Asking well thought out questions during your interview tells the employer two things: a) that you’ve done your homework, and b) you are seriously evaluating this role as a place to hang your hat for the next three to five years.
#1 Can you tell me what it is that you like most about working here?
Here’s where you will get valuable information about what they value most and, if that person is who you’re going to be working for or with, you need to know that there is an alignment with your value system.
#2 How has the position evolved?
This will help you to determine if there is a future for you in this company? Some roles never do evolve. They just keep on keeping on and are usually best filled with people who are content not rocking the boat voicing an opinion or moving up in their careers.
#3 Can you tell me something about the qualities you look for in the A-level talent you hire?
A-level companies are looking for A-Players. They want people who have the pluck to ask questions that are important, and that demonstrate that you know how to get to the heart of the matter. If you’re not someone who has some of the personal attributes of their favorite players, then it’s probably not going to be a right fit for you. But the interview is not over yet. More is yet to be revealed.
#4 Were I to be chosen for this role can you give me some examples of how I would be collaborating with others to achieve objectives?
Now you’ll get into some of the nitty gritty of how things really get done. What you want to know is whether or not open communication is encouraged or just given ‘lip service’. How in fact do others collaborate? And what does that look like? Explore this further by asking for an example of how the team worked together to pull off a recent success story.
Getting clarity on this ensures that you too can have access to and build relationships with key stakeholders, and not be stuck in a place where ‘putting in time’ is the order of the day.
#5 What are the top 3 most urgent priorities for this role?
The number one rule in sales is this: No pain, no sale!
The degree to which they are going to need your skills and experience is in direct proportion to the amount of pain they are in. In other words, if there is no urgency around their hiring an A-Player, then there is likely not going to be much excitement in the aftermath of your getting an offer either.
Meaty challenges are what you want to look for when starting a new job. What better way to focus your attention and gain a quick and right first impression?
#6 Are they are any significant problems that need to be solved?
This will often uncover interpersonal conflicts or political deal-breakers, the things that can easily make doing your job nothing but grief and red tape. If they don’t talk openly about this, take heed. I would be very suspicious right about now.
#7 Who have your best hires been in the past year?
Find out why. Ask things like “What qualities do you feel contributed the most to their success here?”
Mission statements and guiding principals are often spouted about so much that nobody even hears them anymore. What someone does to gain credibility or advancement in an organization is where the proverbial rubber hits the road when it comes to finding out the real values at work here.
We all know in many companies that it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it or, more importantly, who you make look good while you’re doing it. If brown-nosing is not in your game plan, here is where you’ll probably find out if it’s time to close the deal or, as they say in the selling game, cut bait.
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Barbara Ashton is a leading social recruiter with well over 10,000 LinkedIn followers. She has been finding extraordinary talent for BC’s Employers of Choice since 1980.
Ashton & Associates Recruiting Inc. Placing Powerful People. Offices in Kamloops and Kelowna. Barbara Ashton is the President and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting.
Ashton & Associates Recruiting … Helping you hire right. Every time.
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About the Author
Barbara Ashton is the owner and founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting. She is an expert recruiter helping businesses to hire exceptional employees for over 25 years. Business owners and managers hire Ashton & Associates to recruit skilled employees who honor values and accountability, excel at winning new customers, and increase bottom line.
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