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5 Questions To Ask During An Interview

5 Questions To Ask During An Interview

As the 21st-century workforce continues to evolve, there will be significant changes to employee demographics, work types, work arrangements, expectations, measurements, benefits and much more, however, one must not forget that at the core of any career, business engagement or opportunity are people and relationships.

So, the ability to deal effectively and appropriately with people will remain in high demand. One of the critical attributes of these people includes their ability to have an engaging conversation, be empathetic, and ask appropriate questions. It is thereby interesting to note that those that ask questions attract more insight and stand a better chance during job interviews.

Job Interviews

Asking the right questions during a job interview is one way to show capability and aptitude. There is evidence that an engaging and prepared candidate leaves a great impression and stands a greater chance of a second interview or getting the job outright. The truth is that asking question extends the interview conversations and provides the recruiter or interviewer the opportunity to know your capabilities and context.

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While there are no ideal questions, there are certain questions that reveal one’s degree of preparedness and the truth about asking question is that it extends the interview process and provides the recruiter or interviewer the opportunity to know you as a candidate in a broader context. Listed below are 5 questions to ask during a job interview.

1. Most valuable resource

Start by asking, “What do you call your employees?”

This question goes to the core of identity within the organization, as it seeks to clarify the premium placed on employees. In some organizations, employees are referred to as associates, or co-owners, or servant leaders or volunteers or simply employees. Whatever employees are called isn’t necessarily the bigger issue, it is truly about understanding how leadership or management think about their most valuable resources – people.

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2. Organizational reward

During your interview, your focus should be on recognition rather than compensation. Be aware that until an offer has been made and you’ve accepted, everything you say and do is under evaluation. It is very crucial that you do not send the wrong vibe or leave a negative impression with your interviewer(s).

So to ensure there are no surprises, here’s a secret. Inquire about the organization’s outlook on great work. You need to eliminate the ambiguity, so ask what it means to have done an amazing work. Follow up with these clarifying questions:

What does great work look like? What happens to those who have done great work in the past? Then ask why the organization rewards good work. Before long you are discussing rewards, money and compensation. Now isn’t that what you wanted to find out? Exactly!

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3. Failure and learning opportunities

Failure is natural and a critical part of the learning process. The “fail forward” philosophy is only as valid as the opportunities available to fail and learn. In many instances, organizations simply pay lip service to failure and often avoid these uncomfortable discussions.

But the truly great organizations and leaders do not hide from failures. They actually internalize and appropriately extract learnings from failures. They inevitably fail forward.

So ask how and why people fail, follow it up with what does the organization do with failures? The answers provide insights into an organization’s risk appetite and approach. These are the amazing clues, that must not be ignored.

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4. Decision making and management

In some organizations, decisions are made promptly, in others haphazardly. It is important to understand the core from which decisions are made. Are organizational decisions made by a few, how and when are those decisions communicated to the others? The answers to this question reveal the dynamics of management as well as the salient attributes of leadership.

5. Leadership matters

There is a lot riding on and attributed to leaders. In particular, there is a direct correlation between leadership and individual success in organizations or corporations. So it is absolutely important to know the leadership style of your immediate boss as good as possible. The insights gleaned from this question are critical clues that must not be ignored.

Featured photo credit: Rajiv Patel via flickr.com

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Dr. Flo

Executive Director, Hybrid Leadership Institute

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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