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Turn the Table on the Job Interviewer at Your Own Peril

Hiring managers may have you in mind for other jobs than you the one you are interviewing for, so don't second guess the interview, says Career Hub's Louise Fletcher.

Asking smart questions is vital to a good job interview performance, but asking the wrong questions can convince a hiring manager to cross your name off the list of candidates.

What’s your pet peeve in an employee?

The blog Clue Wagon recommends a job seeker ask a potential manager this question during a job interview. “This is a great question to ask your potential boss. You may save each other a lot of grief.” (8 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview)

It might also cause you some grief. Asking smart questions is vital to a good job interview performance, but asking the wrong questions can convince a hiring manager to cross your name off the list of candidates, said Mitch Beck, president of Crossroads Consulting, an executive search firm and employment agency, who spoke to TheLadders for Interview Questions Candidates Should Ask.

“Stay away from questions that aren’t going to help you any,” said Crossroads Consulting’s Beck. “Getting into somebody’s personal life is really of no interest. Asking whether someone is pro- or anti-Obama is not a good question to ask. I would stay away from questions about salary. I would stay away from questions about benefits. You want to ask questions that are relevant to the job and to the opportunity that you are being presented with.”

It is important to understand the culture of an organization before you join it, but Some questions about personalities are better left for after you’ve been hired, said Beck and others.

Now, ask the questions you didn’t, or couldn’t, ask during the interview. The ones that will help you do everything from effectively managing your budget to knowing what to wear on Fridays. It’s also your chance to find out about the culture and personality of the company at a level of detail that would have appeared presumptuous to ask during the interview phase. But job seekers still need to respect protocol and mind their manners in approaching their future co-workers and managers, experts said.

“The first thing I would tell people is keep it positive,” said Cheryl Palmer, a certified executive career coach and the founder of Call to Career. “For example, ask a co-worker, ‘What do you like most about the boss?’ Don’t ask, ‘What do you hate about the boss?’ When you’re first starting out, you want to be on good terms with everybody.”

For more on job interview questions:

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Discussion

3 comments for “Turn the Table on the Job Interviewer at Your Own Peril”

  1. I’m confused. Your lead mentions my post, and then you go on to say that might advice might cause job seekers some grief.

    However, nothing in the rest of your posts indicates why you feel this way. Both of the people you quote discuss asking about other things–not behaviors that irritate a manager in an employee.

    Can you help me understand the disconnect?

    Posted by Kerry at Clue Wagon | November 11, 2009, 7:00 pm
  2. Anyone?

    I’m working on a post about this, and I’d really like to try to understand your point of view before I publish it.

    Posted by Kerry at Clue Wagon | November 13, 2009, 9:49 am
  3. Hi Clue Wagon,
    We were not trying to contradict your post, but pointing out some expert guidance that advises more caution. We relied on two expert opinions as sources for the story – yourself and Mitch Beck – to provide a balanced analysis for readers.

    Mitch Beck, quoted in the other article I referenced counseled readers to stear clear of questions about personality until after you’ve been hired. “What’s your pet peeve in an employee?” seemed to be a question of personal management style that might fall into that category.

    Thanks for understanding and thanks for reading.

    Posted by John Hazard | November 13, 2009, 12:37 pm

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