Don’t Take the Job Until You Get These Questions Answered
The military taught you to be as prepared as possible. The same rule applies to a job interview. Don’t go in blind. Knowing as much as you can about what you’ll be getting into before you join the team could save you time, money, and heartache. After all, just as much as they’re interviewing you, it’s your chance to evaluate them and get a feel for whether the job and company are a good fit for you. Remember, this should be a two-way conversation. Listening is important, but so is learning about the opportunity and being curious.
The Real Culture:
Yes, you will probably hear some corporate speak about being dedicated to success, etc., but what’s it really like on a day to day basis? Watch how team members interact with each other. Find out if employees eat at their desks or go to lunch together. Do employees ever gather after work? This can tell you about the stress level of employees, as well as their camaraderie.
Why Is This Position Open?
Is it due to a vacancy or an expansion? Has there been a lot of turnover? These are fair questions to ask. Wouldn’t you want to know if there have been five marketing directors in five years? Observe the body language of your interviewer - if they are uncomfortable there could be more to the story.
Has there been a lot of turnover in this department?
This is another fair question, but you must attack it carefully. The fact that you’re asking it at all shows that you are thorough and that you look at many aspects of a situation before arriving at a decision. If the department is like a revolving door, what does that tell you? Although some industries are more transitory than others, it can also indicate that people are unhappy. This could be because of a stressful environment, lack of recognition and support, few opportunities to learn and advance and weak management, all factors that should weigh heavily in your decision of where to work.
Let’s say there has been some turnover. A professional way to follow up is to ask if a strategy has been put in place to help resolve the issue.
What's Kept You Here?
What drives the people to work and stay this company? Sometimes that information is far more important than the core values you’ve probably been told about or the information posted on the company website. This allows your interviewer to get personal about his/her own experience, and why they aren’t looking elsewhere.
What’s the Financial Health of the Company?
Another uncomfortable, yet absolutely necessary question. No, you shouldn’t ask for a P&L statement, and yes, you should Google what you can ahead of time. But inquiring about the overall financial picture as you get closer to landing an offer will help you determine if the company is about to fold or is on solid footing, especially if it’s a smaller company. And that’s vital information to have before you join any team.
Do You Have Any Reservations About Hiring Me?
This can be a terrifying question to ask. What if they say “yes”? Well, then at least you’ll have an opportunity to dispel any doubts. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never have that chance and the decision will be made without your clarifications.
By Chris Newsome