Interview Questions Candidates SHOULD Ask…

By Debra Donston-Miller

We’ve all been there. It’s the point in the job interview when you’ve answered every question thrown at you in a pointed, authoritative, relevant manner.

“Now, do you have any questions for me?” the interviewer asks.

This is the make-or-break moment of the interview, say experts, especially in a market with more candidates than jobs. It’s your chance to demonstrate your insight into the organization at which you’re interviewing, your industry acumen, your communications and people skills, and your desire for the job.

“The worst thing you could do in an interview — other than passing gas — is to say, ‘I don’t have any questions — you’ve answered them all,’ ” said Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting, an executive search firm and employment agency. “Who wants to work with somebody who doesn’t have any inquiries about the company? It shows that you have no brains.”

It’s your last chance to win over the interviewer, and this scenario puts pressure on the candidate to enter the interview prepared to ask thoughtful, focused questions of their own, said Cheryl Palmer, a certified executive career coach and the founder of Call to Career, a firm that provides C-level executives with career coaching and resume- writing services.

“That’s your last opportunity to really show to that employer, ‘Yes, I’m the best candidate for the job,’ ” Palmer said. ” I always advise people to do their homework and to work any information they’ve gleaned from their research into their questions so that they really come across as well-prepared candidates.”

Good question

J.B Bryant is president of Strategic Alignment Group, a management consultant that helps businesses identify their competitive advantage. He said job hunters should look at the questions they ask during an interview as their opportunity to create a distinct competitive advantage.

“Something has to set you apart, more so, maybe, in this economy, because the employers are churning through so many potential people,” he said.

A safe way to impress an interviewer is to know everything there is to know about the company , the industry and the interviewer themselves

“Know everything you can about a company before you interview,” Beck said. “Do a simple thing like Google the person you are going to interview with.”

The questions you bring to an interview help the employer determine whether you are a good fit for the company, but they also help determine whether the company is a good fit for you.

Prospective employees may be tempted to take any job port in an economic storm, especially if they have been job hunting for an extended period of time, but a bad fit won’t benefit anyone in the long run.

“I think it’s helpful for candidates being interviewed to come up with good, thoughtful questions that are going to accomplish two purposes,” Palmer said. “They need to be able to demonstrate to that potential boss that they have really thought about the job and have some good, probing questions. But they also need to ask questions that will help them determine whether or not this is going to work out.”

Beck went further, emphasizing that the interview is the prospective employer’s opportunity to convince you that the company will be a good fit for your needs. The interview is also a chance for the job seeker to turn the tables and get more information out of the employer.

“Remember that an interview is a two-way street,” Beck said. “You have to convince the person who is interviewing you that they need to hire you. But remember: You’re not there to beg. They need to convince you just as much as you need to convince them.”

Accordingly, one of the most important questions to ask during an interview relates to expectations, Bryant said.

“In my experience, expectations are not communicated very clearly,” he said. “Most people — at every level — come in, and there seem to be an awful lot of assumptions being made, both on the new employee side and on the employer side. You hear people say that it takes six months to get integrated into a company and to really be productive. Well, it doesn’t need to. If you don’t ask anything else, find out what the expectations are.”

Bad question

Worse than silence are bad questions that a prospective employer can not answer; demonstrate your ignorance; or worse, offend the interviewer that it eliminates a job seeker from consideration.

There are some questions that have always been taboo during an interview — rushing into questions about salary, for example. But have any questions become no-no’s since the economic downturn? No, experts said. The rules are pretty much the same as always.

“The rules are the same — it’s just that ( the questions) count more than ever before,” said Call to Career’s Palmer. “That’s not to say that it was OK to ask about salary ( during an interview) before and now it’s not. It simply means that everything is much more serious because of the competitiveness of the job market. So, things that an employer might have overlooked before are really, really going to be a big deal now because you have so many qualified candidates looking for the same position.”

“Stay away from questions that aren’t going to help you any,” said Crossroads Consulting’s Beck. “Getting into somebody’s personal life is really of no interest. Asking whether someone is pro- or anti-Obama is not a good question to ask. I would stay away from questions about salary. I would stay away from questions about benefits. You want to ask questions that are relevant to the job and to the opportunity that you are being presented with.”

Bryant said it’s important for prospective employees to use their intuition to help determine which questions will resonate positively with interviewers.

“You need to feel out the personality of the person you’re interviewing with,” said Bryant. “Are you going to ask, ‘Are there any discipline issues with my (potential) direct reports?’ before you even get the job? That might be seen as meddling. But, ‘Where did my predecessor leave off?’ That’s perfectly acceptable to ask in an interview.”

5 Things You Should Not Do Upon Losing Your Job

By Steph Tortogo

If there is anything in our careers that is the most normal of all, it would be losing one. We then are inundated with various emotions and all we want to do is just let everything out and stand up for ourselves. But sometimes, there are just things that we should think twice about before doing, especially if it involves our personal feelings. Here are 5 of the things that you must not do upon getting fired from your job:

1. Unless you’re expressing appreciation and gratitude for the time that you’ve spent with the company, never send your former boss and coworkers scathing emails. Don’t even try to confront them of how you badly you thought their treatment was to you. This the business world, and no matter how enormous it seems physically, it is a small world. Word of the mouth goes fast, and this can result to bad record that could impact your life immensely.

2. Never take to your social media platforms or any of your blog sites to rant about the injustice that you felt. The internet has made the world a little bit smaller than it is, and you don’t want to make bad impressions for potential employers and your family and friends who look up to you. Even if you believe that whatever people say doesn’t matter, it will, especially if you’re in the world of business. Take note of what the great Stephen Hawking once said; “People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

3. Never look at this occurrence as the end of your dreams. Don’t dwell in the dark or shut everything and everyone out. Don’t pretend or act like there’s nothing wrong because that will just worsen the situation.

4. This may sound pretty hurtful, but it is the truth. Just because of what happened to you, don’t expect that everyone else around you is going to drop whatever they were doing prior to your situation. Life goes on. Instead of sulking about that, take interest in what’s currently going on with them.

5. Despite everything that happened, you should not take too long in looking for a new job. Don’t even hesitate to use your frustration to fuel your determination of becoming a better career person. Go out there as a new you, the one who knows what to do and acknowledges what he or she did wrong in the past, and does her best to not make the same mistake twice.

Charles Schwab CEO Reveals How He Tests Job Candidates by Taking Them to Breakfast, Having Restaurant Mess Up Their Order

What if there were a way for employers to test out job candidates and compare how each reacts to unpleasant curveballs?

Charles Schwab Corporation CEO Walt Bettinger has created such a system. Earlier this month, he shared his secret with the New York Times.Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

For an employer like Bettinger, character is everything. He told the Times that his “wrong order” test is meant to gauge how prospective hires deal with adversity.

“Are they upset, are they frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that,” he said.

“It’s just another way to look inside their heart rather than their head,” he explained.

What are the other ways? Before offering candidates a position at the brokerage and banking company, Bettinger asks them to tell him about their greatest successes in life.

“What I’m looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others, or whether it revolves around them,” he said. “And I’ll ask then about their greatest failures in their life and see whether they own them or whether they were somebody else’s fault.”

Charles Schwab president and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Charles Schwab President and CEO Walt Bettinger. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)