The Challenge of Job Interview: Interviewing the Interviewer

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb

Regardless of how much I think I qualify for the job, I always get super nervous in job interviews.  Unfortunately, it makes me forget that the job interview is not only an opportunity for the hiring manager to torture me, but also an opportunity for me to interview the hiring manager.

As a bonus, asking the right questions may help you appear intelligent and engaged.  To be honest, I am not afraid to appear unintelligent, but I am very much interested in finding out how the job will help me grow and develop professionally and personally.  I want to make sure that I am happy to get up in the morning and that I am having fun all day long.  Just like the interviewer is looking to see if what I am selling will create value for him, I want to make sure his offer brings the value I am looking for.

If you do not ask questions in the interview, how else will you establish the potential of the position or find out if you will get along with the manager?  To avoid this faux pa in the future I have started collecting questions that I can ask in my next job interview.

About the position:

  • What is the biggest challenge of the job?
  • Are there any personality traits that are required to succeed at this?
  • What is fun about this job?
  • What are the major responsibilities of the job?  How is the time divided between them?
  • Do you work mostly independently or as a team?
  • What is considered to be a success in this position?  How do you measure success?
  • What kind of exposure does the position get to the upper management?
  • Why is this position open?
  • Is there a time in job requirement?
  • Do you have any reservations about my qualifications, aptitude, or attitude?

About the hiring manager:

  • What kind of boss are you?
  • What kind of leader are you?
  • What kind of people do you work best with?
  • What do you like best about your job?  What do you like least?
  • What is the greatest challenge for your team right now? Will I be in the position to help you solve it immediately after I am hired?
  • Who is your role model and why?

About the organization:

  • What is the career path in this Business Unit?
  • How large of an organizational impact will this career path will allow me to ultimately make?
  • What is the relationship of Personal Lines Finance to Corporate Finance? What is the fit and the interruption?
  • Has our pricing model changed since the re-focus of our corporate strategy toward the Confident Planner market segment?
  • Is there a difference in a way CATs and “kittens” are handled in our current pricing model?

About the hiring process:

  • What is the next step?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?
  • When do you expect to make the final decision?

That said, it is also important to remember that there are some questions that should not be asked and certain things that should not be brought up in a job interview.  Good luck!

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