Questions to Impress the Hiring Manager

Posted on October 16, 2010


By John Heaney on September 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Let’s face it, the person you need to impress the most during the job interview process is the manager you’re going to be working for. They are the only ones who can say those magic words,” You’re hired. When can you start?”
From the hiring manager’s perspective they are looking to determine three things.

  1. Are you capable of doing the job?
  2. Do you want to do this job?
  3. Will you fit in with the organization if I hire you?

Now there’s not much I can do to help you demonstrate that you have the skills to do the job they’re looking for. You either have the skills and experience the hiring manager’s looking for or you don’t.
However asking the right questions and showing enthusiasm and interest can help you demonstrate that you want the job with their company and that you’ll fit in with the chemistry and culture of their organization.
The most common reason for being dropped from a hiring manager’s hot list is the lack of any personal chemistry or rapport with the interviewer during the job interview. If their assessment is that you’re qualified but you simply wouldn’t fit in with their team, then you’re not going to get a job offer.
Most hiring managers believe they have an intuitive sense of who will and won’t perform well and fit in with the rest of their workgroup. However most managers aren’t formally trained to interview candidates and rely on personal intuition and subjective interpretation to select candidates.
So, your primary job during the interview with the hiring manager is to overcome their interview deficiencies and help the interviewer focus on how your unique skills can directly benefit the organization, convey your enthusiasm for the position, and engage the interviewer through thoughtful and astute questions.
Starting with a set of basic questions that can include:

  • Can you explain the company’s organizational chart?
  • Can you give me a more detailed understanding of what my days might be like?
  • What are the specific challenges that you’re facing right now?
  • What are the department’s specific objectives for the next three months/six months/one year?
  • Why is the position open?

These leading questions should open up a variety of avenues for you to ask more probing questions that will help you truly establish whether you are interested in the company. The interview is a two-way street. You’re not there simply to sell yourself but to determine if you’re sold on the company.
Some of the more probing questions could include

  • What are the things you’d like to see changed in your department/division/company?
  • Are there plans for new products or services that I should know about?
  • How is his job and performed in the past?
  • What you see is the key goals for the company during the next year? For my department? For this job?
  • How do you see my role in evolving in the first two years?
  • What do you think my biggest challenge will be if I start working here?

Now, even if you’re comfortable with the job, the department and the company you should never underestimate the importance of the company culture and how you’ll mesh with it. So you should also ask questions that will determine whether you’ll be a comfortable fit with their organization. These would include:

  • How would you describe your management style? Would you say it’s similar to others in the organization or would you consider yourself a bit of a maverick?
  • In your experience what particular types of people do you seem to work best with?
  • What particular traits do you value most in your subordinates?
  • What kinds of people seem to succeed in this company?
  • What have you enjoyed most about working here?
  • What have you like least?

The answers to these questions do several things. First they help you define yourself according to the attributes of manager cites so you can position yourself as the ideal candidate possessing all the traits are looking for.
These questions should also give you a good sense of the values of the organization and the hiring manager and whether you’d be a good fit with both.
The important thing to remember is that asking cogent and insightful questions makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates and enhances the perception of your qualifications for the job.
Although you may assume that every candidate is prepared to ask intelligent questions, you’d be wrong. I get constant feedback from hiring managers who are shocked by the number of job candidates who don’t ask a single question during the interview. And not one of them gets a job offer.
By engaging in intelligent conversation with the interviewer you’ll separate yourself from the pack, make a sterling impression and hopefully get the chance to answer one final question, “When can you start?”

About the Job Shopper

Back in 1959, when NESCO erected its first drafting tables in an empty laundromat and hired its first designers and drafters, the firm was known to its clients as a job shop. A job shop provided contract support to its clients, performing design and drafting tasks that the client’s own staff couldn’t accommodate.

Those intrepid engineers, designers and drafters toiling away on job after job, and frequently moving from city to city, were known industry wide as job shoppers.

These job shoppers picked up the slack when a company’s’ workload grew too great, brought expertise to companies short on technical talent, and enabled companies to maintain their innovative edge and fulfill their production capacity.

The staffing industry has changed during the last 50 years – NESCO grew to become NESCO Resource – but the role of the resolute job shopper remains essential to our company and our clients.

That’s why we named this staffing blog for them. To recognize the contribution of their talent, their expertise and their time.

Posted in: Interviewing