questions to ask at job interviews

Posted: August 27, 2013
By: Clay Cerny

I’ve been a Resume Writer for more than 10 years.  In that time, I’ve met very few clients who were offered and accepted a job without meeting their immediate supervisor.  However, in those rare cases when an applicant is hired in this manner, employment tends to be short term and ugly.

Most supervisors resent it when their boss makes a hiring decision without their input.  They see the new employee as an outsider, maybe even a threat.  In a recent case, one of my clients was written up two weeks after starting her job.  She asked her supervisor for help, but received no support.  A few weeks later, she tried to call her boss about a problem that needed immediate attention.  The call was never returned.  When she asked her boss about the situation, the answer was curt:  “You should have known what to do.”

Needless to say, my client did not last beyond a 90 day probation period.  What could she have done differently?  Ask to meet her supervisor before accepting the job.  As I said above, this situation is rare.  But you should be ready if you encounter it.  Always know who your supervisor will be.  If that person is not part of the interviewing process, ask to have an interview with the supervisor before accepting an offer.  If that request is denied, take it as a big red flag about the employer and how it operates.  Be very careful about choosing to work for this type of company.

Posted: February 28, 2013
By: Clay Cerny

Every career expert says it’s important to ask questions at interviews because it shows that you are interested in the job.  A client recently told me that his company never invited applicants to ask questions.  If an interviewee didn’t take the initiative to ask questions, that person was no longer considered as a potential employee.  That method is a little extreme.  At the same time, it shows the importance of asking questions and showing that you are interested.  My recommendation is not only that you ask questions, but ask them in a way that sells you as an employee, which I call closing.

At the end of an interview, it’s fine ask questions about working conditions and training.  I recommend that you end the interview in the same way a salesperson ends a meeting – by closing the deal.  To close an interview follow this process: 1.  briefly summarize what the employer is looking for, 2.  Show how you qualifications fit the employer’s needs, 3.  ask when a hiring decision will be made, 4.  ask: What is the most important thing you are looking for in hiring [position/title]?, 5. show how you can deliver what the employer is looking for.

Following this process will sell the employer on hiring you.  Rather than asking about what the employer can do for you, closing tells the employer what benefits you will bring to her company.  Those are the kind of questions that will lead to a job offer.