Tag Archives: employment

Some good questions to ask in an interview

First off, just in case my boss is reading this, I am not looking for a job.  I am very blessed where I am.  But The Ladders does put out some good, free tips if you get on their email list (they have some fee-based services as well, but I don’t get those).  These are pretty universal so I encourage you to save them and share with kids as well.

I thought these were great questions to send the message to your prospective employer that you “get it” — that is, that you are there to make them successful.

I’ve put this list together because so often we can forget what an interview’s all about. It sure feels like it’s about you, but it’s really not.

An interview is actually about how you can help your future boss and future employer succeed. It’s about finding out what their requirements and hopes are and matching up your background and experience with what they need.

Overlooking these basic facts about the interview is easy. There’s so much else going on in your work, your life, and in your job search, that you can forget to look at the interview from the interviewer’s point of view. And that’s a shame, because you need the interviewer to walk away from the interview thoroughly impressed.

When I ran these questions previously, commenter “spiderji” wrote in and said:

Marc, I used some of your questions in a job interview today. When I asked how to get a “gold star” on the evaluation, the interviewers faces lit up!” I contrast today’s interview with others I’ve been on where I didn’t have any meaningful questions at the end. This one was electric! I won’t know the results for a couple of days, but if they hire me I’ll owe you a drink! Thank you!

And reader LBRZ shared:

I have to thank you! I had an interview yesterday and it went great. When I asked about his leadership style and reward system his face lit up like a christmas tree.

After he answered the question “how can I help you receive your next promotion?”, he began to give me advice on how I should negotiate for a higher starting salary.

And that’s exactly the point, Readers. By asking these questions, which focus on the needs, traits, and preferences of your future boss and future employer, you’re demonstrating that you are somebody who is genuinely interested in their well-being. And the more interest we show in others, the more commitment they show to aiding our cause.

With that in mind, here’s the twice-a-year update to my collection of “twenty best interview questions” below. My aim here is to arm you with easy-to-ask, revealing-to-answer questions for you to take with you to an interview:

1. What’s the biggest change your group has gone through in the last year? Does your group feel like the tough times are over and things are getting better, or are things still pretty bleak? What’s the plan to handle to either scenario?

2. If I get the job, how do I earn a “gold star” on my performance review? What are the key accomplishments you’d like to see in this role over the next year?

3. What’s your (or my future boss’) leadership style?

4. About which competitor are you most worried?

5. How does sales / operations / technology / marketing / finance work around here? (I.e., groups other than the one you’re interviewing for.)

6. What type of people are successful here? What type of people are not?

7. What’s one thing that’s key to this company’s success that somebody from outside the company wouldn’t know about?

8. How did you get your start in this industry? Why do you stay?

9. What are your group’s best and worst working relationships with other groups in the company?

10. What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest worry these days?

11. What’s the timeline for making a decision on this position? When should I get back in touch with you?

12. These are tough economic times, and every position is precious when it comes to the budget. Why did you decide to hire somebody for this position instead of the many other roles / jobs you could have hired for? What about this position made you prioritize it over others?

13. What is your reward system? Is it a star system / team-oriented / equity-based / bonus-based / “attaboy!”-based? Why is that your reward system? What do you guys hope to get out of it, and what actually happens when you put it into practice? What are the positives and the negatives of your reward system? If you could change any one thing, what would it be?

14. What information is shared with the employees (revenues, costs, operating metrics)? Is this an “open book” shop, or do you play it closer to the vest? How is information shared? How do I get access to the information I need to be successful in this job?

15. If we are going to have a very successful year in 2014, what will that look like? What will we have done over the next 6 months to make it successful? How does this position help achieve those goals?

16. How does the company / my future boss do performance reviews? How do I make the most of the performance review process to ensure that I’m doing the best I can for the company?

