Tagged: job interview

Interview Questions For Your Potential Boss

To be a credible candidate for a job you must ask questions at the interview.  Sometimes the interviewer would be your boss and that can be intimidating.  However, its also an opportunity to learn more about how she or he leads.  Asking the right questions can give you insight into what your work life would be like if you accepted this position.

Here’s a copy of an article from The Muse

10 Questions to Ask in Your Next Job Interview to Avoid (Another) Toxic Boss

by Alyse Kalish

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re finally getting out of an unhealthy work environment. Good for you! You deserve to work with someone who treats you well.

That said, you certainly don’t want to make the same mistake again and end up working under someone who’s just as bad (or worse) than the last manager you had. As you’re job searching, make sure you ask these 10 crucial interview questions to get to the bottom of what it would be like to report to your potential new boss.

If the Interviewer Is Your Potential Boss

1. How Would You Describe Your Ideal Employee?

Whatever they say, take it to heart and make sure you genuinely fit into what they’re looking for—if you don’t, that’s a giveaway you won’t get along or enjoy working with them.

2. How Do You Like to Give Constructive Criticism?

Make sure they actually do give their team feedback (you don’t want to work somewhere where you’ll never learn and improve) but also express care and concern when doing so.

The point of giving it is not only to help make their job easier (less oversight needed), but also to help you grow. So if they respond with, “Calling people out in front of the whole company to teach them a lesson?” Definitely a red flag.

3. What’s the Process for Reviewing and Evaluating Employees?

Related to the one above: Is there a proper employee review cycle in place? Does it seem like they regularly evaluate and course-correct employee performance? And, do they seem to care about helping employees set and achieve their career goals?

4. How Long Has Your Current Team Been in Place?

Search their answer for any signs of high turnover or conflict. Were there legitimate reasons why their team has shifted? Do they avoid bringing up specifics?

5. How Would Your Direct Reports Describe Your Management Style?

This is a self-awareness test for your interviewer. They should be able to show that their direct reports feel properly managed without sounding egotistical or disengaged.

6. Who Are Your Leadership Role Models?

And ask them why they chose those people—this gives you a sense of what leadership tactics they respect and want to emulate.

7. How Does Your Team Unwind After a Stressful Period or Celebrate a Success?

This is a great way to get a sense of how they value work-life balance and how they acknowledge their team’s accomplishments. They should have some response to this.

If the Interviewer Works With Your Potential Boss

8. What’s [Boss’ Name]’s Management Style Like?

Look for hidden clues here. Do they sound supportive but not a micromanager? Respectful but motivating? And, does the person you’re speaking with seem to like their management style?

9. What’s Your Favorite Part of Working With [Boss’ Name]?

Do they brag about how awesome it is to work with so-and-so, or is their response vague and unimpressive? Take note.

10. How Would You Describe the Team Culture?

Some things you might look out for include how people work together and communicate, how your potential boss is involved in that culture, and how people get along both inside and outside the office.

Two other factors come into play here.

One is body language and nonverbal cues—pay attention to how people respond to your questions and if they seem turned off by them. A long pause can say wonders.

And the other is your own standards and values. I could easily say that X or Y response is a definite no, but at the end of the day everyone is looking for a different kind of work environment and manager.

So, before you enter any interview, make sure you’re clear on what you want in a boss so you can properly assess whether the person you’re interviewing fits the mold. If you’re not sure, think about what qualities you admire in other leaders, past bosses, and mentors (and which ones you don’t).

Finally, if you do smell something fishy during your interview process, consider reaching out to former employees or people in your network who work with or know of this person and ask for their off-the-record opinion.

It can feel awkward, but remember: You’ll have to work with this person every day, five days a week. So the more you know, the more informed your decision will be.

Lets talk about company culture and create a list of questions to ask about the job when the interviewer is from HR.  610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com

What to Research Before You Interview

After you are invited for an interview the most effective thing you can do is to become knowledgeable about the company.

