You are preparing for an interview and expecting the questions you will be asked. What about the questions you GET to ask?
Andrew and Scott talk through some ideas about crafting good questions to ask hiring teams during your interviews to demonstrate your interest.
Don’t miss these Questions and some Answers:
- What are the best questions to ask?
- How do you know they are telling the truth?
- What do you REALLY want from the job/organization?
- How would you rate your company on saying what they are going to do and then doing it?
- What does work life balance look like to me?
- Is the question I’m asking about me? Hopefully not!
- How do you allocate weekend work?
- Is weekend work required here?
- What accommodations do you have for flexible scheduling as relates to equity/inclusion?
- Tell me about a time when somebody needed accommodation around their work schedule, how did you handle that?
- Talk to me about what diversity and inclusion looks like?
- Tell me about a time when you had a challenge around the value of speaking with candor, how did you work through that?
- How do respond to this negative feedback from Glassdoor.com?
- What are your corporate values that are used on a daily basis in your teams?
- How can I use networking to get answers to some of my questions?
- Why is this position open? Why did that person leave? What are you expecting the person you hire to do differently?
- What does the ideal candidate look like?
- How do people get promoted and developed inside the company?
- Tell me more about your career path in the company?
- Do your leaders go through 360 reviews and how is feedback implemented or not within the organization?
- How much time each week do you make available for employee development and training?
- How do you decide what investments to make in employee development?
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Raw and Unedited Transcript
059 The Best Questions To Ask At An Interview
00:00:10 – 00:10:28
Production is meant to provide you the listener meaningful support to find great careers faster that’s whether you’re working or not today on job seekers welcome to job seekers radio I’m Scott I’m Andrew is to provide so that you can start asking informed questions about how do they fit that bill for you because if the company can prepare for these it’s important to know what kind of information they’re looking for generally speaking that is unknown idea and we recommend that you do I first of all know what you want what are the things that you value as an employee if you’re interviewing or their supervisors have a list of things that are valuable to you that is dependent upon the the workplace about your experience what you bring to the table this point often their behavioral questions tell me about a time when and those are good asking those questions is GonNa differentiate you in in that hiring process as well as how you ask those questions precisely that’s what we’re going to focus on today they are going to ask you this conversation is about the questions that you should be preparing for them take some time do your homework because Wanna ask questions that get to the real the real life workday working in that company and so there are some things that that because often we have here people say general things like I appreciate work life balance or I want good leadership but we don’t know what questions to ask Oh right so now you have a question to ask your interviewer so for some how would you rate your company on whether or not there airing their own grievances it just doesn’t make any sense so no that they’re going to be you know talking very in glowing terms of the company that they’re working for you US and really I appreciate Scott whenever you do the five wise which is a very good exercise for this so I do this a lot with into interview for a position of leadership know what you’ve value in terms of company culture and how the employees relate to the any isn’t going to be aligned with your values if their values don’t align with yours you’re not gonna be happy there in the long run this is where it’s really important to document l. always put the positive spin no matter what you’re asking why because that’s their job is natural for them to do that sure and nobody’s going to get the top candidate if people say what they’re going to do and listen to the feedback that they get and see what see what they say right and when you ask the question don’t answer it for them just ask right to actually find out what is how do I know exactly because you have to assume that whoever you’re talking to is going to be putting their best foot forward that the number of hours in the standard workweek and the idea isn’t because they’re trying to find work life balance they recognize that Work Mike Coaching clients where they say you know I’m really want a a company that has great leadership okay well what what is it about the what is it about Schneider ship and why where they regulate employment practices where for example France recently just reduced the the I was just reading an article this week that that makes the point that is a very American idea in other countries especially in Europe yeah why do you want that why do it so when it gets down to a base term it’s like you know what I just like people to listen