Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten Steps to Insure that the Job You Interview for is Right For You

Last week’s post was entitled, “Hot to make sure the person you hired was the person you interviewed.”  It was about hiring procedures.  I received an email in response which said: “Now you should write one from the candidates perceptive. We've all taken jobs we shouldn't have.)”.  So here it is.

If you are like most candidates, when you go for an interview, even one you are not sure about, you try to impress your interviewer.  Everyone wants to be liked.  But all too often, candidates forget to interview the interviewer.  When this happens the result is not enough information.  Here are a few simple rules to answer during the interview process. 

It is important to understand that the sole purpose of an interview is to gather information about a potential job or company. The purpose of the entire process is to determine if the job is appropriate. Before you say yes or not, you should always meet the most senior person possible.

Here are the things you need to find out and do.  Candidates should not skip these steps.

1)  Why is the Job Open
If this is a replacement, find out where the previous person is going and why.  If they were promoted and you will be reporting to them, make sure there is enough “space” between you and them.  If this is an expansion, determine what was done before, who did it and how it was done.

2)  What are the Job Responsibilities
Ask to see the written job specs.  Determine how much time will be spent on each of the things listed. 

3)  What are the Expectations
How will success be measured?  What problems need to be resolved both internally and with clients? How will you be evaluated? How long will you be given to achieve your goals?

4)  Will you be Given The Appropriate Tools to Achieve the Company’s Goals?
Responsibility is one thing.  But Authority is quite another.  Make sure that the company gives you the ability to achieve your goals.  If you are not given the authority to make and carry out tough decisions, it may be impossible to carry out your mission.

5)  What is the Management Style of your immediate Supervisor?
My observation is that the answer to this question is most critical.  More people leave jobs because they do not like or respect their boss than any other reason.  You must determine the pluses and minuses.  This question should be asked with everyone you interview, including the supervisor, who can be gently reminded of his or her responses once you have taken the job.

6)  Who Will You Be Working With?
I have written about this before.  You have every right to meet the people you will be working with, even subordinates.  They can give you great perspective on the job, your client and your boss.

7)  What is the History of the Position?
What has happened to the prior holders of this position? Have they been promoted?  Rotated?  How long did it take?

8)  What is the Client like?
Determining who the client is and whether the client will become a partner or not is really important.  I have heard too many cases of clients who only want to deal with a specific person and shut out all others.  If the client is abusive find out why.  You can ask to meet the client.
It is also critical to determine the health of the relationship.  If you don’t ask, you won’t necessarily find out.  If there is contemplation of budget cuts, you need to know.

9)  Make Sure You Like the People
Will you be comfortable traveling with them, eating with them, working late with them?  Do they like you?  Are you treated with respect during the interview process? Did they willingly give you all the time you needed during the interviewing and offer process?

10)  Ask the Same Questions of Everyone You Meet
Very important.  Listen carefully to the answers you get and don’t get.  Nuance may be critical.  If there are significant differences in the responses, determine where the truth lies.

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