More than any other aspect of your job, your direct supervisor has the power to make or break you. Research has shown most people that leave their jobs, don’t leave the organization, they leave the person that they directly reported to. If this person is the biggest indicator of how successful you will be in your new work, shouldn’t you know as much as you can about him or her?
Talk to people within the company.
Ask detailed questions during the interview. (What type of person do you like to work with? Describe a time when you had to discipline one of your staff. If I talked to your staff, what would they tell me about you?)
“The traditional interview questions do not allow a candidate to demonstrate their uniqueness, personality, or dynamic skillsets,” explains Shara Senderoff of Intern Sushi, “I love to catch candidates off guard with the following:
What color is your personality? This gives me a look into how a candidate views themselves without having to ask them for a list of adjectives. When you ask in this manner, you can identify traits about the candidate based on social interpretations of colors that may not have been apparent in that first interview, even when you can’t get a candidate to go into depth with his or her answer. I’ve also found this to be a great lead in question because it relaxes the candidate and allow them to think outside-of-the-box.
Tell me three things you could do with a brick. This always lends itself to very original thinking and believe it or not, demonstrates experience and maturity or lack thereof. At this point I could create a list of over 100 unique responses and with each response I can understand how an individual thinks and what they’ve been through.”
Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, “What Questions Do You Have For Us?”
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, it’s your opportunity to show them how much insight, moxie, and knowledge you have stored up. Here’s your playbook.
If I started tomorrow, what’s the first project you’d want me to tackle?
Beyond showing how you’d hit the ground running—and helping the interviewer to picture you doing so—this question will preview what the working state of the gig is like.
What are the must-have personality traits for this position?
This question will help you further fill in your forecast: Self-starting might mean you have little guidance; collaborative may mean you’ll be mired in meetings. Also, Gregorio notes, ask this will help the interviewer crack his or her robo-scanning and see you as a whole person.
What would you like to see more from in this position?
Ask this and you’ll learn why the last guy lost the gig—plus get a fuller picture of what your potential employer counts as success. (Then, when you get the job, make those goals happen.)
Do you like it here?
"This question might take interviewers back a bit," Gregorio says, "but their answer will be telling." If they respond with an automatic yes! then you’re probably entering into a positive culture (or talking to someone in denial), and if they look askance and search for meaning, chances are there’s a storm a-brewing beneath the interview-y sheen.
Why would I not be a fit for this job?
Inviting a critique shows you can handle feedback, Gregorio says, and it lets the interviewers give voice to any worries they might have about you.