DiceTV: Three Questions To Ask During an Interview

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJXfztOfrVw?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=349]

The best interviews are really conversations. The company wants to know if this is the right fit – and so do you. After all, work makes up a good portion of your life, so any organization or team you may join has to meet some of your basic needs. Here’s a few seed  questions that can reveal aspects of the job and the company that you might not otherwise get. Watch our video, or click here for more.

32 Responses to “DiceTV: Three Questions To Ask During an Interview”

  1. I need to share a story.

    In a recent interview, I asked the “why did the last person leave” question. The Interviewer became physically upset as he described the last person. He actually turned on me, as if I were that person. It really brought out the psycho in what could have been my future boss.

    It’s a good question. I like the second question Cat mentioned too. I’m not so sure about the last one (describe the perfect candidate one). The interviewer is likely to regurgitate the job posting. A smart interviewer is going to see your summary as a load of BS. It might make more sense,early on, to ask the interviewer if there are any additions he/she would like to see in the job description.

  2. Bill – your assumption is that the narrative IS BS, and i don’t think that was the intent of the video. The goal of your narrative, or summary is to highlight the experience in your background that matches the employers needs. Of course, if you do not feel you are a good match, then no need to summarize accordingly. That being said, i do like your alternative question as well. And yes, you are right on the regurgitation – but that in itself can give you a nice opportunity to summarize.

  3. Um… you didn’t really think the girl in the video actually created that video clip, did you ? 😉 🙂

    Naturally, she’s just a pretty face. The point is in what the actual creator put in her mouth, and that makes very good sense, to me at least.

  4. January 28, 2010

    Recently I went on three interviews for jobs that were posted “immeditate hire”. I had already took their online test, which showed I was more than able to meet the demands of the position. I have heard nothing from these interviews. One interviewer had already had her mind made up before we sat down.
    I followed up on these interviews, with no reponse.
    I have found that most of these ads that are posted on the web as immediate hire are false.

    • Tamara Wisenbaker

      I have done all these things also, furthermore every position that was posted as ASAP- truly was not. I would hear nothing ,no phone calls ,emails ,nothing. Then months later after going to work elsewhere, I would get a call that they decided to hire me, and I’m like this says a lot about their concepts regarding time and management.

    • Chelseags

      Maurean, Do you mean you had already TAKEN their online test? How you speak means a lot to a hiring manager, especially if you’ll be in a customer or public facing position. The education system has failed you, but if you’ll put some quality time into learning and practicing proper grammar, you will see some real opportunities open up to you. I have no way to tell you this privately, but I hope you’ll accept this suggestion in the kind and encouraging spirit in which it’s meant. There are vast, free resources on the Internet to help you. I’ve spent a lot of time reading classic literature, testing grammar skills, and reading correct grammar aloud (to make sure speaking correctly would be natural) in order to move ahead professionally and it was time well spent. No one who speaks incorrectly will notice the changes you’re making (unless you tell them, your friends won’t even notice.), but those who may want to hire you will notice when your grammar is correct.

  5. As for the question of why there is an opening, I have been told stretched truths several times. As best as I can tell if the person you are really replacing left on their own, and it has been more than 3 months, companies like to say it is a new position.

    I agree with Tim and his question ‘Do you have any doubts about my ability to perform in this position?’. I learned it recently, and used it twice. Both times I got the response that it was a great question. The first interview would have choosen me, but someone lived a LOT closer, they liked me better but given the distance they felt the other guy was a safer bet. The second one I accepted the job.

    I also like Tims other question: ‘What obstacles will I have to overcome in this position?’

  6. Eric Levinson

    I’m a Senior IT Manager and have been working with personal computers and the Internet since 1980, and the Web when it was invented in 1992. I’ve seen the evolution of job boards go from really helpful to junk.

    Most job boards are junk now (sorry to say, including Dice). I’ve done some testing with sentinel email addresses and I get all sorts of spam and unrelated employment “offers” which are phony. In addition, I find that many employers post jobs that they really don’t have – they are using it as a means to properly adjust salaries and job descriptions of employees they have.
    Although in my last job search, I sent out 50 resumes via DICE, Monster and Career Builder and never got one response from any of them, even with a professionally developed resume. Do I know if the employer is even getting the application? No!
    The jobs I am finding are from word of mouth, friends, recruiters and social networking, like linkedin.com
    My advice? Don’t rely solely on job boards. Networking and keeping an updated linkedin profile with references should be mostly what you do to land that perfect job. Job boards are then icing on the cake.

  7. Michael Lustig

    Cat, you missed the most important question: “Have I answered all of your questions satisfactorily?” I also ask “What are the next steps and when can I expect to hear from you?” The point is to try to close the job during the interview.

