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Ten Questions to Ask Your Next Boss

1. What is the set of problems that will be resolved 90 days after your new hire comes on board?

2. Who are the most important internal and external customers for this role? What do each of them look to this person to deliver?

3. How will the new person in this role make your life easier?

4. What’s your story in this company? When did you arrive, and what has happened for you since then?

5. What are the biggest goals for the company this year?

6. What is this new person’s role in reaching those goals?

7. What are the biggest decisions that this new person will make on his or her own?

8. What is the story behind this job opening — is it a new role, or has someone been promoted or left the organization, or something else?

9. Apart from the formal responsibilities, what is the informal role of this person on the team? Some roles require an air traffic controller, some require a cheerleader and morale-booster, some require a drill sergeant. How would you describe this one?

10. What are the yardsticks your new hire will pay the most attention to? Why are those milestones important?

27 replies
  1. Lesley Renwick
    Lesley Renwick says:

    One question I usually ask is’ What is your number one priority for the person who gets this job?’

    You get some interesting answers and it gives you a chance do have another professional discussion about what you can bring to the table

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Would that be a strong question about if hired what would be the number 1 priority

      my question would be when they ask you about team player if another team player is not pulling his or her weight what would you do?

      Reply
      • Linda Linderman
        Linda Linderman says:

        I feel most problems are based in lack of communication therefore if a team member is not “Pulling their weight” they may need a specific list of responsibilities or tasks. It should also be noted that if some tasks are more difficult, they should be rotated among the team and not aways dumped on the same person.

        Reply
  2. James
    James says:

    I like to get to know my interviewer a bit more personally at the point of asking questions, and turn the tables a bit, trying to have them convince me I need the job.

    I do this by starting with the question “You’ve been working here for ‘x’ years (I of course know the duration of time from my LinkedIn research) – what is it that makes you keep getting up in the morning and coming to work here? What drives you”

    From here, you can start to get into real personal conversations about how you and your interviewer match on a personal level. In addition to one or two of the above in the article, try it out! Just don’t go question crazy!

    Reply
  3. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    I like to ask “Where do you see the team/organisation in 5 years time and how do you envision the role this position will play in achieving it?”

    I also like to ask “Are you looking for someone to come into the role to continue delivering it as it has been in the past or are you looking for someone to come in to apply a fresh perspective and reinvigorate it?”

    Reply
  4. Jonathan Greenyer
    Jonathan Greenyer says:

    Ask how your job will be evaluated by your line manager. What measure of success is the most important. This has a way of highlighting if your doing something worthwhile or just filling a desk.

    Reply
  5. JoAnn Swank
    JoAnn Swank says:

    As a hiring manager, I want to know if the job candidate has the skills to do the job and the personality to fit into a team environment.

    Reply
  6. Max Rosenblum
    Max Rosenblum says:

    I have two pieces of advice, or comments, that I have been asked by hiring managers, one of which is more commonly asked than the other. The first is usually asked after briefly verifying my past employments and most recent endeavors, “what is the most amount of money you have made in a month or year,” and a generalized “what are you financial goals short and long term within this company or in general?” – I have found that at the two most recent employments I have had, the two career setting opportunities I successfully was hired at, being honest and bringing the ‘human conversation factor’ that the article speaks of wins big points with the interviewer. Since the goal of this question is to see where an interviewee’s mindset is at in regards to financial ambition and what they are used to making, I have seriously answered, “that depends [interviewer] whether you are asking me legally employed taxable income, or if I can answer per money made under-the-table or via not taxable income and I have made about [a dollar amount, for me it was roughly $40,000 in one month through real-estate w/o my license but I was drawn up on contract b/c of the specific situation] in one month.” For me, bringing wit and humor to the table with that honest answer has sparked curiosity to further conversation as well as showing my ambition, motivation, and ability to work with what I have, or didn’t have in that case.
    The second question I was asked most recently was, “If you could choose to be one animal, any creature on the planet, what would you pick and why?” I have been asked that maybe on 2-3 separate interviews, but like the article stated, when an HR or hiring manager has a room full of people to interview, you need to set yourself apart to be remembered. I answered verbatim to him, “the cliche answer I’m sure you hear from most people is a lion or lioness, king of the jungle and leader of the pack, etc., but answer this for me [interviewer], ‘what makes up the biggest portion of planet earth and what is the apex predator of the biggest portion of our planet?'” The interviewer took a moment to think and responded with ‘water, the oceans of course’ and at that point I knew I was getting him to think and see my train of thought, “[interview], yes the oceans make up about 70% of our planet and killer whales, or blackfish orca, are the apex predator and command the oceans. So, if I had to choose an animal to be, I would be an orca whale not because of its predatory nature, but because metaphorically or figuratively, it is the boss of the biggest company on our planet, period.” The interviewer was rather impressed with the reasoning and quick thinking behind my answer and told me in the 11 some-odd years he had been asking that question, not once had someone answered with like that.
    The point of both of the latter questions/answers is exactly what has already been stated in the article and other replies – to bring the human element to the conversation, to show where your mind is at in confidence, confident in your abilities and what you bring to the table, and confidence that you believe in yourself that not only are you the new employee, but furthermore that your ambition and motivation will bring you to the top above his position (I actually challenge interviewers, managers, VP’s, etc. in healthy, humorous ways with comments that I’ll achieve what you have in half the time, things like that).
    I hope that my long reply helps someone with ideas or the idea of how to portray yourself to the interviewer. I apply these same principals to my immediate manager, general manager, regional director, so-on-and-so-forth to continue climbing the ladder within my current employment. It is always key to show appreciation and gratitude for those who came before you, train, and help you but likewise is key to demonstrate your ambition, motivation, initiative, and of course the skills/abilities relative to your position. I don’t just settle for what I am given and told to do – I always implement new strategies & ideas, new techniques & avenues, and find ways to exceed expectations to bring myself, my team, and ultimately the company to a higher level.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  3. […] check out this article, “Ten Questions to Ask Your Next Boss” on the Human Workplace blog. It suggests asking the interviewer about how he or she landed at […]

  4. […] Click here for a list of interview questions that you can jot on your spiffy notepad (tucked into your leather or vegan leather portfolio, which you’ll bring to every interview not only to prep yourself with pre-written questions but also to take notes) and refer to when you need it. […]

  5. […] Click here for a list of interview questions that you can jot on your spiffy notepad (tucked into your leather or vegan leather portfolio, which you’ll bring to every interview not only to prep yourself with pre-written questions but also to take notes) and refer to when you need it. […]

  6. […] Click here for a list of interview questions that you can jot on your spiffy notepad (tucked into your leather or vegan leather portfolio, which you’ll bring to every interview not only to prep yourself with pre-written questions but also to take notes) and refer to when you need it. […]

  7. […] 1. What is the set of problems that will be resolved 90 days after your new hire comes on board? 2. Who are the most important internal and external customers for this role? What do each of them look to this person to deliver?  […]

  8. […] related to your job position, company’s future perspectives, goals,etc. Here is a list of 10 questions to ask in an interview that may call your interviewer’s […]

  9. […] 1. What is the set of problems that will be resolved 90 days after your new hire comes on board? 2. Who are the most important internal and external customers for this role? What do each of them look to this person to deliver? 3. How will the new person in this role make your life …  […]

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  11. […] can bring questions like these to the interview, but don’t ever follow a script or let yourself get scripted if you can help […]

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