We Get Real AF

Ep 85: Profesh Sesh - Interview Questions YOU Should Be Asking

August 11, 2021 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 2 Episode 85
We Get Real AF
Ep 85: Profesh Sesh - Interview Questions YOU Should Be Asking
Show Notes Transcript

Vanessa, Sue, & Alisa talk about important interview questions YOU should be asking a potential employer. 

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Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

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Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean  

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Technical Director: Mitchell Machado

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Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite

Artist: Rachel K. Collier

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Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta

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Cover Artwork Photo Credit: Alice Moore 

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Vanessa Alava  

Today, we're going to be covering a really interesting topic that was brought up by one of our awesome guests, Ursula Mead, with InHerSite. She said that there's this interesting situation where people don't have certain questions written down, per se, when they're going into an interview, like, questions that they didn't know, they should be asking. So we thought that we should cover that with Alisa. What are these questions that people can write down right now tangible advice, that you may not even consider in your interview that you should be asking your potential employer, Alisa, take it away for us?

 

Alisa Walters 

Yeah, it's interesting that because when we go into an interview, right, and I think we're all still getting used to this idea that we are interviewing the company to just as much as they are interviewing us. And I think in that interview, with the interviewer asking the candidate the question, and really being the one who facilitates that conversation, he the I think the interviewer may feel that I think, and this may just be a very generalized thought that they're going to learn as much as they can. And they'll have questions as they go. But what ends up happening with a lot of people is that when they walk away from the interview, they may be talking to a spouse or a friend, where the interview where they say, Well, did you find out about this? And you're like, Well, no. As and you feel? Well, why didn't I ask that question? So I think this is really important to call out that when you have an interview, I'm going to start very broadly here, is there there are specific things if you don't get the clarity from the interviewer. And no matter how many stages these are questions to ask along the way. You need to ask about the job, you need to ask about the interviewer, how they got started in the role. Ask about any kind of training that what the training process is going to look like when you start this role, additional training and development while you're with the company, ask about what the performance review is like, How are your goals and your metrics measured? And what does that performance mean, in terms of going back to growth and development, potential raises and compensation increases? asked about the company. And, and I'll get into specific questions. But I really just kind of from a broad perspective, the company, the culture, what the team looks like, what the next steps are going to be like, and really get a full picture. So that you know what you're you say you can gather that information to make the decision as to if this is an organization that you want to work for.

 

Sue Robinson 

I think this is such an important topic. I have a daughter who literally just had a second round of interviews today, she just graduated from college and, and her whole focus is on what are they going to ask me? And what's my answer going to be? Right? Which I think is very, very typical. And to Vanessa's point, and Ursula needs point, there are things that you think about later on, you're like, Oh, I wish I had asked that. And one of the things that Ursula brought up to us was how important and in fulfilling and feeling fulfilled in a job it is to know that you can go to your manager with issues you can you feel supported. These these are less tangible qualities of a work environment that are such important factors in job satisfaction. Elisa, could you help us understand how to ask those kinds of questions tactically, you know, as far as like, manager support and a sense of belonging? How does the company provide a sense of belonging to employees because those are squishy things, but they're things that really actually make a big difference, especially to women.

 

Alisa Walters 

Absolutely. And I love that. That's one of the things that Ursula really points out is when you can actually That question of how do your employees, as a manager feel supported in an everyday environment? And I think something as general as asking a question, when you are at that stage, when you're talking to who will be your manager, your direct supervisor, asking that question, how do you as a manager, support in a management way? As How do you support your team? from a management perspective? What's your approach? What's your management style? How do you approach conflict resolution and things like that, and using those things of team building conflict resolution, managing expectations of all of the people reporting into them, and get a sense of what their management style is going to be in that that question, you're going to get an answer that's really going to be very telling. And I think that, you know, we've talked a lot about communication style that I think you will gather in their answer is, is this going to be an empathetic, assertive manager, who's really going to listen to the needs of the team?

 

Vanessa Alava  

So true. And to your point, Sue, with, with Kayla going and interviewing and thinking of what are they going to ask me, I need to have these really professional answers prepared, but what are the questions that she needs to be asking too, is scary, right? Because again, we've been conditioned to think you need to present your best self. You know, it's all about the employer asking you But again, we advocate on the show to really step up your game about supporting yourself in these interviews and being prepared. And I would say that as scary as it is to ask all of these questions, because again, we've been conditioned to not ask questions and just nod and say yes, right, like, yep, you will stand out in an interview, like, you're gonna walk out, and they're gonna say, Wow, they were prepared, they asked really good questions that they probably haven't heard from anyone else. So if you really want to make a splash at your interview, like, have these questions and advocate for yourself just as much as they're advocating for their company,

 

Sue Robinson 

it's not an audition. It's a conversation. Yes. Big, big difference. So you have to make that mindset shift. However, you don't know what you don't know. Right? And so for somebody, like, coming right out of college, what are some other questions Alisa? Or some other considerations that they should ask about? What will make that job really feel like a good fit for them? 

