So do you have any questions for me? We hear that in interviews where we’re the candidates, and you probably say it yourself in most – if not all – of the interviews you conduct. I used that time to try and show off my dexterity, i.e., thinking on my feet (or sitting down as the case may be), and incorporating something we just talked about. Or to try and demonstrate my knowledge of the company, or its customers, and so on. I was often more interested in this part than I was in the actual answer to the question. But do candidates ever ask you truly imaginative and insightful questions?
This post was inspired by something I just read in Inc. about the questions potential new hires ask. The piece operates from the premise that most of those questions are throwaways, but some might be really good. You can read the entire piece for yourself here.
The author, Jeff Haden, says there are five questions great candidates ask. Only five? Five is a popular number in the blogosphere obviously.
Anyway, here are the five:
1) What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 – 90 days?
2) What are the common attributes of your top performers?
3) What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
4) What do your employees do in their spare time?
5) How do you plan to deal with ______ (fill in the blank with something topical)?
Haden says, “A great candidate doesn’t just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do–and how they will fit into those plans.”
I agree. And so does Bob Norton, founder/principal at Franklin Key Associates, an information systems search and placement firm. He says in this piece called Writing Code For A Successful Search that those are not only the types of questions candidates should be asking, but also the kind of things the hiring company should have already answered internally, beginning with the job description.
“Because out of that will come the interview questions and it will define the deliverables as well as the business problem they are trying to solve. It will determine the skills the new hire will have to have on their first day, and which ones can be learned later. And it’s not just putting together a list of skill sets and a job description for a candidate. You should also be figuring out why you are hiring this person. And how, say after four months on the job, are you going to measure their performance? What are the deliverables? The metrics? What is increased, decreased, added, subtracted? And then I am going to ask again at the eight month mark because that is a different agenda.”
Now we’d like to hear from you. What are the great questions you have heard from candidates in a job interview? Something such as “what advice would you give the person taking this position?” Or something bolder?
Do tell. And also share what influence that question, or questions, had on your ultimate hiring decision.