Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Is This the Right Boss for You?

Christian and Timbers

How do you know if your boss is honest? The answer is in asking him or her the right questions that deal with decisions involving honesty and integrity according to Jeffrey Christian, author of "The Headhunter's to get the best jobs and the best people," on sale August 27th and published by Random House.

Christian noted, "The purpose of an interview is a two-way street. A prospective boss wants to see what you are made of, but you having interviewing rights as well. You have the right to see what the boss and company are made of too. So, interview the interviewer.

"Ask questions that dig into the morals of the individual. Ask your potential boss how he or she solved problems that deal with the gray areas and be prepared to listen 80 percent of the time. You have to step away and see if this person's answer makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable. What you want to do throughout the conversation is to have your integrity antenna up. Everybody has the ability to intuitively sense when someone is telling the truth -- but they don't always listen because they want to believe the company is a good one," he said.

Mr. Christian suggested the following questions as a mere jumping off point to determine honesty and ascertain the corporate climate:

1. If your boss is a sales manager, ask him or her what they did to pull out all the stops to make quota at the end of quarter. Or ask them what techniques they've used to steal a major account from one of their competitors at the 11th hour. If they're a service-oriented firm, ask how often they come in on budget and time. This would give you some insight into pricing, timing, delivery issues and how they keep promises.

2. Ask if you can speak to, as a reference, people that have left the company under cloudy circumstances or who have quit. If they don't provide it, get it on your own. They should view your due diligence as positive. If not, it's a signal that they have something to hide.

3. Ask 'What is the culture at the company?' Then ask, 'Is that where you want the company culture to be, or is that where it is today?' 'And if it's not where you want to be, what are you doing to get there?' In the same vein, ask them for their elevator pitch about the company. Does the description evoke the ideal culture at the company?

"After asking these questions sit back and ask yourself, 'Does this person's morals align with mine? Do, I like him or her? And, is this a company that is honest and forthright?' Reading between the lines of a perspective boss's answers will give you the answer if this is the place and the boss for you," Mr. Christian advised.