Google and research the people who run the company and those that will conduct the interview.  If you can find points of connecting through interests and hobbies, background or people in your network you will have a way to connect quickly when you meet.   The background of the leaders and hiring manager offers clues to management and hiring styles.

Learn all you can about the company’s challenges and financial position, their standing in the industry.  Locate public statements, interviews, industry publications, comments by company leaders and also from competitors. Add this information to what  you’ve learned from the job posting and you will have keys to the problems you can solve for the company.  The person who understands the company and its challenges is the one who can move the company forward.

Find out what new products are in the pipeline.  Discover what the competition is doing.  Who has the reputation for innovation, rushing to market or  being dependable without taking risks.  Position yourself as an expert by demonstrating you understand what is important to your potential employer.

A story I heard from college career office concerns a student who had an outstanding performance record in internships and was well prepared for a job in her field.  At an interview for a job she very much wanted the first  question was “What was our stock selling for at the open of the market this morning?”  The candidate had no idea and tried to cover with the other things she knew about the company.  It was too late.  Although there were more questions, the interview clearly was over and the candidate didn’t get the job.

To be a winner you have to be a scout: Always be prepared!

There are standard interview questions, industry or company specific questions, behavioral questions and questions out of the box.  Are you ready for all of them?  I do interview prep that will have you confident and ready to sell yourself.  610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com

5 Tips For Making a Good First Impression

“You only get one chance to make a first impression”.  Its an old saying but also very true.  We make first impressions all the time.  The way you walk into a spin class creates a first impression; your degree of politeness in ordering a latte creates another; the person who speaks first in a business meeting offers insight into how you view yourself.


The impression you might want to leave with others varies among situations but you still want to know how to do it right.  We’ll prep for an interview or business meeting and leave you to extrapolate to other venues.

The most important factor in who is hired  is the KLT Factor.  Know, Like, Trust.  Your first impression should create a positive KLT.  Of the three, learning to trust you is the most crucial.  Trust is built by showing respect for the other person through these 5 actions.

1. Be Prepared. You don’t have to be a Boy or Girl Scout to follow this motto.  Know as much as you can about each person you will interact with.   Hobbies?  Community service? Previous employers?  College affiliations?

People like it when you know something about them that they didn’t have to tell you.  Use this info to connect.

2. The person who has the most power in the situation should be the first to speak.  If you are the interviewer, its you; if you are the interviewee, its one of the interview panel.  When you call a meeting at work, you speak first; when you are an attendee, wait for the meeting to start before drawing attention to yourself.  If you are trying to sign a potential client, let the client speak first. You may be the expert but ask “How can I help”to get the conversation started.  No matter how good you are, you can’t show how you can solve the problem until they tell you about it.

3.  Allow some time for small talk- unimportant conversation that takes place before the main agenda is addressed.  You might say, Jeff, I see you are on the Board of  Caring Communities.  How did you get involved?  This shows your interest (you cared enough to look it up), helps make a connection between his service and your own community involvement.

When you are the person with the lesser degree of power or control, being the one to launch the interview may appear aggressive.

4. Watch your body language.  Be as relaxed as possible.  Face the others, make eye contact, lean a bit forward toward the speaker.  No crossed arms, swinging legs, twirling  pencils or fiddling with hair.

5. Be a good listener.  This is important when you are meeting a potential client or a potential employer.   Nod slightly to encourage the person speaking to continue.  Ask relevant questions.  Provide clear answers with examples when asked.

Remember that your goal is to create KLT:  show who you are (be vulnerable and open); be likeable (listen, be empathic, friendly); explain how  you are trusted by others to solve problems.

It is much easier to provide a great first impression than it is to repair damage caused by a negative one!


Be awesome in interviews, nail networking, attract clients: I can help you present your most impressive self when it matters.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.




Red Flags: This Isn’t The Right Job

Just because there is a position open at a company you want to work for, doesn’t mean that you will find happiness working there.  It is better not to take a job knowing that you are marking time until another opportunity knocks.  Here are some warning signs to make you stop and think before you leap.

