer the questions correctly, they’ll get the job. So it’s like school: we study and try to anticipate the questions and the right answers. If we get the highest score, we win. It’s all about how to give the right answers to present ourselves in a professional, effective way that tells the interviewer: this is the candidate that can do the job.
This assumption puts job seekers in an impossible position, and is ultimately an ineffective strategy.
What about your needs? What kind of environment or culture works best for you? How do you like to be managed, and what kind of supervisor do you respond best to? In these days of “doing more with less” are you filling 1 position, or 2, or 3? In short: how can job seekers effectively evaluate positions ahead of time, so you know what you’re getting into – and if it’s truly the job for you?
What is the history of the position?
It is critical to know: are you replacing someone? Were they successful in the position and got promoted, or were they unsuccessful and got fired? Or did the demands of the position drive them over the edge and running for the door? Has demand for this service increased, so that additional personnel are needed? What is driving the decision to hire for this position? Is it a brand new position? Or is this a high turnover position that many have tried and failed to stick it out?
This is a critical line of questioning. Knowing why the company is hiring can provide great insight into whether you will like the job or working for this company. If you are replacing someone, will they be there to train you? If not: why not? If so, will this person be a part of the interview process? It would be helpful to talk to someone who has successfully done the job you are expected to do, in order to find out what they did. If you are replacing someone who didn’t work out, why didn’t they work out? What happened or failed to happen?
This line of questioning can also be helpful when it comes to identifying holes in the job description. Often, job seekers help hiring managers define the position. By asking tough questions and clarifying the job description, you assist the decision maker(s) in achieving clarity about what and whom they want.
What is the key problem you are trying to solve?
Anyone reading my posts knows this is a constant theme of mine. Job creation is all about solving problems. Employers bring in new people and create new positions to solve problems. So it is imperative that job seekers clearly identify the key problem that needs be solved. Once you understand the problem to be solved, how confident are you that you can solve it? Your ability to convince decision makers that you are uniquely qualified to solve their problem will determine whether you get hired or not.
How would you describe your management style? (To the hiring manager)
This can be a very illuminating question. A hiring manager will respond to this question in a few different ways.
He or she may laugh it off and say: “my management style is: do what I say.” If this is the answer, it is a clear indication you don’t want to work for this person. For one thing, it means they haven’t thought about it, but more importantly the flippant response means they don’t respect the people that report to them.
Hopefully they have already put some thought into this question, and are able to give you a clear, concise answer on how they manage and what their expectations are from their direct reports. Or perhaps they haven’t thought about it, but they take a moment to talk about it with you. Either way, you have the opportunity to decide if what they say will work for you.
You are an expert in what you do. You solve problems, and you bring years of experience. Is this a company or a boss where you can grow and prosper, or a company that grinds people up and then spits them out? Do they respect, care for and nurture their employees; or are personnel just seen as expendable parts of a big machine? Will you be treated like a human being, or harassed, threatened, manipulated, and treated like a child with no brain or ability to make a meaningful contribution? Will you be acknowledged and rewarded for your hard work? In short: will you look forward to going to work every day, or dread it?
There are some great companies to work for out there; companies that see their personnel as human beings and treat them that way. There are companies that are like families and treat their people as such. As we all know, there are also companies that are not well run. They burn through people and throw them away when they are done, and their employees are miserable. Which environment would you prefer?
You deserve a great job with a great organization, but it is up to you to find those companies and do the due diligence to discover if they deserve you or not.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Ballard is a Career Coach with 8 years experience helping 1,400+ professional clients seeking jobs in business: Management, Sales, IT, & Healthcare, etc.