to me and do what they say they’re gonNA do will there we go a part of life they don’t separate the two so what is there to balance what they’re doing is saying you can’t take unfair advantage of your employees because they have to live the work life balance that means yeah that means different things to different people I I’m here to tell you it is a buzzword that we hear a lot now because there are resources out there to find what do these questions mean maybe we can do that in a later podcast but you can prepare for the and work necessary here or do you offer flexible schedules in terms of when you’re talking about the issues of diversity and inclusion because that’s breath we don’t do that in the United States I’m not saying it’s good better indifferent I’m not I’m not making a judgment call here is just that we have to be realistic about what it is that we’re talking about great they prepare for those that salele there probably isn’t any new interview questions out there well there are a few but there there most of them are focusing on the same thing so yes for you to ask that same question tell me about a time when somebody needed some accommodation around their work schedule how did you handle that often what ends up happening what kind of accommodations do you generally give versus those that are requested these are all things that there’s sound like I’m trying to game the system or I’m trying to to to find out only what’s in it for me because they’re looking at it what’s in it for the company or for Joel when you see if you value collaboration in these kinds of things you’re not the process driven person you’re the people driven person interviewer I was trained a long time ago on on those behavioral questions right so tell me about a time when it is totally okay and the fact that what the way we defined it may not be the same as the company you’re talking to that’s why it’s so important to document and identify what does that mean for you for be quiet for a second take silences your friend note but listen to what’s happening between the lines you mentioned Andrew or a people driven environment so here’s one question or one response that you can use to determine whether or not this would be a good fit for you and that that style preference there answer is going to tell you whether or not they are working in a process driven environment every other Saturday I hate it so if I can have both all my weekends off that’s great yeah but I’m not gonNA come in and say hey can I get my weekends off because that the process there’s a policy there they know they should know what those are so you can talk to them about what their policies are without making it some people that might be you know what I’d really like to have six months six months paternity leave after my child comes in November other people might be hey you know what the job on coming from I have to work how does the company work overall with a negative feedback on glassdoor dot com what are the values and how do I align all of a sudden you’re focused on the wrong thing focused on myself right fry even though we can turn that around and say maybe the question is how do you allocate weekend work or is it they are pushing growth pushing growth pushing pushing growth oh well they say they value people I yeah but in practice now you can get a better idea of what’s Agam seriously they don’t think they’re silly boy there are a lot of of rabbit holes in that field yeah I think about those who say oh yeah so how do they actually work with their employee engagement or internal satisfaction well many companies and I seen it firsthand this just comes from experience maybe you had some bad experiences in the past and you know what questions to ask that would identify whether or not that’s going to be a repeat what diversity inclusion looks like or talk to me about a time when you had a challenge with this value of speaking with candor and how you handled that values that won’t mean anything less what my values are that we can develop those questions and the other one that comes up a lot is I want a company that is hand where the company will do all their surveying through their HR software will the HR software is tied to your profile.
00:10:28 – 00:11:39
Yeah so it’s not true that often people will be using their work computer to provide this this kind of feedback because it’s an internal survey truly anonymous you do not have access to the information of who supplied the feedback then you’ve got a better idea that you’re getting true group themselves or their team there’s a dynamic that goes on there that’s for sure the idea is to take a look at any one of these components that are important to you we’re our people come first before financial growth in practice and this is where the networking really comes into play because that’s where you Moto Yup that’s where you find out driven survey function it is not anonymous and people are not giving unfettered feedback not doing it because they are not safe to do that’s a totally valid question and you’ll get an answer that that speaks to more than just this is our policy it’s well this is how we problem solved with that and the IP address is going to be basically associated with your company be aware that they will absolutely advertise their high scores.
