Job Candidates Need to Ask Good Questions Too – Ask HR Bartender

by Sharlyn Lauby on July 5, 2012

There’s always lots of conversation about the need for hiring managers to ask good questions. But that advice is just as important for job candidates too. Here’s a reader question that really brings the point home:

Hi Sharlyn. Can you recommend any reading about surviving a toxic manager? I was just let go from a position that I held temporarily for 7 months.

The real reason? My boss’ drinking buddies (literally) didn’t like me – she used a circle of them as spies and enforcers. My evaluations were all satisfactory but laced with snarky and false comments.

I will be OK. Mostly, I just don’t want this to happen again. Can you assist?

Just because you’re interviewing for a job doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. And not only the superficial ones about the mission statement of the organization. It’s equally important for candidates to feel at ease with the work environment. Here are a few suggestions to help candidates during the interview process:

  1. Check out and see what others are saying about the company.
  2. Develop one question that you can ask each person you interview with. Something like, “Name one word to describe the company culture.” Listen carefully to how each person responds. Then put the answers together and (trust me) it will paint a picture.
  3. Ben Eubanks, author of the blog Upstart HR, wrote a great post titled “14 Ways to Research as a Job Candidate”. I really liked his question on what types of behaviors are rewarded. Check out his post.

Lastly, make sure you’re comfortable with the interview that happens with your potential manager. I know candidates want the job. But I can’t tell you how many times an employee has come to HR and admitted that they wanted the job so badly, they ignored all the red flags the manager was sending. And I don’t mean red flags as in “something is wrong”. Red flags as in the employee and manager were destined to never get along.

interview, corporate culture, job, job interview, manager, employee, hr, job candidates

Interviewing is a two-way street. Neither the company nor the candidate will know everything about each other. But develop a strategy to learn as much as possible and make sure that you can honestly live with what you know. Otherwise, someone is going to end up being miserable.

What other interview questions or tips would you suggest for this reader? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

Image courtesy of Deirdre Honner

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