Author Topic: What do you think of this monster advice?  (Read 3131 times)

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shhh its me

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What do you think of this monster advice?
« on: July 24, 2013, 04:35:36 PM »
http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-questions/5-questions-never-to-ask-in-job-interview/article.aspx?wt.srch=1&wt.mc_n=olm_skr_srch_tbl_RON11_img7

5 questions not to ask in a job interview.

I was a little surprised that the expert was "disappointing " by people who asked about compensation in the first interview.  I am presuming that if people ask there has been no mention of even a range either in the posting or the interview by this point.  While I don't always expect to know  exactly what a position pays at the end of first interview I do expect to have an idea of what the range is and if the offer medical ect.   To be honest if I was looking for a new job while employed I'd be very unlikely to book a second interview if I didn't have basic compensation outline. 

Thoughts?

Slartibartfast

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 04:50:20 PM »
I think the first four questions are all perfectly valid topics, although they could be phrased better:

"When will I be promoted?" --> "What are the opportunities for advancement?"  Perfectly legitimate question, and something any reasonable company should be able to answer.

"What's the salary for this position?"  -->  "What sort of compensation are you offering?"  Also a good question, especially since lots of companies don't say anything about salary upfront.  It saves you from wasting time interviewing for a position which is mis-represented (like when they ask for more qualifications than they need but then offer pay that's not reasonable for candidates with those qualifications).

"When can I expect a raise?" --> "How much flexibility is there in the compensation package?"  Not raises specifically, but it's totally reasonable to want to know whether you're going to have any change in your income or not.

"What sort of flextime options do you have?" --> "Are the hours for this position set, or is there some flexibility in the schedule?"  This can make a difference for many people (2-hour rush hour commute versus 30 minutes if you can start at 10:00 or 7:00?  Sold!) and it tells you a lot about the company culture.

The only question I really agree to avoid is the last one, "things that show you weren't listening."

HorseFreak

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 05:09:17 PM »
I hate this attitude from some HR reps of, "If I make you an offer you'd better accept it and kiss my feet in gratitude." I find transparency in benefits and salary from the beginning save everyone a lot of trouble. It's no good spending a fortune to hire and train a candidate when they move on 6 months later for a job paying $15k more per year. I've also found benefits to be completely misrepresented (supplemental insurance for multiple day hospital stays and $25/year for routine exams is NOT health insurance!).

mime

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 05:34:49 PM »
I think the first four questions are all perfectly valid topics, although they could be phrased better:

"When will I be promoted?" --> "What are the opportunities for advancement?"  Perfectly legitimate question, and something any reasonable company should be able to answer.

"What's the salary for this position?"  -->  "What sort of compensation are you offering?"  Also a good question, especially since lots of companies don't say anything about salary upfront.  It saves you from wasting time interviewing for a position which is mis-represented (like when they ask for more qualifications than they need but then offer pay that's not reasonable for candidates with those qualifications).

"When can I expect a raise?" --> "How much flexibility is there in the compensation package?"  Not raises specifically, but it's totally reasonable to want to know whether you're going to have any change in your income or not.

"What sort of flextime options do you have?" --> "Are the hours for this position set, or is there some flexibility in the schedule?"  This can make a difference for many people (2-hour rush hour commute versus 30 minutes if you can start at 10:00 or 7:00?  Sold!) and it tells you a lot about the company culture.

The only question I really agree to avoid is the last one, "things that show you weren't listening."

Very good examples of wording changes. I'm not in HR, but did a lot of screening and interviewing for my staff (and others' staff) at my last company. I agree with the re-worded questions for the most part, especially the one about advancement; typically I'd expect someone to demonstrate a desire to grow their role. I would have been a bit put off by the question about flextime, though. I wouldn't want to worry about my working to fill a full-time position just to have the new hire try to cut back to 3/4 time, or try to get 'summer hours' (that's working 40 hours Mon-Thurs and taking Fridays off). One would need to be clear in the interview that they just want to shift the workday by a couple hours, rather than cut back on the hours.

shhh its me

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 06:06:11 PM »
  There were 2 "Experts" one did suggest alternate phrasing the other seems put off by the concept of being asked questions about benefits or salary.

I've never worked with flexitime but my vague understanding is a person could work 10 hours on Mondays and 6 on Thursdays for example.  Maybe I have it completely wrong?

I've always been of the opinion that the first interview was the time to get any "deal breakers" out in the open for both sides.  If you can't/wont take a job for less then $xx a year and I'm only able to pay $xx - 5,000 or you must have health insurance , wont work past 6 pm on Tuesdays. I don't want to find that out on 2nd or 3rd interview. Also , if I know what's important to you I may be able to create a more flexible offer that works better both parties.
 

I do think it's off to count against a person wanting to know the terms of employment after a interview. It's  business deal not a first date its appropriate to talk about money. 