17. What is the rhythm to the work around here? Is there a time of year that it’s “all hands on deck” and we’re pulling all-nighters, or is it pretty consistent throughout the year? How about during the week / month? Is it pretty evenly spread throughout the week / month, or are there crunch days?

18. What type of industry / functional / skills-based experience and background are you looking for in the person who will fill this position? What would the “perfect” candidate look like? How do you assess my experience in comparison? What gaps do you see? What is your (or my future boss’) hiring philosophy? Is it “hire the attitude / teach the skills” or are you primarily looking to add people with domain expertise first and foremost?

19. In my career, I’ve primarily enjoyed working with big / small / growing / independent / private / public / family-run companies. If that’s the case, how successful will I be at your firm?

20. Who are the heroes at your company? What characteristics do the people who are most celebrated have in common with each other? Conversely, what are the characteristics that are common to the promising people you hired, but who then flamed out and failed or left? As I’m considering whether or not I’d be successful here, how should I think about the experiences of the heroes and of the flame-outs?

“If you like this, you’ll love Obamacare!”

The title is what I should have announced to the crowd as I left the Department of Motor Vehicles when getting my licensed renewed (we have to do that in person every few years). As you might expect, the lines were very long (2+ hour wait for a very simple process) and there wasn’t enough parking or seats.

And keep in mind that while most businesses have to work hard to predict how many customers will come in on a given day, the DMV has it pretty easy. What could be more predictable than renewals? And these are the same government organizations that charge you extra to pay online, even though that saves time, money and fossil fuels for all involved.

So the question for anyone in favor of Obamacare is, “What makes you think that your healthcare service will improve?” There will be no incentives for them to perform any better. Who cares if you don’t like your service? Where else will you go? And it won’t just be your time, it will be your health. They’ll give you what they want to, when they want to, and any complaints you have will be far removed from anyone with the power to do anything about it.

And if you don’t know that Obamacare will necessarily lead to “death panels” and forced abortions (“either abort or pay for 100% of the costs yourselves, in cash”) then you don’t know how these people work.

Friendly tip for the guy wearing the “Drunk as sh!t” t-shirt: Maybe you should pick out something else when you are coming to get your license.

Will Ohioans make the right call on unions?

If they understand the issue properly, I think they will.  Thanks to unions, every Ohio citizen owes government workers $6,150!

See With Each Ohio Citizen Owing Gov’t Workers $6150, Union Bosses Urge A Return To Cannibalism | RedState.

Given that just a few short years ago (pre-market meltdown) Ohio’s taxpayers were on the hook for $46.5 billion due to its underfunded retirement system, one would think that November 8th’s decision to Vote YES on Issue 2 would be a no brainer.

After all, if you’ve got a system where union bosses have been able to put every single Ohio citizen (now) $6150 in debt, why would you want to keep it?

Moreover, if you’ve successfully ridden yourself of the system, why would you want to return to it?

Yet, that’s the issue that Ohioans have to decide when they go to the polls on November 8th to vote on Issue 2: Do . . .

Issue 2 on Ohio’s November 8 ballot poses a simple question to voters: Should SB5, Ohio’s government reform effort to get control back from union bosses, be allowed to go into effect?

As fellow RedState contributor Kevin Holtsberry explains:

Issue 2 is a result of a union led attempt to repeal Senate Bill 5 – legislation which brought much needed reform to Ohio’s collective bargaining laws.  A yes vote allows these important reforms to go into effect which will give much needed flexibility to government at all levels and will remove barriers to merit based management.

A YES vote on Issue 2 gives Ohio’s taxpayers the ability to see SB 5 go into effect. And, in the words of Building a Better Ohio:

It allows an employee’s job performance to be considered when determining compensation, rather than just awarding automatic pay increases based only on an employee’s length of service.

It asks that government employees pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance premium.  That’s less than half of what private sector workers are currently paying.

It requires that government health care benefits apply equally to all government employees, whether they work in management or non-management positions.  No special favors.