00:08:20 – 00:16:51
I’m leaving and those questions will also provide an idea that you are thinking in positive terms not being negative Nellie right right that you’re you’re the anonymous I’m here to tell you that if if you’re talking to a company that uses an HR driven or an employee record you’re walking in with the positive attitude I think about those behavioral questions that where you’re validating what they say they value talk to me about Oh and see if you can reverse engineer a question yeah and that’s not a very straightforward simple process unless you’re really good at jeopardy but at the same time as waist that I appreciate and then I like and more of that I want more of that but I didn’t recognize that when I was at the job I was only recognized on the crap I didn’t like yeah yeah if you feel so strongly that you have to convince me that I can trust you the chances are pretty good I can’t trust you if you are truly involved so if they’re using and I’ll just use this as an example it is in no way an endorsement of the company but if you’re using a service like survey monkey which is oft in trust-worthy activity that reputation will precede you be very careful about the buzzwords that they give you oh honest feedback it goes to third-party sites correct there’s no names involve might be an IP address but they you know who’s going to seek out an IP address not only that the people I company or invest in their people who are or has high employee engagement all the silly buzzwords yet we there you in an interview and ask questions that get deeper a question just came to mind as you were speaking and that’s something that probably should be identified early on maybe even appropriate to ask did the person leave because there was a misalignment of either values or performance expectations and that assault perspective is the harder they lean on those scores the less likely it is to be accurate because if you tell me your funny you’re probably way you’re kind of putting them on the spot you’re likely to get an idea of whether or not this is a good during a screening interview if you have one is understand why does position is open excellent sometimes we try to answer that one for the interviewer as well but notable potentially right promotional position and I am looking for growth opportunities that’s a plus okay the person left bright the experience but you could also look at all the good experiences you have often that’s overlooked by a potential candidate right is that hey here’s a city okay so I would personally now mentioned earlier that I’m not always terribly assertive but this would be an opportunity for me to say if it isn’t in just like to say hey what causes this position to be open and that’s it I don’t say anything else because if I start saying Oh are you back filling this or are you doing that hey there are opportunities for advancement and you’ll need to dig a little deeper in terms of how people actually get promoted because I I know of several only bad about pushing for growth nothing nothing bad about that at all but you have to know whether or not you’re gonNA fit well where do they draw the line exactly that and everything else Persson engagement and employee satisfaction but you don’t know how accurate that is until you talk to the people on the inside and I would say my own having to play a game you don’t want to play and most importantly don’t feel you should as soon as you start shooting yourself or because right validating what matters is whether or not that’s the environment you WanNa play in and the trouble starts when you suddenly discover that in order to advance your funny it is funny that you say that but not in a humorous yeah it is peculiar if you have to tell me that you are trustworthy find out how do people get an get promoted within this company that’s going to shine a big light on something that can help you in your interview and align with their values which tells you that they’re getting promoted because they’re playing the political game well there’s nothing wrong with playing political games well information about what it’s like to to fill the position you’re applying for I will say if we’re talking about growth opportunities most companies will but he’s actually two that I’ve worked for personally where the people who were promoted they had done some good things they’d had certain results that was great sometimes leadership position and I had done my research on everyone who is going to be in the room to the point where and we had a lot in common you say okay that’s going to answer a lot of questions in my mind right Oh well we’ve the person was promoted okay will that gives me an indication that this is for thirteen years thirteen years same position yeah well what are the odds that I’m going to get promoted while that’s true if you’re looking to get promoted Dr for this individual on that you’ve made a good connection you can ask so why did the person leave or maybe given the experience with the the prior person this position let’s position that or even above that position right you remind me of kind of a funny story something that I ran into myself when I was interviewing several years ago for development really happening now if you happen to be really adept in those environments where they’re pushing growth and you can help them it’s perfect for you that’s right so there’s nothing beyond there’s nothing that says you can’t even bring a printout of that person’s linked in profile and maybe just ask them hey could you just give me an idea and usually top leadership is the least accountable in most will at least with large companies that may that may or may not be true with a mid sized company is it don’t don’t give them any any don’t give them any answer just again silence is your friend in that situation great point because once I have that and what would you be looking for a new person to do differently to what is the ideal candidate look sure to you that there are ways to get that kind of rector level that those higher generally can provide reasons why things don’t go well there’s an assumption that if you’re already for example vp that you know what you’re doing uh-huh and full disclosure.
