John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
If only you had known. Six months on the job and you’re seeing things you could have uncovered at interview time. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. At least my Mom says so. All the same, is there anything you can do to get a clearer picture before you sign on?
It may not occur to you, but any time you’re investigating an opportunity, you’re examining both subjective and objective elements. By definition, the objective is easier. On the subjective side, there’s always that last five to ten percent that you just aren’t going to see until you’ve been there awhile. That doesn’t mean there aren’t actions you can take to get as far down the subjective track as you can.
One of the easiest things to do is ask questions aimed at giving you information that is clearly subjective, but in a context that allows you to judge its merit. First, there are questions to ask the interviewer who would be your immediate supervisor. The last question, of course, opens a whole new line of discussion about your potential.
- When you made the move to come here, what was the most compelling reason?
- What keeps you here?
- How can I stand out in the first 60 days?
- Profile your top performer for me. What does he/she do that makes him/her so much better?
- Is there a recent engagement you completed that really showed what this group can do? Tell me about it.
- I know you’re not hiring because everything is wonderful. What are the problems that need solving?
If you aren’t offered an opportunity to talk to your peers (provided there are some), ask nicely. Most employers know the value of those conversations. If they decline, think twice about joining them. The questions you ask of peers are designed to give you a sense of what it could be like for you down the road.
- What is the one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you were new here?
- What are the important pieces of the history of this organization?
- Who are the people “in the know” here?
- What has been your biggest surprise? Disappointment?
- What advice would you give me about being successful in this organization?
- Who really does what around here?
One of my favorite cartoons has Dennis the Menace engaged in a battle of wits with his father. For each of the three panels he holds his own. In the fourth, we see him curled up in bed asserting, “That’s what I should have said.”
Job changes can be difficult enough. Don’t miss any chance to get more information to help you with what is one of the toughest decisions you could face.