  8. Fran Blauw

    Hi, Cat,

    I have been out there looking for a WHILE. My job is very specific and no one ever describes it in the same way. I’ve gone out to a million advice sites on the Internet, and some have been helpful, but it gets so boring that sometimes I don’t think I take away as much as I could. I LOVE your site. The first few times I went was just because yours is so much more interesting than others. You list your points slowly and methodically and even provide graphics, but I don’t feel as though I’m being talked down to at all. I feel like I’m being entertained. And I like the little humor you throw in every now and then. Now I watch all the time and realize I really do learn important information from you. I wish everyone could make their advice as entertaining. You have even inspired me to put my resume in a slide show format. (I guess it’s more of a cover letter. They view that and then see my more traditional resume.) Anyway, thanks so much for being informational AND entertaining.

  9. Hi Cat,

    Here is a follow on question to why the position is vacant and if the previous employee was fired: ¿What obstacles will I have to overcome in this position?¿ If the interviewer is forthcoming in revealing you will discover challenges you will face. You can ask yourself, will I be able to overcome the challenges?

    Also, have you ever walked out of an interview knowing you are perfect for the job but never heard back from them? So, how do you know if the interviewer thinks you are perfect for the job? If at the end of the interview you¿ve decided you want the position there is one final question. Do you have any doubts about my ability to perform in this position? It could be that the interviewer has in his/her mind that you aren¿t qualified. This question will draw out any doubts and you will now have a chance to overcome them. You may have a skill that is completely transferable to the skill they are looking for but the interviewer may not be aware of it. After you overcome the first doubt, you have to ask, ¿Do you have any more doubts?¿

    After all doubts have been overcome I usually reply, that I am ready to start. This is your way of telling the interviewer you want the job.

  10. More questions: Have you ever walked out of an interview knowing you are perfect for the job but never heard back from them? So, how do you know if the interviewer thinks you are perfect for the job? If at the end of the interview you¿ve decided you want the position there is one final question. Do you have any doubts about my ability to perform in this position? It could be that the interviewer has in his/her mind that you aren¿t qualified. This question will draw out any doubts and you will now have a chance to overcome them. You may have a skill that is completely transferable to the skill they are looking for but the interviewer may not be aware of it. After you overcome the first doubt, you have to ask, ¿Do you have any more doubts?¿

    After all doubts have been overcome I usually reply, that I am ready to start. This is your way of telling the interviewer you want the job.

  11. The second question is very important. I would never have imagined that there are companies that are run so terribly. I wish had asked it before accepting the job I currently have. There was absolutely no in boarding process or plan whatsoever. The person I report to is so technically clueless and hands off, he might as well be heading the department tethered to a post on the moon. The senior staff do whatever the hell they like because they have the clout to do so. I was left at the mercy of these cranky, irritable senior staff who would rather just do the stuff themselves than bother to guide me. I will never accept another position in an unfamiliar industry or technology without a comprehensive answer to the second question.

  12. De Anna Fench

    Great questions and advice! I am a freelance designer and writer. In a recent meeting for a potential client, I met with four individuals from the company. I wanted to ask why the previous contract was no longer on the project, but as the interview progressed, that question was very clear… All of the people I met with were at least 20 minutes late. I only waited because two of the people were the company’s CEOs. It was a great discussion. .. But the three hour interview really showed me the company dynamics. One of the CEOs even asked if I ‘lived alone’???? **red flag**

  13. Hector Hardrock

    One of my favorite questions is, “How is the morale of the staff right now?” The answer can be quite revealing as to the relationship between the employer (your potential boss) and his subordinates. It’s actually kind of a trick question and requires the interviewee to pay close attention to the interviewer’s body language and his/her reply. This can sometimes catch an interviewer off-guard and reveal problems before hiring on.

  14. The three questions are really excellent. Here is my new on the job “true story”.

    After starting the new job, I was given the key to the front door but not told there was a hidden security camera as well as other security devices in the building. Usually the first person through the front door has a code which is used to deactiviate the security alarm for the rest of the day. So one day I was the first through the front door but of course without any code to deactiviate the security alarm.

    This event was followed by a difficult talk with company management as to why I was not more security aware.

  15. Ken bolton

    The first question is always something in the back of my head after the interview. It is a question that will be on my list now that I know it is a smart question to ask the interviewer. Especially after I take the job and find out the reasons people have left. My job searching gives me an idea if its a good company. I have been always searching even when employed and the same dozen of companies are hiring every year. That tells me alot about the company .Thanks for the input.

  16. I recently had a career counseler suggest a pre-closing question of “What more would you need to know about me in order to offer me this position?”. He considered this a better alternative to asking what would prevent them from offering the position, as the latter question asks them to think of objections, while his question asks them to think about hiring you.

