Your interview with a top candidate goes well. At the end, you toss out the obligatory, “Are there any other questions?” The candidate asks, “What’s the turnover rate in the department where I would work? What are the main reasons employees leave and where do they go?”
The question catches you off guard. You stumble through a partial response, not really answering the question at all. That last taste lingers sour in the mouth of the interviewee, who considered the question to be crucial.
“From what I’m hearing from recruiters I deal with, more people are getting demanding in interviews,” says Mike Deblieux, president of a management training firm in Tustin, CA.
He cites examples of a woman in her late 40s who asked about the average age of the company’s employees, and a black candidate who inquired about the percentage of black employees.
Ask fair, legally-correct interview questions and still get the information you need to find out whether the applicant is truly qualified for the job — Get Interviewing Made Easy: The Right Way to Ask Hiring Questions.
The worst scenario: Your top candidate asks an insightful question that impresses you, but you can’t answer it. To prevent that from happening, prepare answers for the following questions:
1. When employees have been successful in this job, what positions have they moved to—inside and outside the company?
2. Regarding the department where I’d work, how important is it to top executives?
3. Can I talk with employees I’d be managing?
4. Where can I find out more information about the financial strength of the company?
5. Are there any big companywide initiatives coming in the next fiscal year?
6. What’s the organizational structure of my department (and/or the company)?
7. Describe the corporate culture. What kind of employee behavior conforms to the culture?
8. What duties would I perform during a typical day on the job?
9. What is the worst thing about the organization?
10. How does the organization manage conflicts between employees?
11. How does the company reward above-average performance—beyond dollars?
12. Where do you see this company in five years, 10 years?
13. What criteria will you use to evaluate my performance?
14. How has the company responded to significant changes in your industry?
15. Are there any questions about me that you would like me to address?
Train hiring managers to be able to answer these questions
16. What are the top three immediate priorities for the person you hire for this position?
17. What aspects of the job have previous people disliked the most?
18. What has the department not done well over the past few years?
19. In what ways can the team I will be working with improve?
20. How much experience does the team I’d be joining have?
21. How does the department help people to work collaboratively?
22. What skills and abilities did the last person lack?
23. What abilities do the best performers in your department have?
24. Why did you choose to work here/stay here?
25. How do you feel about your chances for advancement from your current position?
Final tip: Salary talk is no longer taboo in the early rounds. Be ready for an increasing number of candidates who ask about salary, bonuses, incentives and moving expenses at the start of interviews, instead of waiting until the end.