I’m a huge fan of bnet.com. They have some marvelous content, and I read nearly every new post of theirs.
They’ve got a new post called “It’s a job interview, not a beauty pageant,” where they have some good advice on interviewing for a job. I recommend reading the full article, as well as the comments.
Here’s a snippet of some questions you should consider asking in an interview that I wholeheartedly agree with. They will not only give you vital information about the company, the job, and your would-be peers, but also help make you look like you know what you’re doing.
Is this a new or existing position?
If existing, why did the previous person leave? If the person was promoted, great. If the person was fired, why? If the person left for a new position, why?
If new, are the responsibilities new or being taken from other people?
How do the people whose responsibilities you will be taking over feel about this? Will you be walking into a tension-filled situation, or will people be thrilled? If the responsibilities are new, does the position have adequate support to be successful?
What is the hiring manager’s management style?
If you are an independent, “I’ll call you if I have a problem, otherwise leave me alone” worker, having a manager who likes giving out checklists and following up all the time would be painful. Does the manager give regular feedback? Are you okay with that? Are you okay with receiving no feedback?
What type of people tend to succeed in this company?
What type fail? If you are a status quo-loving person and the company is constantly reinventing itself, there will be trouble. On the other hand, if you are a new idea producer and they don’t like new, it won’t be a success.
If you will be supervising others, can you meet with these people before accepting an offer?
Your relationship with them will probably be more critical than the relationship with your direct manager or your peers. You will be working with an entire team, not just a direct manager. You need to know these people as well.
How often do “crises” arise?
What is the usual cause? Are crises due to lack of planning in other departments? Lack of resources? Whims of senior management? Clients? You need to know how things really function.