  17. I already ask all of these questions.

    One I find very helpful that not only can shed some light on on-boarding but can also help align initial expectations for performance. “What do you see this role accomplishing in the first 30, 60 and 90 days?” …I’ve been in a series of interviews where I have asked this question of everyone involved in the interview process and have gotten answers that were all over the place…your main concern is the response from those who will be evaluating you and those to whom you will be reporting…if they line up…that’s great news for you!

  18. This woman knows nothing about interviewing people, she is just an actress in a commercial. That’s all this is…

    C’mon people, I googled Cat Miller, this is what came up. ……she is an actor, singer, and dancer for over 20 years. As a choreographer and dancer, Cat received her training at the Broadway Dance Center in New York where she had the privilege to study under such luminaries as Frank Hatchett and Gregory Hines. She has many choreography and stage acting credits to her name. Cat is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has worked in television and feature films. She can be seen as “Preggers” in the grindhouse flick Shadow: Dead Riot and is the owner/director of the Terpsichorean Repertory Company. Currently, she is the spokeswoman for Dice.com.

  19. This advice says: “Oh look how stupid I am. I’m not interested in this job but only in the way how to keep it and how I’ll be treated. I’m bold enough to ask why the hell did you fire last person. Hey describe me what the perfect person for you then. ” The perfect candidate – question is one what interviewer usually ask you. So you won’t even get a chance to open your mouth. This video “advice” is slammed door in the front of your nose of the might only one chance to get the job.

  20. I strongly disagree on asking the “why did the last person leave” and the “what will my work day/week/month be”.

    Most often the person you are replacing either had a conflict with the boss, or left for a better position. In both situations, the hiring manager or boss is very likely to have mixed feelings or outright anger (as in Bill’s comments) at that “last person”.
    Additionally, it takes the focus off of you, the candidate, where you are there to sell yourself, and not have your potential boss regurgitate any potential bad feelings.

    The other question I feel could be misinterpted by the boss as being a question of your unwillingness (or even laziness) to give the job your total effort. I have never asked this, instead I prefer to constanly reassure the hiring manager that I’m always willing to give 110% effort at all times.

    Let me know what your thoughts are!

  21. Mike, the first question can reveal the boss’s expectations which you may find beyond what you want to provide. He may comment that the person wouldn’t work over 50 hrs a week or that they took lunch everyday. I think the second question was specifically about what the FIRST day, week, month would look like so you can assess their level of expectation. Like the video said, do they expect you to sink or swim, will they offer some mentoring; “on-boarding”.

  22. I thought Cat’s suggestions were excellent. However, while she suggests that we ask the interviewer what is a typical work day, week and month like, I have asked one more question in regards to this question, i.e., “What pending issues must be immediately addressed if I were to be hired?” This will also give the interviewees the opportunity to (1) show that they have the skills to immediately address issues which need quick resolution, and (2) the opportunity to cite examples from their past work experience.

  23. Tim gave some excellent questions to ask during an interview!! I willl definitely use them. I had one interview that went very well and was told i was a great candidate. I thought I would be offered the position but was told they offered it to someone who had more experience in a particular skill. If i had asked the question that Tim suggested “Do you have any doubts about my ablity to perform in this position” I probably would have been offered the job instead. Big thanks again to Tim!

  24. I have used “Why is there a vacancy?” as apposed to personality-type questions to diffuse the negative feelings expressed above.Sure, I likely do not get an honest answer, but it depends on body language and eye contact if I am getting at least a partial truth. I also have used “What is a typical day in this position like?” which gets you the real gist of the job and, depending on who you talk to (HR vs. department head), a peek at the culture in this department.

    Either way, I agree you must close with something that lets them know you want this job without appearing too needy. I have actually tried the “What would stop you from hiring me for this position?”, but I think this is unsettling to the interviewer. I try to always have something to add at the end that will make me stand out. No, I have not landed yet and have a couple of jobs on the back burner that will not likely come to the next step until after Jan 1st, but I am applying right on throught the holidays. I highly recommend it. I may have just broke into Medline without a degree through a SMV WERC contact, so here’s hoping!
    Good luck to all and to new beginnings in 2011.

  25. Pong. LOL

    These are all great question. Thanks. I like the first one two the best. I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I had thought of that at the first place I was hired out of college. What a dysfunctional place that was. The manager had hired all of her drinking buddies to senior positions, which created a mine field of office politics. I can’t believe I lasted 6 years there. At one point the employees were praying for one of her friends to get hit by a bus. The turn around was like a revolving door for developers. These ‘geniuses’ were masters at micromanaging every pixel that rendered the graphics team completely impotent. We actually threw a party when she got pregnant and left for 3 months. A few years ago they called me to ask if I was interested in coming back for a new contract. I had to ask them 3 times if that was a joke.