00:16:51 – 00:21:21
I came in second for that job what ended up happening in the interview was I knew enough about everyone in the room with one exception that Russians the hardest question that I think you could ask is about accountability within the company because I will tell you most companies will say they hold everyone accountable and all bets are off with really small companies and startups because they have their their existence to manage but with large companies it’s been individuals really worked hard to bend their skills I can’t tell you how many companies internally complain about people getting promoted who don’t display the behaviors L. A. Culture is created in reality verses the culture they say they they build the other values remember the value position to work in Use Caution with that I’m not recommending that would be an any any conversation but if you feel like you have a good sense of trust they hire vp’s and vp roles right and if you’re not promoting into that VP role you’re coming in from the outside that accountability piece is really as a mission statement and vision statements are aspirational they’re not necessarily real life how they bring that to life is the culture that’s not why they didn’t hire me that the other person that that came in I actually had some experience that I didn’t have that they felt was an advantage good so I observe that it may not be across the board but in certain or many divisions that accountability really stops probably the it it’s not the way I want to go because right it’s that’s where things get a bit slippery yes so if you do the networking in advance to work life balance and positive workplace cultures and employee engagement and internal satisfaction and the more we talk about these worked out it worked out well it also worked out because he year and a half later they went under so the idea here those regards did they create so our senior leaders truly accountable for the creation of the culture they say now if they say outright we today I would just say be careful if you do that no it and know how to bring stuff up from your background so that you can can start to make those lead difficult to pinpoint so that’s going to be one of the why is it why is it important to you when it comes to accountability we’re really talking about culture how this is the situation try not to make bold statements but do make good questions yeah and the questions are what is going to save you any of these situation rituals being happy how do you measure that well if it’s hard to measure it’s hard to measure accountability and leaders once they get into the higher position lacking maybe that revolves around three sixty right if you have a three an anonymous three system that’s asking people how would you rate think they felt that I’ve been stocking and it’s like over like how did you know all this and of course I told them well I looked linked to and it was it was an easy emotional intelligence as a leader if they’re actually promoting that and living it you’re probably going to have a better idea of that accountability connections if you’re if you’ve done exhaustive research don’t don’t be the Stalker beautiful just we’ve had a good laugh about it and it didn’t preclude my because I’m almost intangible things and say almost because sometimes it can be tangible when we’re talking about these broad concepts about some indy are a money driven company we’re GonNa make money for our customers whatever that looks like in whatever form that takes they make clear chances are pretty good that the accountability of what your career path with the company is and you know how did you get to this position bride you just fill me in store and then you’ll hear all I’ve been in the same position part is really easy because you just follow the numbers yeah today’s World Employment World certainly within the United States we see more and more companies talking about whether they write them or that they forward them on Lincoln about mindfulness or being connected leader or someone you know having talk about three sixties that don’t actually do them and there are those from firsthand experience by the way that do them do but don’t do anything with that which is even worse do your leaders go through three sixty reviews and through what what is the process through which you you accomplish that and they’ve arrived train my people I don’t need it I don’t need training I’ve already arrived train my people that is an indication that accountability is probably at senior leaders in a company care about look at the assuming they don’t have a staff member doing this for them look at the the articles they post aren’t they provide skill soft or Lincoln learning right and they think that’s enough correct right but then they don’t give their people a structured time to actually for talented and development ad dot Org I believe is the we’ll put that in the show notes to to make sure that it’s and learn I spoke to a large bank based here in the Pacific northwest it is a large bank one of the the regional ones and and I asked her about how they approach employees learning and development and especially when it comes our those action items implemented tell tell me about your most recent implementation of three sixty route how did you ask questions did you did you do it in you could ask around that would be if you are the type that wants to work in a learning environment know what that definition is and you can go to the Association Act but it’s a TD is the acronym for the Association for Talent Development there is a definition of what a learning environment is and every year mislead through a third party.
00:21:21 – 00:23:29
What did that look like what did you do with the information you gathered here’s a whole series of questions about the count ability and there are a lot of companies that tree that for their learning expertise now that’s not a guarantee that every company on that list actually does it well but at least they’re making an attempt to provide learning two courses that build their skills but aren’t necessarily associated to their primary job and she said Oh we require that they do that on their own time they do they send out surveys and rank companies on being the top learning environments the top one hundred and twenty five companies