Good Interview Questions:
Impress the Hiring Manager!
Knowing good interview questions to ask can be a key differentiator between candidates. Savvy hiring
managers often distinguish between equally skilled candidates
based on the quality of the questions they ask during the interview.
There's nothing more disappointing than having an otherwise solid candidate tell
me that he/she has no questions regarding the company I'm working with or the position
we're trying to fill. Now, I know I'm good -- and I give my candidates a lot of information
about my client and the job -- but, if a candidate can't come up with at least a couple of
good interview questions, I know that they haven't done their homework.
TELL ME ABOUT DEPARTMENT'S ORGANIZATIONAL
STRUCTURE AND REPORTING STRUCTURE.
HOW STRONG IS THE GROUP?
You need to understand where the group you're
potentially joining fits, relative to other departments in
the organization. Does your boss report to the CEO
or Division President? Try to get a sense of the pecking
order and how things fit together. Find out who your
prospective boss' peers are. It's also good to get a sense
of how strong your group is. How are they perceived in
the organization? You'll sometimes be asked to join a
group that's not as strong as it might be. You're destined
to become the star player. Do you like that role?
Or would you prefer to join a high functioning team?
These are considerations for you to decide.
WHAT'S THE BACKGROUND OF THE HIRING
MANAGER? IF A RELATIVELY RECENT ADDITION -- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE COMPANY?
Find out what your prospective boss has done in his/her
career. Is this someone you can learn from? Is this someone
you can respect? Or, are you going to run circles around
the boss and become a threat?? If the hiring manager is
relatively new to the company, find out why he/she joined
the organization. What was it that they saw in the company
and/or opportunity that compelled them to make a move?
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES FOR THIS POSITION --
FIRST 6 MONTHS? 1 YEAR? BEYOND?
Similar to the goals question, yet different, this good interview question tries
to get a sense of the true priorities for the role in the short
term. If this list is a reiteration of the goals, you need to clarify
which goals are most critical to success. Make sure that
this dovetails nicely on how you will be measured.
If everything is a priority, what kind of culture does this
suggest? And, do you want to work in this kind of
WHAT IS THE FUTURE POTENTIAL FOR SOMEONE
IN THIS POSITION? WHAT'S THE CAREER PATH --
AND IN WHAT TIME FRAME?
Asking about career potential is fair in an interview situation.
I wouldn't ask this question out of the gate, but certainly on
a second round interview it is totally appropriate. If you're
coming on board as a Director, and you really
want to be a VP, take a look around. Is the hiring manager a
"lifer" at the company? Has he/she been in the VP role for
the past 5-10 years and not moving any time soon? That
should give you a clue that the current VP needs to retire
before you can move up into that spot. You might be able
to move laterally and then up; or into a VP role in another
part of the organization. You need to go in with your eyes
open and understand the real potential for advancement.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE KEY PEOPLE IN THE
ORGANIZATION WHO I'LL BE INTERACTING WITH
ON A DAILY BASIS?
Find out who your peers are going to be. And, it's a good
idea to see if you can meet some of these people along the
way, prior to accepting an offer. Peers sometimes paint a
very different picture from the hiring manager and the
VP HR. The same holds true for direct reports if you're
going into a management role. Is there someone on
staff who applied for your role who's been passed over?
This creates a management issue off the bat. While not
a reason to reject an offer, it's certainly something you
should be aware of.
Remember...good interview questions will show the hiring manager just how
interested you are in the opportunity. Chances are you'll be interviewing with a
number of people over more than one round of interviews. Ask some of these good interview questions and stand apart from your competition. Guaranteed!