Sunday, 10 May 2015

Questions You Should Ask at Every Job Interview.

After every interview, the interviewer as a formality will ask you if you have some questions. Most people just keep mum or discuss their CTC again. Both the choice are wrong. This is the time to show you've done your homework. This isn't the time to explain why you deserve the 70% hike you asked for. This is the time to prove you are worthy of that hike. Here are some questions you should ask. Some of them are provocative. Some of them can backfire. Some of them will get your foot in the door. As the man I call my best friend says, 'Better to be memorable than bland.'

What's the best part about working here?

If I happen to land in a new restaurant by accident. Which means I haven't Zomato-ed it and just need a quick bite, I go for a sandwich. I mean, even the worst places can't ruin a sandwich. If I am willing to experiment, I just ask the waiter, what's the chef's specialty and then go with that. So, if you are going to ask for a job, would you not ask your future boss what the company is really good at?

What's the worst part about working here?

(Sub this too, tell me the things you want change here, the challenges you are facing and how I can in any way help you out.)

Either you or your best friend or your brother are going to have an arranged marriage. Never mind the bull stat I threw at you my fellow job-seeking Indian. If you are going to see someone, you'd be keen on learning about their dark side. Same goes for your next prospective job. Get a lay of the land. Understand the challenges. Volunteer to help out even before you are on board. Heck, if you  find the new job has the same set of problems as the old one, then what's the point?

Who will I be reporting to?

You could meet anyone from an Executive Director to the CEO. They can take a shine to you but that doesn't mean you will work with them directly. Ask about the reporting structure. Request a meeting with the line manager if possible. See if you have  matching wavelengths. See if their work or ideas appeal to you. See if they can teach you things. See if you should just politely excuse yourself and beeline for the exit.

What's the team structure like?

I know of a person who spent a weekend with her prospective roommates before leasing a flat with them. The least you can do is do is ask about your future team. Do some background on LinkedIn if you have to. Know if the office is understaffed or if the team is full of under-qualified yuppies. Remember you will spend more time with your teammates than with your family. So better be careful.

What's the culture like? How will you guys help me grow?

Want to learn how to code? Ask if they will show you how. Want to work from home? Ask if it's allowed. Want to know if they pay overtime or don't mind if you walk in later? ASK. In the words of the great Thomas Cromwell, 'Don't ask, don't get.' Remember your job is more than way to make money. So ask them about learning opportunities, fringe benefits and also if you want to acquire certain skills, ask if they have a robust training program in place.

Ask about growth.

Okay, this is a biggie. But if you are this Type-A, throw a number at me and I will meet it then, let it show. Ask them about appraisal cycles. A good number of places only offer you one after 1.5 years. Ask if you meet your KPIs, will you be entitled to a promotion and appraisal and/or both? This shows you have the single-minded dedication to meet your goals and who doesn't mind having one of those on their team. Also, it makes you look like less of jerk for asking that 70% hike.

Last thing, admire and smile.

If money is the only reason you came to the interview, then you are robbing yourself of opportunities in the long run. If you really admire the company or the person who's interviewing you, tell them so. Be honest. Don't flatter but tell them you look up to them. If you can't get the job, you will get a mentor. Last thing, if you are going to ask such touch as nails question, don't forget to smile. A LOT. No one wants to have a Frankenstein on their team. Unless of course you are making a team for an evil plot in a Scooby Doo episode.

Beast of a Job Interview, after Walter Crane

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