It asks our government employees to pay their own share of a generous pension contribution, rather than forcing taxpayers to pay both the employee and employer shares.

It keeps union bosses from protecting bad teachers and stops the outdated practice of laying off good teachers first just because they haven’t served long enough.

Finally, it preserves collective bargaining for government employees, but it also returns some basic control of our schools and services to the taxpayers who fund them, not the union bosses who thrive on their mismanagement.

 

Which states have the best workforces, right-to-work or forced union?

The right-to-work states, of course.  It is a common sense notion backed up by facts — though the union thugs and Liberal elites are impervious to both.

Via Best Workforces Are In Right-To-Work States, Survey Finds:

This may just be a coincidence but, out of the 50 states, there are 22 states that do not force people to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Workers in these states are often viewed derisively by union extremists as being somehow inferior to their union counterparts. However, a new study published by CNBC may blow that myth out of the water.

When it comes to America’s Top States for Business 2011, when it comes to a quality workforce, 18 out of the top 20 states are Right-to-Work states. Moreover, all 22 Right-to-Work states are in the top 25 states for having the best workforces.

 

Why “soaking the rich” doesn’t work

They are remarkably waterproof.  Game the rules all you like and they will find ways around them, or just move their capital to an environment that isn’t so hostile to it.  Politicians endlessly create and exploit loopholes but arrogantly assume that no one else is as clever as they are and will do the same.

Driven by a combination of bad planning, a lack of understanding of  basic economics and plain old coveting*, California is now doomed to fail.

See Californians flee to red states at Haemet.

In the five-year period from 2005 to 2009, 870,000 people left California.  Most of them went to red states, like Arizona and Texas, wherein jobs are more plentiful, taxes are lower, and housing prices are lower.

Problematically for California, the type of people who leave a failing state are the ones that a state most needs.  The educated, the wealthy, and the ambitious are the ones who will pack up and move, taking their human capital, their assets, and their earning capacity to other states.  Most of the people who stay are the ones who need the strong and able to carry them.  California is on its way to a death spiral, wherein everything it will need to do will only exacerbate its problems.

This why we need simplified tax structures.  Yes, some will take advantage of them, but they always will.  Having a tax code multiple times the size of the Bible is doomed to fail.  It just increases bureaucracy and wastes money.  We also need to get rid of public-sector unions and radically cut back the welfare state.

* Remember that one?  It made the top 10 list.

Did he really say that?!

As if we needed more evidence that Liberals Liberals fail at basic economics, we have the President of the United States saying this:

There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.  Barack Obama

That is an epic FAIL on so many levels.  It isn’t a structural issue, it is a foundational and wonderful element of our capitalistic economy.  The unemployment rate didn’t nearly double because of ATMs (and despite wasting a trillion dollars trying and failing to keep it below 8%).  It is a pathetic attempt for him to avoid responsibility.

Why is a “progressive” like Obama so opposed to progress?  Does he think that his beloved teleprompters pre-dated agriculture?  No, they exist because people took risks, worked hard and were rewarded for creativity and automation.

He should be embarrassed, and the media should mock him until their throats (TV and radio) and fingertips (print) are raw.  Using his “logic,” we’d have higher employment if it weren’t for advancements like ATM machines.  Ignoring the jobs of those who make, install, maintain, and write software for these machines, does Obama think that other countries won’t continue to automate even if we stopped?  If businesses don’t automate then costs go up compared to other countries and we lose even more jobs.  You could require that all cars be made by hand, but would anyone ever buy a U.S. car over an inexpensive and higher quality foreign model?

I say without exaggeration that I’ve taught Junior Achievement classes to 7th graders who understand basic economic principles better than him.  There was an exercise asking if you should automate your bike factory to save money and improve quality, even though it would reduce jobs.  Many kids initially opposed this because they forgot about the other bike makers.  When I pointed out that without automation everyone would eventually lose their jobs, they realized the benefits of progress.

