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Hello Michael, hello Mark,

in your "accomplishments" cast you mentioned that one future podcast would deal with how to ask the "right" questions as an interviewee during a job interview. As I do have an interview in the near future, I would be glad if you could offer some advice in advance.

Of course, I would also appreciate the experiences of the community: what kind of questions worked, which questions did not work so well?

Thank you in advance,

Oliver

bflynn's picture

[quote="GreedyFly"]Hello Michael, hello Mark,

in your "accomplishments" cast you mentioned that one future podcast would deal with how to ask the "right" questions as an interviewee during a job interview. As I do have an interview in the near future, I would be glad if you could offer some advice in advance.

Of course, I would also appreciate the experiences of the community: what kind of questions worked, which questions did not work so well?

Thank you in advance,

Oliver[/quote]

I'm interested to hear what Mike and Mark have to contribute to this, but here's the questions that I use. Understand that I'm looking for information about how the job fits me, not how I fit the job.

1) What are your company's core values?
I want to know what the company values. The only bad answer is that they don't know. Knowing the values helps set expectations, which helps in evaluating the offer. If I feel that the offer is a little low, but I strongly agree with the corporate values, then I might accept anyway. The less I agree with the core values, the more you'd have to pay me to accept AND the less likely I am to stay long term. There are also certain core values that I just don't agree with and I would never accept a position at a company with those values.

In the past, I used this question, but I quit because I don't like this question as much
2) What decision criteria do you use for hiring?
Again, I want to know what the company values, but I think this question can come across as a little selfish and therefore negative (It sounds like "How likely am I to be hired?"). Same reasoning as before.

3) What criteria constitute "success" in this job?
This is evaluating fit within the job. If the criteria that make the job work don't play to my strengths and interests, than I would be setting myself up for failure by accepting the job.

4) Why do people leave this job?
You might have to qualify this. For example, in a travel/consulting job, the #1 reason for leaving is work/life balance. You already know that, so modify the question to say "Other than X, why do...". Again, I'm looking for how I fit within the job. Its real good if the answer is "they all get promoted." Its real bad if they say "they all get frustrated at the working conditions." I always take these answers with a grain of salt because I expect some interviews to try to sugar coat this. Consider what it means if you detect that they're sugar coating.

5) What is the next step in your interview process? You only ask if it hasn't been covered yet, but you want to know this so you know when to quit hoping. It also shows that you're interested in moving forward.

A few suggestions - hope they help you out.

Brian

noahcampbell's picture

Off the top of my head:

I would ask how your new manager and/or teammates provide feedback? How is coaching used in the team? How is time managed. What's the ratio between meetings and getting work done? Is process helping or hindering the performance. How many repeat crisises are there? What does being effective mean to the individual and the company...how is that achived by the individual or the company?

Take some time to imagine an environment that follows MT and ask questions that would check to see if they've incorporated any of the great recommendations (either directly or indirectly).

Remember, you are not looking for an ideal work environment. Your looking for an environment where you'll be successful and effective.

GreedyFly's picture

Brian, Noah, many thanks for your thoughts.

I was interviewed last monday and got the impression, that I performed well. I found the presentation/video Mark gave at Kellog School of Management [url]http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/student/club/va/Horstman.htm[/url] and prepared the "Tell me about yourself" and "Significant Accomplishments" parts. When it came to my questions, I asked how the job would be integrated into the organisational structure, as it is a newly built position. I also asked about the amount of acquiring new customers compared to managing existing tasks/projects.

At the end of the interview I took my heart and CLOSED ... It was an amazing experience! I think that it really had an impact and strengthened my willingness to get an offer.

The executive recruiter who attended the interview told me the next day, that I left a good impression and match the job profile -- But as Mark says: Until you got something you got NOTHING! After sending my thank-you letters, I am now waiting for the response. Being the optimist I am, I started listening to the "How to resign" podcasts - you never know ;-).

Again many thanks to the community, I´ll keep you updated ...

To Mark, Michael: I really appreciate your work. During the last 1 1/2 year you helped a lot in developing my managing skills and attitude towards being a professional. I highly recommend your site any time when it comes to management and personal development issues. Keep up the good work!

Mark's picture

GF (sorry, but can't bring myself to address you with that avatar! :-) )

Glad we're helping. Really glad you saw the vid from Kellogg. Lots of folks write me about it, and the Kellogg loves the traffic it drives to the site.

For now, let me just say that most of what you might have heard about questions during the interview isn't terribly helpful. (Sorry folks!)

We're trying to balance our interest in gaining some revenue out of this set of casts with the number of requests we get for interview help... we're working on it.

Mark

jdg's picture

A hiring manager friend of mine gave me a tip that I thought was really good.

He said to use "we" instead of "you" when referring to the company in the interview. He said this showed that the interviewee was already picturing themselves in the situation. If the interviewer felt that this was a good possibility the interviewee could get good feedback to how they were doing by what the manager uses for those terms.

What do you guys think of this? Would you agree or disagree?

Josh

bflynn's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]For now, let me just say that most of what you might have heard about questions during the interview isn't terribly helpful. (Sorry folks!)[/quote]

We get to do this...10, 15 times in our lives? My expectation is that I'm not very good at interviewing. Hopefully we can muddle through until the topic comes up/premium content goes live.

Brian

Mark's picture

Folks-

Sorry, but no using "we" when talking about the company. WOW, would that irritate a lot of recruiters I know.

Mark

jdg's picture

Guess that was some bad advice.