7 Questions Tough Job Candidates Will Ask. Be Prepared

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Remember, an interview is a two-way conversation and candidates are coming prepared to interogate you, as they should.

The days of people accepting a job–any job–are long past. People have options and don’t want to join companies that don’t match their goals and values. If you complain that “no one wants to work,” well, get in line with great-great-grandpa, who complained about that in 1894.

People want jobs but want the right job and will ask you questions about it. And your complaining about it will result in not getting good candidates.

Adam Karpiak, a recruiter and self-described “candidate therapist,” runs a very popular newsletter called Job Seeking Is Hard, and people who do the hiring would be wise to read it as well. Because candidates are, and they are coming prepared.

Karpiak suggests candidates ask seven questions of their prospective employers.

You need to be able to answer these questions, and if you don’t have good answers, it’s time to revamp your company culture. Here are suggestions for you to have good answers to these questions.

  1. What changes have been implemented based on employee suggestions? Many companies have suggestion boxes or do employee engagement surveys where they ask for suggestions, but few implement them. Not every suggestion from employees can be implemented, of course. But if you’re asking and not making changes, that is a huge red flag.
  2. Is there an official offboarding process with exit interviews? If so, have any changes been implemented based on those? Like the above question, why ask if you won’t make changes? Turnover costs are high, and when people tell you why they are leaving and you ignore those reasons, you’re announcing that you don’t care about retention.
  3. What is the onboarding process like? And when do you expect a new hire to be fully up to speed? The first question in this group is fine, and you should have an answer for it off the top of your head, but the second? Have you thought through that? Many companies want people to “hit the ground running,” but no one can really do that. Have you thought about reasonable expectations for this job?
  4. Is there an official/unofficial mentorship program to foster professional growth/development? People want growth. If you don’t have a plan to help them grow professionally, you’ll likely lose out on some candidates. Not all, of course, but someone who asks this question will probably determine you’re not a good fit for them.
  5. What characteristics do all the top performers in this role share? Do you know what it takes to be successful in this role? Often managers haven’t thought about what success looks like or why one person is successful while another isn’t. Think through this before you start interviewing candidates.
  6. Is there a common theme among employees who underperform? Like the above question, you can think about this in advance. If you know why certain employees underperform, you can eliminate candidates who show signs of that behavior. It will save you and them time.
  7. What is your favorite thing about working here? Don’t lie about this. If you say, “I love the flexibility,” but that just means people get to choose which 60 hours they work each week, that’s not flexibility. If you can’t come up with something genuine, it is time for you to move on, and you shouldn’t be hiring someone when you’re on the way out yourself.

Candidates who ask questions like this are the people you want to hire. They are looking for a good fit for themselves and aren’t just trying to get in at any cost. Prepare yourself to answer these questions–after all, you’re being interviewed as well.