With ” interview questions ” most applicants join the nasty trick questions from HR managers to their worst weaknesses or real change for reasons that should never find a new employer best. Asking questions as an applicant also appears to many in this exceptional situation subordinate and sometimes even absurd. But when I prepare job interviews with applicants, we spend more time talking about exactly these questions instead of formulating sample answers to typical HR questions. “Oh, that’s right, I should also ask questions there!” Is an important finding for many of my clients and should also be part of your attitude as an applicant, which not only gives you strength in discussions but also activates your own judgment take a close look at the choice of your new employer.
Boss and colleagues are more important than the task
Almost all clients with whom I speak in career coaching about what their future job should be, first give me characteristics that they want from their new manager or colleagues. After all, many employees don’t leave their employers because of the tasks themselves, but because of chronic problems with bad bosses and annoying colleagues. Whether you will be happy in your new job depends largely on good leadership and appreciative teamwork.
In coaching, we write down everything that would make a dream boss or the best boss in the world. Especially experienced professionals who have already experienced different leadership styles have a very clear idea of how they want to be led in the future, what they expect from their manager and what makes a good team for them.
If this boss colleague wish list is complete, I hear this from all applicants: ” It’s nice that I wish it all, but you don’t get that in an interview! “-” Not you, but you “is my answer. And from now on, you who landed on this post also have the chance.
Unwinding answers or asking questions yourself
Yes, in a job interview in which you are afraid only answer the questions from the other side and wait until you are called up in the last five minutes to ” Do you have any questions ” and only ask for memorized general locations on working hours, the training schedule and days off In the worst case, after talking about your new boss, you won’t have learned much more than his or her name and maximum the size of the team.
Instead, you may and should ask your potential new boss all the questions during the interview in order to develop a good feeling for how he or she ticks and whether this is the job that will really fulfill you in the next few years.
And so that you get an idea of which questions you can ask to find out more about your boss and colleagues instead of blindly buying a pig in a poke, I have put together 15 interview questions for you here that is good for the first or one second, further discussion with your potential new manager:
15 interview questions to your new boss.
1) What made you decide to invite me on my CV?
You will learn what your boss particularly appreciates for the position to be filled in his team. This question is also suitable psychologically in the first part of a conversation. Because this way your conversation partners consciously connect something positive with you.
2) How will you see in 6 months that I’m doing a good job here?
In my experience, this is one of the most important questions that every applicant should ask in the first or second interview. Because over the years I have worked with applicants, I have noticed that interviews talk far too little about mutual expectations. Here your future boss should specifically formulate what he / she is measuring you for at this point. I experience a lot of employees in coaching who have not passed their probationary period. With this question and a clear answer to it, this would have been avoidable in most of these cases.
3) Is there anything you particularly value about your team?
Here you will learn several aspects: How well does your boss really know his team? Is he / she able to speak appreciatively about other people? What is it that she / he appreciates from the leadership role? It makes a difference whether a manager says about his team: “They just meet the monthly KPIs” or “The colleagues support each other, work very independently and ask me if they don’t know what to do.” This answer says a lot about the management style of one Bosses as well as about the culture in the company.
4) What motivates you personally in your work?
Admittedly, this question is very personal and it is important that you, as an applicant, ask it yourself out of a genuinely interested attitude. Otherwise it could appear as if you were to turn the exam situation overly. Here you can find out what drives your potential manager in their daily work and which values and goals are particularly important to him or her at work. You can derive to what extent this also fits with your personal values and goals.
5) What do you particularly like about this company?
This is deliberately a very open question. You will find out what your counterpart is thinking about with regard to the company. Is it the industry or products, the historical or future development of the company, the people and the type of cooperation, the corporate culture, internationality or maybe your own development perspectives? This question is of course also suitable for HR staff or colleagues from the team, provided they are sitting at the table talking to you.
6) What are the goals against which you are measured?
I think this question is particularly valuable when applying for management positions, so that I, as a manager, can develop an idea about the goals in the future role. Goals are passed on from top management to the base. If you find out what your boss is measured by, you can also deduce for yourself and, if necessary, your own team what will be important in this position in the next few years.
7) How can you support me in developing myself further?
