John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
If you are taking time to meet with someone who could be your new employer, it makes sense to get a realistic picture of what lies ahead. How do you ask the questions that help you see that picture more clearly?
Make a distinction, first, between questions for the new boss and questions for would-be coworkers. What you will get from the boss is more likely a big picture view. If you want to understand how things work day-to-day, though, ask the co-worker. Still, there isn’t a bright line between questions for one and questions for the other. There is overlap.
Second, understand that context-specific questions will give you more useful answers. Like this:
Would you like to go to a movie?
The other day you mentioned a movie you wanted to see. I noticed there’s a 7:45 showing at the mall down the street. Would you like to go?
You can come up with a context by asking yourself why you want to know the information. For example:
To test for what you will do when you are there:
One of the things I am really enjoying where I am is X, and I’d like to do more. What is the possibility for that here?
To test for commitment to continuing education and improvement:
I would imagine there are practices that meet basic credentialing requirements and others that urge their people to go to conferences and training. Where do you estimate you fall on that continuum?
To test the co-worker on that hard-to-define work/life balance:
If you need flexibility on a start or stop time to meet an obligation with one of your kids, how does management look at that?
Getting the answers you need for a smarter job change decision isn’t merely about asking the right questions. It’s about asking the questions right.