Sunday, August 24, 2014

Interview Warning Signs That You Shouldn't Take the Job

College career centers are good at helping grads out with résumé building, how to dress to impress, how to prepare for common interview questions, basically focus on Just Getting the Job.  

You get drilled on this before graduating college and not much else

but they don't emphasize on how to interview your potential employers and educating entry level job seekers on signs that you shouldn't take the job!

Not just any job will do!

Because once you get into a job and discover your boss Jekyll is actually Hyde, it will be very hard to transfer or get promoted internally, on top of being miserable with your job.

If you want to enter into a job that is free of bullying, harassment, discrimination, office politics, corruption, and bad managers, you need to ask the questions that matter!  

Here are 14 questions you MUST ask at interviews with signs to look out for so you can gain better insight of whether or not you should take the job.

When it's your turn to answer questions, the first question must always be:

Why is this position open?

A great answer would be that it is a new position.  
But that's not enough though, ask: 

Why this new position?  

If the answer is pretty much to the extent of 

"No one wants to do this task so we will hire someone to do it" 
then that's a red flag! 

You don't want a manager who is just hiring only for the task at hand.  
If so, the manager is being short sighted and not thinking in the best interest of the candidate or his team.  

Hiring is an investment for the manager, his/her team and especially you, the candidate.  

Good managers want someone that not only can do the job but can grow into their job :-) 

If the position is a replacement, ask:

What was the reason 
for the employee leaving?

Great answer is that the employee got promoted internally as a manager like they are.   

It is especially good if that former employee interviews you in the second round because the hiring manager has nothing to hide. 

The employee leaving for an external position is a red flag - because the two reasons to leave a company is (1) the pay sucks or (2) the manager sucks (overwhelming majority of the time).  Do you want to be paid peanuts and/or work for an emotional terrorist?

The employee making a lateral transfer can be a red flag.  They didn't like the job or the manager or  both.  

The employee that received a promotion but didn't interview you in your subsequent interviews is a red flag - he/she got promoted solely because that manager is a jerk and the company didn't want that employee to leave so that employee got promoted in order not to report to that manager. 

But you're not done asking questions to get a better insight whether or not you should take the job. 

How often 
has this position been filled?  

Depending on the scope of the job, turnover can be a red flag and especially if those employees moved on to external positions. 

What is training like?

If the hiring manager tells you they hope you pick up quickly within 6 weeks to 3 months but later in the interview says they don't want you to transfer for a year even though company policy says you can transfer internally in 6 months that is a red flag.  That manager doesn't know how to train and perhaps never did your job you're interviewing for.  

How do you evaluate 
job performance for new hires? 

How do you evaluate your team?  

How is your team evaluated? 

Each manager and company has different standards but pay attention if the hiring manager dances around the question.  You want to look for consistency and equitability for all three questions.  You don't want a manager that plays favorites and you want a manager that takes responsibility and accountability for the performance and welfare of the team they manage.   

How long you've been 
with the company? 

How long you've been 
managing your team for?

Not a red flag if that manager hasn't  been in the role too long but if she/he hadn't given good responses to your other questions - that manager wasn't promoted and/or hired for the right reasons. 

How long have your 
team members worked for you? 

How long they've 
been with the company? 

The longer the better in both questions.  Shows that they like working for that manager and the team they are in.   

*Update 1/6/2014 You may also want to ask this:

Tell me more about your team you manage...what was the number of team members you were responsible for when you became manager and the number of team members you currently manage? 

You want to be wary and find out why if the number decreased.  People quit or request to work under a different manager when a new manager sucks.  The senior manager isn't about to let that manager get demoted because it would prove she/he made a very bad hiring decision and just let that bad manager supervise 2 people instead of the 5 people managed. 

Because the interviewer will be impressed that you had well thought out questions than the other job candidates--good chances you will be invited the second round.  :-D

Ask the same questions above to corroborate your previous responses. Corroboration is so important! Different responses and/or inconsistency to same questions can uncover more red flags.  In addition remember to ask

What is it like 
working for this manager?

You can find out a lot just by asking this question because bad managers and their current employees dance around this important question.  
Good managers are honest about the areas they are constantly working on to improve - not just the areas where they excel.  They care and stand up for their team, not use them and the management position as a springboard for the next promotion. 

What are some qualities you like
 about this manager?

I asked this to two prospective employers in which I got offers from.   Cha-ching!
I accepted the offer that had the best answer.  Good answers came easily with MANY specific examples in which I loved and was sold on.  I was confident going in that I would be working for a wonderful boss who would look out for my best interests as well as my teammates and in turn, we do everything we can to deliver superior service and results.  

The weaker response was "So and so is loyal".  
That's it?

I didn't want to work for a manager whose only good quality is being "loyal".  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back at Work after Baby

I'm late in announcing...I'm Back At work!  I returned to full time employment when Baby was 6 months old.  I stayed home 11 months. 

FAQ (aka Questions by Me and Answered by Me in my blog)

Which is harder - Stay at home mom or working mom? I think both are super hard if you don't have your husband to help you out at home.  Caring for young children is a full time job with very little to no flexibility for breaks or other home responsibilities unless another adult steps in to help.

The bulk of laundry, cooking, and cleaning got completed once my husband got home from work when I was home full-time.  One of us tended to our child while the other did whatever needed to be done.  If she was asleep we both would clean and cook together and maybe if we were lucky, watch a show on TV together.  

This hasn't changed since I returned to work full time nearly four months ago.

Where are you working now?

At one of the best companies on the planet - American Express.  

This is a great company for working parents to look into.    
(Opinions on this blog are my own, not of American Express)

Do you still nurse?  Yes!! I'm so happy about that since I had such a rough start when she was born.  Being at an extremely woman friendly employer helped to continue with nursing.  More on that later. 

Guilty?   Nope.  It made perfect sense to do this for our family at this time.  Just like it made perfect sense over a year ago to stay home during pregnancy. 

Who watches your kid?  Someone we absolutely trust and come to love like family.   

Were you bored at home?  Never.  This is the biggest lie ever - that staying home is boring.  
I always had things to do, and still have things to do - especially with my baby!

Are you sad about missing firsts?  At home I missed my baby's first rollover and then some while she was a newborn because I was sleep deprived enough to where I hallucinated that cats were everywhere in the house.  Babies are unpredictable and do what they want whenever they want to, not just from 8-5pm, M-F.  

Babies discover and do new things everyday and every thing a baby does each day is awesome.  It is really amazing as a parent to witness.