It is important to many employees today to develop professionally and personally in their jobs. Most are less interested in classic career levels, more status, power or hierarchical advancement, but rather want to be promoted in terms of content and challenged based on their strengths. You want a boss as a mentor at eye level who is interested in further developing himself and his team. If you have the feeling in conversation that your potential boss feels that this question is outrageous, then it is reasonable to assume that you should just do a good job as a busy bee in the next few years.
8) How would you describe your type of leadership?
Hardly any boss will be able to answer this question spontaneously without adorning themselves with general phrases such as “respectful”, “appreciative” or “participatory”. But I think it is important that managers are aware of their leadership style and the corresponding inner attitude. Ask in conversation if the answer is too vague: “How would I as your employee notice that you … are/are? It doesn’t hurt that bosses reflect themselves in the job interview;)
9) What do you think your employees would tell me about you in private?
Again, you will learn two things: How does she / he react to the question himself and what are the topics she / he speaks about in the answer? Does she / he have a feel for what moves the employees in the team and with what eyes they see their boss?
10) What are the biggest challenges for your team in the next few months?
I often hear from clients that the jobs after the first working day turned out to be completely different from the original job posting. Because large projects were pending, topics had to be taken over by other colleagues, or once again restructured and reorganized. This question gives you a good sense of what the top issues will be in the coming months – even outside of day-to-day operations.
11) How are decisions made in your team and in the company?
It is important for many employees today that clear decisions are made from management to the team and that they are implemented in a structured manner. Wischi-waschi tour and cuddle course get on the nerves of many employees today. They want to be heard with their opinion and to be involved in certain decisions. Topics should not be talked about democratically among colleagues, but managers should assume the necessary responsibility in their role. This question is particularly important for applicants of the “doer” type.
12) Suppose I discover a mistake from you. How should I react to that?
This is not just about the fundamental error culture in the company, but specifically about the quality of the cooperation between the manager and the employee. This answer also reveals a lot about how modern a boss ticks and whether it will be an employment relationship at eye level.
13) Which professional experience has shaped you most personally?
This is also a very personal question and it is best to wait until you have gotten to know each other better. In the best case, this question also gives you some information about the career of your counterpart. Whether and how openly and honestly he / he answers the question also shows the relationship of trust that you both have been able to build in the previous conversation.
14) In which areas are you and your employees particularly well networked?
In almost no job you work isolated from other departments, there will always be interfaces to the company. With this question, you will learn what the most important interfaces are and maybe also what your new boss’s view of the other teams and areas is. Does sales complain about marketing, does HR get nothing on the chain, or is IT unable to implement technical specifications? How appreciative does your counterpart look at the colleagues in the other departments?
15) What will you do to help me familiarize myself here quickly?
A question classic of many applicants is “What is the familiarization with you?” I recommend asking the question more specifically while taking responsibility for your manager. Even if she/he does not have to personally take on the induction, in my understanding of good leadership it is part of ensuring that new employees are inducted and that they are properly integrated into the team.
“Asking questions in an interview – isn’t that too dangerous?”
The interview is a conversation about mutual ideas. So what speaks against it, even during the conversation – and only then will it also be a good conversation as a real dialogue – to ask questions to your new boss and other conversation partners sitting at the table? Asking such questions, not to dutifully ask any questions, but to gain the really important information you need to make a decision for or against this job and employer.
On the other hand, your conversation partners also notice that you have given your thoughts, clarity about the work environment that suits you and that it is important to you to make a good job decision. And let’s face it, whoever considers one of the 15 questions above to be outrageous or inappropriate in the role of a manager will not – and should – not be your new boss. However, do not expect that your counterpart can answer every question as if it were shot out of the gun – these questions are too individual and challenging for many managers.
My tip: not only pay attention to the content of the answers, but also to the reactions of your counterpart to your questions. Does someone there just want to celebrate a one-sided interview as a tough test of small applicants, or do people really engage in a conversation with you as a good exchange at eye level?
And another note: Please do not understand these 15 interview questions as a list to be memorized, which you have to fire exactly in every conversation. After all, you are not the personnel manager – kidding.
They are examples of me as ideas and impulses, in which direction you can (and may) think about interview questions. Always make it dependent on the situation and the course of a conversation as well as on your personal feeling and the impressions of what is important to you to learn there. After all, it is not about plump turning the tables as an applicant and relentlessly putting employers to the test, but about a good and honest exchange of views between both sides in order to make a good decision for the next few years.
(Cover picture: 123rf.com, 36609836, Andrea De Martin)
I am happy if you share this contribution in your networks.