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Questioning the Interviewer Expand / Collapse
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2012 4:39 AM



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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Questioning the Interviewer

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Post #1372493
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2012 11:49 PM

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Interviews are a tricky business and as per success leaders they want to scrutinize each and every hire, even after the candidate has passed through of all conventional barriers!

I think many organization lose of many real candidates because the first interview panel was not trained much or selected optimally by the respective hirer.

I shall strongly request to introduce a system in which the interviewee to provide feedback about the interviewer, where ever its not practiced. Even some regulation should be there, to mitigate the wastage of resources of both parties.

Thank you!
Post #1372562
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 3:26 AM

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In my opinion, the name says it all. It's an interview, with inter- coming from the Latin and meaning "between". That means it's a two way process. You're interviewing the company every bit as much as they are interviewing you.

Fairly obviously, though, even if you're well prepared you only have a fairly basic understanding about what the interviewers are looking for, so they are just as likely to see searching questions as a positive sign (i.e. this person does his/her homework before making a decision) as a negative one (i.e. this person seems to be placing lots of conditions on accepting this job). All you know for definite is that they're trying to get an accurate picture of who you are and what you're like, so why not let them see that?

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Post #1372621
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 4:21 AM
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I've had lots of experience at jobs that I end up hating after 6 months, so I drew up a list of questions that I use to weed the jobs that won't fit who I am. I ask questions about the management style, and I give a basic scenario of a common problem (I.e. worker is struggling to get project done, what do you as the manager do?). I'm looking for micro managers and trying to weed those out.

I've always had an interview that included at least one future co-worker, so I ask them to describe a regular day in their work life. The problem with this one is that they gloss over the bad, so I have to read between the lines.

I also ask about the technology used. Is it current? From past experiences, I'm not too gung-ho about accepting positions where for profits use open source. Especially well established, bringing in millions of dollars, companies. It usually signifies a lack of support for the IT department, and a general attitude of IT being non-essential.

Another question I ask is about current changes to leadership, or shifts in the organization. Sometimes change is good, but if the answers are filled with "I don't know who is our boss, or who the higher up's are", then I'm leery about working there. It's not an interview killer, but maybe if other answers were odd. I've had a few instances of being hired, only to find out that my laid back boss was laid off and Mr. Micromanager took his place.

Most important to me is back up policies, source control policies, or anything put in place already to protect data or source code. If they have none, I end the interview and leave.

I've also asked to speak to a current employee one on one, or through email, to ask them (without bosses around) what its really like working there. So far, it hasn't hindered my abilities to get job offers, but you really have to be tactful when you present that idea.

I'd rather not get a job because of the questions I ask, then get a job and hate it because I was too afraid they wouldn't like my questions. I'm methodical about figuring out what I want to know, and if the interview people are upset about it then its obviously not a good place for me.

Post #1372641
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 7:25 AM

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Steve Jones wrote:
The interview is your best chance to determine if the position is a good fit for you and the company

As Steve, and a few other commenters above, said: an interview is not a one-way questioning. A job is a relationship and it goes both ways. Over the years I have developed a questionnaire of sorts that I ask when interviewing to ensure that I find a place that is right for me and helps me avoid situations that I did not like in the past. I try to get a sense of what the company does that I have found in the past is good for me and if they don't do things that I have found don't work for me. And some questions are just to get a big-picture view of the company, such as what health-care plan they have, do they do PTO vs separate sick & vacation days, how many vacation/PTO days, etc. Nobody should accept a job where they only know what the website tells them of the general terms of what the company does; an employee is not a customer and needs to know a lot more than what the PR department put on the website.

And as someone responsible for co-conducting interviews, I do ask everyone at the end of the session if they have any questions. And I certainly make a note of when a candidate does not ask any questions as it indicates a lack of being truly and deeply involved in a decision that has impact on their life. The way I see it is: Database Programming is highly detail-oriented and if a person is not going to interact with me, the interviewer, to draw out necessary details for making a good decision, then likely they will not interact with Project Managers and Developers (and others) to draw out details pertinent to the projects they are working on. Data Models are much harder to refactor than app code, especially after they get into Production and data is going into them, so there is little to no room for making assumptions.

Take care,

SQL# -
Post #1372721
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 7:43 AM
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I was taught a little 'trick' that can help in interviews. Always write down your questions in advance.

If you get to the end of the interview and when asked if you have any questions, answer "no, you've already answered them" then it can appear as if you haven't prepared any questions. However, if you have them written down then you can refer to it and then say "no, you've already answered them" but still make clear that you have prepared some questions.

As the previous commentator said, it looks bad if you go to an interview without questions.

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Post #1372727
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 10:18 AM


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I treat an interview as a conversation. My questions tend to get asked somewhere during the interview and not at the end. During the interview's ebb and flow, I can usually say something like, "That brings up a question of mine. What source control product do you use?" I will ask any unanswered questions at the end.
Post #1372806
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 10:26 AM


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Be prepared to answer and ask questions. Write your questions down before the interview. Refer to them and let people see that you have a list of questions to appear prepared.

But only ask questions that relate to the interview, the process, or the position. Do not ask the questions that you may have at the point of hire or to negotiate salary before the interview team is prepared, or an offer is made. If the interview team brings this up it is one thing but if you do it is unacceptable to some.

And lastly, ask one or two questions that are the most significant, it would be wise to not sit and grill the interview panel.

However, if the position does not sound good to you after the majority of the interview or you can tell from the interview that you might not be a good fit, do not pass on asking questions of your own. Often in an interview the panel is seeking certain information and is presenting a certain attitude to you to see how you are under pressure. This "acting" by the panel can mask that this might really be a great job for you and you will not know it until you get past the initial interview or filtering. Often the role of the first interview is to limit the number of candidates to only a very select few who are technically capable and truly interested in the job. By you asking questions you now control the topics and possibly the direction of the conversation. When this happens you might catch a break and one of the member of the panel might let their guard down and you might see that this is a far better job than you thought.

Just fodder for thought.

Have a great one!


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Post #1372811
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 11:03 AM


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It definitely is important to ask questions of the interviewer(s). One of my favorites is to ask why they are still there / what makes them return to work every day. That helps me get a feel for what the culture is like.
Post #1372835
Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 11:38 AM

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"Do you have any doubts about my candidacy that I can clear up or explain further?"

Also, some people say that if you want the job, you should explicitly ask for it.

Peter Maloof
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Post #1372855
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