1. The job description asks for every skill known to man, or doesn’t tell you what you will need.  When the job posting is well written it has  a list of what the person hired will do and the qualifications most needed for the candidate to succeed.   If you interview, get clarification on the tasks and skills.

2. The interviewer is disorganized, has a disorganized work space, seems confused about why you are interviewing.   Granted, some interviewers won’t have read your resume but you should expect him/her to be on task, ask relevant questions and be able to answer yours.

3. The interviewer admits that the staff works long hours and weekends to get the job done.  Is the work load necessary because of a push or is mandatory overtime SOP for this company?  If there isn’t enough staff to complete the work, its likely that the pay is low and the pressure high.  Such a hiring manager might offer the job during the interview hoping you’ll be flattered and accept.

4.  When talk turns to compensation their range for the position  should be within industry norms for the position.  If the offer is below their stated ball park, benefits are scarce, and you are experienced in the role, the company may be trying to get you cheaply.  If the other aspects of the job seem positive, ask for an short probation period of 3-6 months followed by a performance review and salary bump.

Trust your gut.  Weight the pros and cons of the position, what you will gain in experience against the potential negatives of working in this environment.


I’m here to help you in your job search and your interview prep.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

What Did You Earn In Your Last Job? Surprising Answer




Asking you to divulge your last salary is  common on job applications and in interviews is no longer legal.  The person asking is doing 2 things: trying to look efficient for the boss while getting information to use in making an offer if you pass muster.



If you were to ask the interviewer what the last person in this position was paid you would be told that information is confidential.  So is your last salary!

How can you respond to this inappropriate inquiry without blowing your chance at winning the job?  The interview could go something like this:

Interviewer: What was your salary in your last job?

You: In this position I’m looking for $60,000.

Interviewer:  We need to know the amount of your last salary.

You: In this role I’m looking for $60,000.

Interviewer: To be considered for this position we need your last salary.

You: This position isn’t the same as the one I’m leaving.  For this role I’m looking for $60,000.

Keep repeating this mantra “What I’m looking at are positions paying $60,000”.  If your  expectations are realistic and cannot be met, this isn’t the right job for you.

So, what do you put on an application that asks your past salaries?  Liz Ryan of Human Workplace and author suggests putting your desired salary in the salary blank for each previous position.  In the description for one of the past jobs explain that you’ve entered your desired compensation in each blank.

Suzy Welch of CNBC answered this question differently.  She suggests you disclose your salary and make your case.

Once you know how you compare to people with similar jobs, be truthful about your current compensation, Welch says.

Doing so shows that you’re candid and have integrity. Your response could be, “My salary is X, my bonus is typically Y, for a total package of just about Z,” Welch says.

After you share the number, advocate for yourself.

“You can make a compelling case about why you’d be willing to take less for something like opportunity or growth, or why you should make more,” she says.

Once you’ve made your case, there’s nothing else you can do, Welch says, except wait and see how the hiring manager responds — and if they treat you with similar consideration.

“If your potential employer games you in this conversation, it’s a warning sign,” she says. “Don’t ignore it.”

Either strategy you use should be preceded by reseaching your value in the marketplace  at  salary.com or payscale.com to get a ballpark for the role you want.  Consider whether you work in an area where typically people are paid less than average, perhaps a rural area with a lower cost of living (choose the lower end of the range) or areas such as in New York City  or Washington DC, where the cost of living is higher than average.

Read as many postings for similar openings to confirm that your expectations are solidly in line with what is being paid for your level of expertise.

Make adjustments for being a novice at some of the job requirements, where you are depending on transferable skills that aren’t a direct match  or the time needed for getting up to speed in this role.  Be realistic.

Don’t sell your talent short:  Ask for reasonable compensation for the job.

Need help developing a platform for negotiation?  Come on in! stephanie@accessguidance or 610-212-6679