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Job Seekers – Ask these 10 questions first!

A lot of my writing focuses on human resources, recruiting and leadership. Typically I tend to dispense advice and share ideas and lessons learned as it pertains to the management side of things. For this post, I thought I would flip things around a bit and try and help out some of the job seekers out there.

One of the most important and integral parts of the job search process is/are the interactions that candidates have with agency and/or corporate recruiters. Regardless of which type of recruiter you are interacting with, it is important that you get what you need from them during the recruiting process so that you can make as informed a decision as possible. This Job Seekerbecomes all the more critical if you are nearing the end of the process and an offer may be in order. Here is the thing, before you enter or continue along the recruiting path, you should make sure that you are fully gripped in on the opportunity at hand and are getting the REAL story about the opportunity and the organization. You never want to accept an offer and start a position without knowing as much as possible about the job, the company and the person you are going to be reporting to.

You find out this information by asking the recruiter some key questions. Their responses will let you know whether or not you are dealing with an opportunity that is worth seeing through to the end, or if you are better off walking away and not wasting your time.

It has been my experience that the very best recruiters can answer the following questions (see below) and therefore as a job seeker you know you are dealing with a competent recruiter and thus, a legitimate opportunity and organization. So next time you are contacted by a recruiter and/or begin the process, make sure to ask these questions so you can determine whether you have an opportunity and an organization worth pursuing:

  1. How did this opening become available/why is this position open?
  2. Do you have a job description or performance profile for this position?
  3. What is the salary range?
  4. How is success measured for this position?
  5. Who does the position report to?
  6. Can you describe their management style?
  7. When are you looking to have someone start?
  8. What is the next step/are the next steps in the hiring process?
  9. How would you describe the organizational culture at Company XYZ? Is this the same or different from the departmental culture where this position fits?
  10. What will the three biggest challenges for someone in this position during the first 3/6/12 months.

Bonus question: What job/position is considered to be the next logical progression from this one?

(I never said HR people could count!)

If candidates came armed with these questions it would better help them flush out the right opportunities. I have never met a competent recruiter who couldn’t answer ALL ten of these.   If the person you are dealing with cannot answer all 10, be very wary of what you might be getting yourself into. Bottom line is that the job interview process needs to be one of mutual exchange. The candidate questions are just as important as the recruiter questions.   In fact, when I am recruiting and interviewing, a great deal of information is gleaned from candidates when they ask questions of me and in fact, their line of questioning (or lack thereof) can often make the difference (in their favour) during the selection process. So job-seekers print off this blog post and take these questions with you next time you interview for a position – you will be glad you did. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Photo courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Responses

  1. I like this Scott. Very succinct.

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