May 16, 2007

A Question Question

Okay... you've probably seen that I fly out to Fresno next Thursday, a chance for the potential employer and myself to get to know each other. I know that I'm going to be interviewed, that's not a real problem.

Interviewing them... that's where I may have a bit of a predicament. I'm trying to come up with questions for them, and I haven't been having much luck.

Any suggestions?

Posted by That 1 Guy at May 16, 2007 10:22 AM | TrackBack

1) How do THEY see their market in the next 5 years? Trending up? Do they have any plans to expand their customer base beyond industries currently being serviced?

2) What is their managment style?

3) What are THEIR views on the position they are looking to fill? Is it a growth opportunity for the employee?

I got a whole shit load of these......

Posted by: Tammi at May 16, 2007 10:34 AM

Who does your hair?

Posted by: Erica at May 16, 2007 10:46 AM

The most important question:

What does a bottle of beer cost out here?

Posted by: Jerry at May 16, 2007 11:35 AM

Second most important question:

How far to the nearest Hooters?

Posted by: Raging Mom at May 16, 2007 12:02 PM

How will performance be evaluated? How often?

Posted by: rsm at May 16, 2007 12:08 PM

How can they help you keep your current skill set up-to-date? How can they help you learn some new things to expand your existing skill set?

Posted by: zonker at May 16, 2007 12:40 PM

I can tell you where the Hooters is. In the shopping center on N. Blackstone across from Riverpark. With the Lowes and the Sam's, behind Baja Fresh, and a couple of doors down from a Hookah Bar (yes, a hookah bar) and a GREAT Indian place.

What is the potential for advancement? What's the benefit package like? Do they offer relocation assistance? How often do employees get pay increases? What about bonuses?

Posted by: caltechgirl at May 16, 2007 01:27 PM

"How much ya gonna pay me?"

"If you guys are so hot to trot a company, why are you flying some guy from Illinois all the way here to interview you? Whats the employee turnover rate here?"

"How much ya gonna pay me?"

"Got a retirement plan?"

"How much ya gonna pay me?"

"Hey...are you gonna eat that?"

"How much ya gonna pay me?"

"What the hell is a fish taco?!"

"How much ya gonna pay me, again?"

Posted by: BloodSpite at May 16, 2007 02:50 PM

I have been collecting these through out the years and have gotten "great questions" from all my interviewers ...

What are the current challenges your company faces

Why did the last person leave

What would my primary challenges/responsibilites be

What is your managerial style

What unique challenges has this company faced over the lasy year

How are the goals of the organization communicated to everyone

Where does this position fit within the organizational chart

What does the growth potential for the plant /company look like

Who are your customers

What technical knowledge is required for the job

What is your ideal employee like

Tell me about the people I would be working with

Travel involved? How much? Where to?

What is a standard work week like?

Posted by: Quality Weenie at May 16, 2007 03:16 PM

Looks like the other commenters got you covered... and a few variations of some above:

How many people work in this office/department?
Is overtime expected?
How many people have held this position in the last two years?
When do you hope to have the position filled by?

What type of individuals are most successful with the company? How is that success measured?What is the top priority of the person who accepts this job?

Why did you come to work here? What keeps you here?

What was the background of the last two or three employees who held this position? Where are they now?

How is success measured and determined?

Good luck.

Posted by: vw bug at May 16, 2007 07:42 PM

Do I get business cards?
Tell me again exactly what I'll be doing and to whom?

Posted by: Jean at May 16, 2007 08:48 PM

It looks like everyone else already beat me to the punch.

To be honest I think some of the most important questions you have to ask is:

A)Opportunities for advancement. Is this a dead end job or are their positions you can promote into. If so, how many? If it is a matter of 30 employees a shift, one shift lead, one supervisor then manager. Yes, there are opportunities for advancement, but not much. Also if each person has been in that position for a long time, they may not be looking to move on, they are in their comfort zone.

2) What is the work environment. Is it more formal or relaxed. Do they allow some horseplay or do they have a no-tolerance policy toward on the job interaction. The stuff people could get away with at your previous Rockford employeer would never fly at my employeer.

D) What is the diversity of the companies employees. If they say mainly women, run for the hills. Trust me. No, this is not a joke.

4)Attendance policy, do they offer vacation/sick days. If so are they usable? What good is having 5 sick days a year if you'll get fired after using 2?

Z) Are they planning on opening an office in Illinois? Cause that's going to be one hell of a commute every day. :)

Posted by: Contagion at May 17, 2007 06:22 AM

"If they say mainly women, run for the hills. Trust me. No, this is not a joke"

Amen to that brother ... I hate working with women and will chose dirty old men to work with before working with women.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at May 17, 2007 07:34 AM

After reading all these great questions, I've been thinking about what I could contribute since yesterday.