 

Alisa Walters 

you want to find out along the way, in your interview process, how long somebody spoke with a company, what do they like about working for the company? ask about the company culture. ask about a typical day, so they get an understanding of what some of the typical projects might look like? ask about growth and development. If you're starting, especially entry level, is there room for growth and upward mobility? Does this company have a training program that's going to support this person's growth and development with the company asked about changes within the company? Is this the company as it is today? Do they anticipate that the company is going to look like this? Or how is the company going to look in five years from now? What is the long term goal of this company and the vision and the product that the company might be putting out there? You know, I also I talk to a lot of entry level folks for news roles within our organization. And I'm realizing that so many young people coming out of school are so data driven the data points to follow. And maybe I'm just I am just not one of those people, but somebody who needs to know where they're at throughout whether it's a quarter, every six months, but also getting an understand how, you know, what are the goals and metrics that they're going to have to accomplish? it? How is this role is this role going to evolve change? Is there opportunity to bring other people into support? Are you the only one doing the job getting All of those things because you also don't want to be that entry level person coming in and hustling so hard that you burn out. And you never want to be in that industry again. Right? Right. So I think it's important to just get an idea of the job in and of itself, where this person sees the new hire in six months, and what what those accomplishments are going to be growth, growth, growth, professional development, training, and really get a sense of why this person chose this company, what their favorite things are describing the culture and describing the team.

 

Vanessa Alava  

So Alisa, how do you walk the line and ask tactfully? You know, these types of questions when it comes to training, development, potential raises and increases and bonuses, when we've talked in the past about being being mindful in how you project yourself, because you don't want someone thinking, they're just thinking of the next thing versus the job at hand. So how do you tactfully walk that line of being interested to know how things are going to progress and still say, Hey, I know I'm here to do this job now. 

 

Sue Robinson 

I think it's a great question, how do you show that you're invested in the now but you're also thinking about investing in the future?

 

Alisa Walters 

Well, I think it's important that when you're setting that question up really share with the the interviewer that you're speaking with, and, and getting those sense of that piecing that bit of information together. So let's say you're you're doing multiple rounds of interviews. And you may be talking to somebody who might be appear to you that you're working together with you may you may gather your information by asking that person that question, well, how long have you been in the role? When did you start in this role? And how is your your role changed over the course of time since you've been here? That's information gathering, that person might share, hey, yeah, I started about a year ago, and I was doing exactly what you were doing. And now I'm I'm here. And, you know, there's, there's a huge advocate, our managers really advocate for, you know, that growth and development. I think when you're having that conversation with someone who's going to be your manager, or in that managerial role of your team, I think it's really important to really emphasize that you coming into an organization you are, you are looking to find the company that you want to be able to ground down in and really be a part of that vision as it is as it continues to go forward. And that however long that takes you're really looking to find a company that's aligned with what you're looking for long term, what they're looking for long term, but that you can continue your that you're coming in adding a skill set that might be missing on the team and being able to continue to expand and stretch, I think stretch is a great word. You know, maybe the question might be when you're asking are there stretch opportunities for this person coming in? What's your, from a manager perspective? How are you developing your team? What? What kind of continuous training? Do you offer up to your team? Without directly saying, Where could I go next? So getting a sense, you're dancing around the question, but you're getting your answer without being and being tactful about it.

 

Vanessa Alava  

So I have another question. And we've touched on it in other conversations. But I also want to give kudos to my parents, because it's something that they always really emphasize with my sister and me, as we were coming out of college and in the job market for the first time was always ask about insurance, insurance is so important. So asking about benefit packages, right, not just the health insurance portion, but also asking about PTO, and what those policies are. And especially as women, if you are going to be at this organization for a length of time, who you know, hopefully someplace that you really love to work, and you're there for a while, eventually family planning might come into the conversation. It's good to know now even though policies may change. We've talked about that being part of your compensation, right? Your set is not just the salary. It's also the benefits package that's included into that other forms of currency.