As Stacy McCain adds in Pointing Out the Obvious: They Don’t Teach Economics at Harvard Law School : The Other McCain:

The president is attempting here to offer a simplistic explanation of the difference between cyclical unemployment and structuralunemployment. As important as that distinction is, however, it fails to explain many obvious things about this recession.

Unemployment isn’t at 9% because of out-of-work bank clerks and airline ticket agents. Unemployment is most severe in construction trades and other housing-related sectors. Whatever else Obama’s policies have done, they have not led to a meaningful recovery of the housing market and, one might easily argue, have made things much worse. Why? Because for two years, the administration and Democrats in Congress did everything possible to impede the foreclosure process, to keep deadbeats in homes they can’t afford. This has slowed re-sales, prevented mortgage lenders from cutting their losses on bad loans and, in general, hindered the kind of price “re-set” necessary to making the housing market efficient again.

Something else: The recession is not equally bad everywhere. Why is unemployment nearly 12% in California but less than 6% in Oklahoma? Don’t people in Oklahoma use ATMs and automated airline ticket kiosks?

I could go on and on, but it is such a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel topic.  If only the Left could see how intellectually bankrupt and counterproductive Obama’s economics are.  The youth who voted for him are starting to see it (their vision seems to be better when standing in the unemployment line rather than at his “hope and change” speeches).

—–

If you want to see something delusional, watch the head of the Democrat National Committee claim that Obama has turned the economy around.  Uh, yeah, sure, 9.1% unemployment, skyrocketing deficits and debt, gas over $4 a gallon (which was Bush’s fault when he was in office but apparently a good thing when Obama is in power, because it reduces global warming blah blah blah), etc.

Also see Obama Puts Unions Ahead of a Healthy Economy, Free Trade for an example of why it is hard to believe he even wants to reduce the unemployment rate.

Dear California, Thanks for the jobs! Love, Texas

Via Growing jobs big in Texas « Hot Air.

A month ago, California legislators trekked to Texas to visit all the new jobs that didn’t land in their own state to figure out what went wrong.

I could have saved them a trip: Stop being a wildly liberal state!  Get real conservative, real fast, and businesses will come back.  Become a Right to Work state, reduce taxes and regulatory burdens, etc.  Pretty basic stuff.

But that will never happen.  Good for Texas, bad for California.  The differences are enormous, especially considering that Texas and California share some significant problems — such as vast numbers of  illegal aliens.

According to BizJournals, a few dozen other states might want to make the same trip.  Over the last ten years, Texas has added more than 732,000 jobs net as the state withstood the worst recession in decades.  The next best state, Arizona, didn’t even make it into six figures:

. . .

Of course, Washington DC ended up 7th on the job-growth list — thanks to the federal government’s expansion at the expense of the states.

Which state did worse?  Why, California, of course.  They even managed to outstrip Michigan, where the downturn in the auto industry and collapse of GM and Chrysler threw tens of thousands out of work.

. . .

What do Texas, Utah, and Arizona all have in common?  They are all right-to-work states.  Among the top five states, only Washington does not have right-to-work laws allowing employees free choice whether to join unions.  Seven of the top ten job-growth states are right-to-work.

. . .

A new report from South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s office shows that right-to-work states, or states which prohibit forced unionization and dues payments, are economically outperforming states without the worker protection.

According to DeMint’s study, right-to-work states enjoy more new residents, more new businesses, more new jobs, and faster income growth.

The study shows that more Americans are moving to right-to-work states, causing states that force unionization to lose seats in Congress.

Texas has also worked hard over the decade to lower regulatory burdens and taxes on job creators.  Rick Perry has made this one of his signature achievements, and he has repeatedly challenged other states to start competing with Texas on job creation.  They have a long way to go before they can dethrone the champion, it appears, and most of them haven’t yet started to take the Texas approach seriously — which is nowhere more true than in Washington DC and the Obama administration.