Tough Questions

Who’s Interviewing Who?

Approximately, 99.9% of the interviewers you meet during your job search will inevitably ask you, “What questions do you have for me?” Or some reasonable facsimile. They want to know what questions you have and you should have at least three questions.

Why should you ask questions you may ask? Because it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the organization you may potentially be working. What type of organization do you want to work? You should have an idea what that organization looks like, so when you see it you will know it.

My Recommendations on a Few Questions You Can Ask

1. Tell me about the organizational climate. What you are asking about is the environment of the organization. You want to know how employees are treated. Does this organization have a rewards and recognition program? How are employees assessed annually?

2. Ask the interviewer to define success. Define success for this person in the first 30, 60, or 90 days. You are asking them to share what they are looking for this person to accomplish in the first 30, 60, or 90 days. This is extremely important information for you. It will give you knowledge about projects, current or upcoming. It will give you knowledge about what the organization is looking for from this new employee. You then get to determine whether you can meet those expectations.

3. Here is a question for you to ask the hiring manager, potentially your new boss: Tell me a little bit about your leadership style? This question should help you assess whether you want to work for this person.

Here’s a quick story for you:

I was interviewing for a training manager position for a very large company in Cincinnati, OH approximately nine years ago. They flew me out for a day of interviews.

The interview began at 8:00 am with the hiring manager, potentially my new boss.

At about 8:45 am we were winding down and he asked if I had any questions for him. Keep in mind they flew me out the night before and I was scheduled to interview all day, including a lunch interview.

Again, at about 8:45 am, it was my turn and I asked the question: Tell me about your leadership style. The first thing out of his mouth, was “I am a micro manager.”

I was threw with the interview at that point. He didn’t know it, but I knew at 8:45 am that I would not be accepting any offer made by this organization.

Why? Because I will not work for a micro manager. I know my needs, and I know what type of people I work best and a micro manager is not even close.

You may work well with a micro manager and maybe you don’t need space to lead your team, but I know that I do and I was well able to make an informed decision about that organization and the manager that was considering me for the position.

I will add additional questions for you to ask during the interview at another time, but these three should give you a little more insight.