 

Alisa Walters 

Yeah, absolutely. And I love the idea of having that conversation and really getting a full picture beyond medical, dental. Vision. Right. Right. Right. And I think for Kayla, Sue, is that that question is, in terms of it, sometimes people don't really know, well, when do I need to bring that up? When should I be talking about those kind of things. And I think having those conversations in the beginning with your recruiter or some person who might be in the Human Resources side, who takes you through this process, they're going to be able to share with you at Great lengths about what the resources a company offers to you. So keeping that in mind, but to ask those questions. And beyond that medical, dental vision that I'm eligible to participate in, are there other company perks, and resources that a employee could tap into anything from family potential family planning, tuition, reimbursements? Continue, you know, and continuing education, any kind of wellness initiatives? And if if you feel like you need to come back to something oh, you know, I'm reading more and more about companies that are offering headspace subscription or subscriptions to thrive. I'm just curious as to what what the company may offer in terms of additional initiatives and incentives, in addition to the medical dental vision.

 

Sue Robinson 

And I think you made a really good point, you know, as I'm looking again, my reference point is Kayla, and what she's done the interview process she's going through, you would probably ask that at the HR person, like she's interviewing with managers and other team members and other attorneys and things like that. But it's definitely the HR person who's going to have those answers more so than somebody who will work with you on your team.

 

Alisa Walters 

Yeah, it's interesting, one of the conversations that I always have that initial phone screen with a candidate, when we have conversations around what that compensation package will look like, I am, I am overly communicative of what we offer, the company that I work for, we offer as a company, and I am very, I try to offer something out there that is attractive to any person at any stage in their life. So I will, you know, let's say serve an ESA, I'm having an initial phone screen with you. And we get to that compensation conversation. I say, in addition, you are eligible to participate in our medical dental vision plan. We offer a great matching 401k and I'll give the specifics around that. And then in addition, the other additional resources the company is is investing in people's ability, you know, their family planning, everything from surrogacy and fertility treatments and child care, parental care, being able to get your tuition reimbursed if you want to go back to school certification reimbursement for something that pertains to your role, a free headspace subscription, a free subscription to thrive. And I try to paint the picture of what else they have access to and they can tap into in that initial conversation because that's a selling point for our company. And I think it's a really great selling point that this company wants to invest in wherever you may be at in your life. Absolutely. And it's not only to your point, Lisa, a selling point for your company, anybody who's interviewing, that is your right to ask those things, because those things are true life things that you're gonna need. And it's okay to ask those questions. And it's part of their compensation 100%. And it's okay to ask those questions. Even if those things don't apply to you in the in the now. That's a future thing. It is. Okay. And if any employer gives you any side eye, or any weird vibe about it, that should be a red flag. Exactly, yes. Because those are those that is your that is a human element. And you want to work for a company that recognizes that your life is not consumed by your job, that there are things that you have going on outside of that. And you do want to, I think being able to get a sense of what a company may offer in terms of those additional resources. That's you interviewing the company and making that decision, Vanessa To your point that that is a red flag. If If people look at you like what why are you asking that question? That's, we don't offer anything like that. That's a big red flag and you should run.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yeah, traditionally, those things aren't talked about, really until after you're hired, which is so bizarre. That's like when you sit down with HR And then at that point, you're like, dang, that’s not really robust. So it's so important. And hopefully, we start seeing more of what you're saying, Alisa, you in the position of being a recruiter, having those conversations and taking that proactive approach of putting it out there and being really transparent about what the company offers, and seeing that as a selling point. So if if that's not the case, in your interview, feel empowered to ask. Because that's, that's important to you there's no such thing as a stupid question. The stupid question is the one you don't ask.

 

Sue Robinson 

Yeah, I just want to say, at least I want to come work for you. I would definitely think that companies that offer all that, you know, that is a selling point for them. And I think that that's definitely something if you're an employer listening to this, or recruiter listening to this, absolutely. share those things with candidates, because because they are so important to people, and they're going to be weighing those things, whether or not they have the assertiveness to ask them. 

 

Alisa Walters 

There are two other questions that I would put out there that I would empower somebody to ask one being asking about what kind of projects the team is currently working on, that immediately need to be addressed. Get a sense of those types of projects, because I think you'll be having somebody paint a picture of a type of project you might be working on is, is going to be a really good, I'm a I'm a visual person. And I also need somebody to kind of lay things out and walk me through what what something's going to be so that I can wrap my head around. Okay, I understand stand the scope of my what my role would be. So you don't come in and feel completely dumbfounded by any of that. And then I also think, when you're wrapping up those conversations, and you're asking questions, feel empowered to ask what next steps would look like, you know, I think sometimes we leave an interview and it's just like, that went really well. But you have no idea what's going to happen next, who you're going to hear from next. And I love the idea of of kind of then that last question that you might have putting it back on your interviewer and say, Are there any other questions that you have for me, is there anything else you want clarity on from from, from my perspective? 

 

Sue Robinson 

I will be having my daughter listen to this episode forthwith. information. Thank you.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Thank you Alisa. This is awesome.