Questions You Should Ask A Potential Employer


How do you know if a job will be a good fit for you?  Sometimes you just know, but other times it is difficult to be certain.  One method that will assist you in this process is to interview your potential managers at the same time that they are interviewing you.  Just as the potential employer is evaluating you, you should be evaluating them.  The following is a guide to help you develop questions that will illicit the information you need to make a good decision.

Ask questions like a trained interviewer would- One of the first things I learned as an interviewer was to ask applicants behaviorally based interview questions.  These are the type of questions that ask for an example of something that the candidate has done in the past.  Questions such as “Tell me about a time you handled a difficult customer” are typically known as behaviorally based questions.  The theory behind asking these questions is that past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.  If applicants handled a situation well in the past, they are likely to handle something similar just as well in the future.   The same theory holds true for your potential manager.  If a person has been a good manager in the past, it is likely you will be working for a good manager in the future.

Ask for examples- The key to developing behaviorally based interview questions is to ask your potential boss for examples.  If you wanted to get a sense of the management style of your potential employer consider asking “Tell me about the most successful project your team has completed and what your role was.”  To know more about the company culture you could ask “Tell me about an example of something that defines your corporate culture”.   If you desired to know more about what qualities your potential manager desired in an employee, you could ask “Tell me about the best employee you ever hired”.  You might phrase the question the opposite way such as “Tell me about the worst employee you ever hired”.

Prepare questions in advance-.  Think through what information you need to know in order to make a good decision about a potential opportunity.  Interviewers expect you to ask questions so it is a wonderful time to do your own evaluation process.  I encourage you to prepare your questions well before the interview so that you are comfortable asking them. Write the questions down and bring them with you to the interview because there is no shame in referring to your notes.

Listen and watch for cues- As you ask your questions, take note of how your potential manager answers them.  You will likely be able to sense good managers by the examples and stories they share and the manner they are expressed.  Less than perfect bosses will either have a hard time coming up with stories to share or may express themselves in a negative manner.

Preparing behaviorally based interview questions does take much more preparation time but the insights received will be worth the extra effort.  It is the very reason why trained interviewers use the technique.  I encourage you to prepare these types of questions for your next interview.  It will help you properly evaluate your potential opportunity.

Stacy Harshman, founder of Your Fulfilling Life, brings her experience as a recruiter for a Fortune 500 corporation to her work as a career coach. In addition to helping people discover their passions, she also provides clients with insight into the mind of a recruiter, unlocking the secrets of what employers look for in potential employees. Stacy offers individual and group coaching in person and by phone to those seeking positive change in their professional lives.

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Categories : Interviewing, Job Search

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