Ask. Questions.

For some people, the interview is a fun, exciting event. Why? Because it is ALL ABOUT YOU. I used to laugh with my friends and imitate some candidates. “So, enough about ME … what do YOU think of me? hahahaha”.  Yes, this really happened and sadly it is the truth. Sometimes that interviewer will flat out tell you what they think of you. Most of the time if it is something negative they won’t say anything but just move onto the next candidate. Once I had a really really, “nice” sweet lady, who just didn’t have the eye for detail. She couldn’t figure out why she never got any interviews. I told her I didn’t have a position for her, but on page 2 she spelled her own name wrong and never caught it. It was in the header as a page number and somehow missed it, and every chance of getting hired. I told her to fix it and to be happy I told her. Some people would just let her keep making the mistake. IF that person feels you are that perfect person for that position, you might get that second interview immediately, and possibly the 3rd interview with an offer that day. Yes it does happen. You could get lucky and all three of those interviews, are with the same person. Yep, it is happening this weekend. People are networking, making new friends, and getting job offers.


One thing that I want to focus on – in your job search process, is it is imperative you ask questions with each person along the way. Do not ask the same questions, as many times those notes will all be kept together. If you don’t ask any questions, it will appear you aren’t really interested. There is NO way that the person you just talked with answered everything. Some “things” can only be answered by the hiring manager or the key decision maker. Things that can help YOU make an intelligent job choice decision are questions that prevent … negative future situations.  LIKE…why is the position open? Why did he/she quit/get fired? Oh, 4 people in a year? They all walked out. One left after lunch and never returned. Wow. That sounds like a lot of red flags to me. Probably a personality/management issue. Ask questions. How long is your training period? Who will you mentor? Even mid-level managers have to train/on-board before they are on their own. There are always computer/management information systems to learn, passwords, access rights, door keys, badges, that all need to be completed before you ever actually do any “work”. I have always found that asking questions about the corporate culture usually impresses the interviewer and also gives you a glimpse into the political red tape that might be hiding from you. As an HR person I like to throw out the “turnover rate” for employees, or rate of attrition. How many internal promotions versus external hires? What is the typical length of employment? Do employees stay a long time or do they quit after a year?


Finding a job in a company that employees LOVE is where you want to be. Why do they love it so much? Are they treated fairly and compensated well? If you are talking to HR sometimes you can get them to tell you “how far along they are in the process”, how many qualified applicants, and maybe who was in the position before you and the promotable qualities he/she has. What does the company do for team building events? Softball? Bowling league? Anything? Nothing? Oh, they have a food court inside their giant space dome headquarters with anything you want for free. <sighs> Think of all you would save in lunches. One of the exercises for my students was to complete 3 information interviews. Their goal was to find out if they would really like/love their new career. Guess what, if you go talk to an angry _____ (insert your title) you will find all kinds of reasons not to go into that field. Aw, how sweet, you want to be a nurse so you can work with babies. Do you like changing diapers? Bedpans? Cleaning up after snotty nosed kids? Awesome, you’ve found your home.


Ask people (in the interview) what they love most about their job, what they hate about their job, and what would they change if they had the power. This will give you an arsenal of information to help you decide if you want those same challenges. I loved the idea of traveling for trade shows. Until I found out I was getting no comp time, I had to work 18 hours days on the weekend and then show up to work Monday morning at 7 a.m. as if nothing unusual happened. Hmm, a 70 hour work week for the same pay as a 40 hour work week wasn’t so appetizing all of the sudden. Living out of a suitcase one weekend a month wasn’t a dream. You too, can prevent a bad hiring decision if you know in advance that the job expectations are not in line with your own. A happy work life balance needs to be taken into consideration if you want to make a career with that company.


As a job seeker you need to know your worth, what your minimum you can live on salary, and what is your dream job/salary.

Today is Memorial Day in the USA and we acknowledge those who died in military service for their country. I’ll be smoking those baby back ribs today. Mmmm. Ribs.