There's 2 things I'd like to share with you that have served me well throughout my life while doing job searches.

1) Look at an interview not as a do or die situation where you must perform well in order to get a job. Look at every interview as a way to learn and practice. For example, I once had a period of unemployment where I sent out over 387 resumes over a 4 month period. That produced 57 interview appointments. The first few appointments, even though I had rehearsed with friends and acquaintences, were sucky. But I learned a lot from each one.

Learned new questions, new approaches to handle people and how to buy time while I mulled over questions, and learned the interview process was a 2 way street, like Tammi pointed out.

Want to know what happened by the end of that 4 month period. I got 5 good solid job offers at great places to work.

2) Just because you're offered a job doesn't mean you have to accept it right no the spot!
Why? Because oftentimes the devil is in the details. Meaning a job that sounded great in the interview, might turn out to be a bit different when ALL the details are revealed.

I usually thank them for the offer, tell them I'm excited about the prospect of working for them but also ask for all the details to be put in writing just to absolutely clear on salary, benefits, including the potential start date. That's usually where deals are made or broken with me. I then sit with all the info and my monthly budget and see what it will take for me to "move" or "change my work location".

Research, the important component, comes into play. Bring back newspapers after your interview!!! I read from crime, quality of life, to real estate ads in papers to figure out rent. Then read blogs of locals to see if that's the kinda life I want. Then I ask people what gas, rent, groceries, utilities go for, and then calculate taxes/my contribution portion (salary-wise and deductible/co-insurance-wise) towards health, car and home/apt. insurance. What I discovered from that is that what sounds great and livable in NYC doesn't exactly let me thrive or even survive in hong kong, london or california.

I've tried living in California. Worked there for 3 months and even started dating a great guy but I just hated the environment (liberal hippies called Moonshine, Biff and Chip that had the intelligence and the morals of baboons) and mentality that gov't is responsible and is supposed to take care of everything. That's why they have some of the highest tax rates in the country!

Finally, here's a great article that I read (as I'm also looking for work) and I'm sharing with you on a down to earth approach to job hunting and interviewing. Hope it helps. Good luck! and I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures in job hunting.

Oh, and between you & me, don't let Tammi talk you into a creating a spreadsheet ok. Reading about it on her blog just overwhelmed me!

Posted by: michele at May 17, 2007 10:17 AM

Sounds like everybody's got you covered - so I'll jsut wish you luck. :-)

Posted by: Richmond at May 17, 2007 11:21 AM

Michele? My spreadsheet ROCKS! And it's very user friendly. Well, if your an over-analytical anal retentive type person. But T1G could qualify for that, sorta. If you squint....


Posted by: Tammi at May 17, 2007 03:08 PM

Ask 'em if they've ever been in a Turkish prison.

Posted by: Cappy at May 17, 2007 05:57 PM

I think you should ask them if they fold or crumple.

Posted by: bou at May 17, 2007 09:00 PM

Do you have a daughter?

Posted by: Yabu at May 19, 2007 08:25 AM

Sounds like most of the ones I ask are covered, but rather than markets I tend to ask where they see the company in ten years, how they plan to get there, what part my position plays in it, who I report to, advancement, etc. If they don't know where they want to be in ten years, not too bad, but if they don't have a five year goal or worse yet don't even know where they want to be and what they want to be doing in two, run. Ask about management styles, as they are crucial. A great job I had was made miserable in some respects by one person in the chain who had a very, er, unique, viewpoint on the world...

Check out the location thoroughly, and a good way to do that is the free papers around town. They let you know what really is going on, how much it costs, etc. Also, do some very discrete inquiries on local Sullivan laws -- most of what you have is probably illegal to have, much less carry, in the People's Republic of Kalifornia. Don't limit it to Sullivan though, you won't believe the laws some places have on the books in regards knives, and what many employers will ban. England isn't the only place to make most pocket knives illegal... Check into the local determinations on self-defense as well, as simply fighting back can get you in trouble in more places than just England.

And, this being Kalifornia, find out exactly how much of your salary you will get after all the taxes are withheld. I love to visit the place, but have walked away from opportunities to work there based on cost-of-living, taxes, legal idiocies, and other quality of life issues.

So, I say all the best to you and let that which is right be.

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at May 20, 2007 06:43 AM

Having lived in California in recent years, I wouldn't relocate there for any job at any salary, even if the move was from just over the Nevada border.

Posted by: Seth at May 20, 2007 12:52 PM