Pen^2

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 06:17:17 PM »
A lot of these don't seem terribly unreasonable to want to know about. As HorseFreak said, transparency is better for everyone in a great number of jobs. Not letting people know about things that might be deal-breakers until after they're hired is a great strategy for having a low employee retention rate. Reword them and most are fine.

I was once involved in the "stage 1" part of interviewing at my old workplace. One candidate asked (without prompting), "so, does this job suck as much as it looks like?"

I can't think of a way to reword that to make it polite without losing the intent of the original question. So yeah, don't ask that one.

Slartibartfast

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 06:24:50 PM »
I've never worked with flexitime but my vague understanding is a person could work 10 hours on Mondays and 6 on Thursdays for example.  Maybe I have it completely wrong?

Flextime varies a lot from job to job and industry to industry.  Some places let you do 10/4 (that is, 10-hour days 4 days a week), some want you to do 8-hour days but don't care when those hours are, some have "core hours" (such as 11-3) you have to be there but you can fit in the rest of your 8 hours around those, such as 7-3 or 10:30-6:30.  Some want you to schedule in advance and some don't care when you show up each day as long as you don't miss meetings and you do get your job done.  Some places even say "pick any 40 hours" and you can come and go as you please, including weekends.

Obviously flextime is easier for jobs where you're self-directed most of the time (not having to work in a team to be productive) and you're not manning a desk or something  :)

shhh its me

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 07:01:27 PM »
I've never worked with flexitime but my vague understanding is a person could work 10 hours on Mondays and 6 on Thursdays for example.  Maybe I have it completely wrong?

Flextime varies a lot from job to job and industry to industry.  Some places let you do 10/4 (that is, 10-hour days 4 days a week), some want you to do 8-hour days but don't care when those hours are, some have "core hours" (such as 11-3) you have to be there but you can fit in the rest of your 8 hours around those, such as 7-3 or 10:30-6:30.  Some want you to schedule in advance and some don't care when you show up each day as long as you don't miss meetings and you do get your job done.  Some places even say "pick any 40 hours" and you can come and go as you please, including weekends.

Obviously flextime is easier for jobs where you're self-directed most of the time (not having to work in a team to be productive) and you're not manning a desk or something  :)

Ok I can see how the question" do you have flextime" may be off putting without added some context in for some companies.   Even if having Fridays off is a deal breaker , if it was possible I wouldn't count it against someone in an interview.

Amara

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 08:58:09 PM »
I once interviewed for a company that offered flex-time this way: You could begin work any time between 6:00 am and 10:00 am (or maybe it was as late as noon). You were welcome to take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for lunch. It could change every day; it was all up to you. They didn't care how you did it as long as you got in eight hours per day.


mime

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 11:17:50 PM »
I once interviewed for a company that offered flex-time this way: You could begin work any time between 6:00 am and 10:00 am (or maybe it was as late as noon). You were welcome to take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for lunch. It could change every day; it was all up to you. They didn't care how you did it as long as you got in eight hours per day.

The company for which I did interviews was very much like that. You had to be available for meeting scheduling between 10AM and 2PM. Outside of that you could block off your calendar and come and go as you like. Lunches could be long or short or skipped altogether. I had a boss who flew in to Minnesota from Kentucky every Monday morning, and back home on Friday evening and he really liked the flexibility.

My concern when job candidates asked about flex time was not that they wanted to work an earlier or later than normal shift, but that they wanted to skip some days entirely, or would not have the flexibility to work late when needed-- five 14 hour days for the week was not uncommon.


Library Dragon

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 11:21:24 PM »
I always finish a first interview with an overview of salary range and benefits.  It's only fair to let the person know up front what we are offering. If they are evaluating two positions it's necessary to be able make an informed decision.  I would rather know sooner rather than later that a person isn't going to take the position. 

The rest are questions you don't ask me on the first meeting. Promotion?  Show me you can do the job you're hired for first.  If a promotion means you're stepping into a current staff member's position it's not giving a team member image. 


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mbbored

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2013, 01:26:19 AM »
I always finish a first interview with an overview of salary range and benefits.  It's only fair to let the person know up front what we are offering. If they are evaluating two positions it's necessary to be able make an informed decision.  I would rather know sooner rather than later that a person isn't going to take the position. 

The rest are questions you don't ask me on the first meeting. Promotion?  Show me you can do the job you're hired for first.  If a promotion means you're stepping into a current staff member's position it's not giving a team member image.

I think asking about room for advancement is a fair question: the interviewee has to decide if the company is a good fit as well. The last place I worked before going back to school had very little opportunity for upward advancement: the average time to go 1 step up in the organization was 5 years. So, to go from junior analyst level 1 to junior analyst level 2 was 5 years. Junior analyst to analyst was at least 10 years. Analyst to senior analyst was around 20 years. That spoke highly to people's dedication to the company and how well they treated employees, but it also meant there was very little room for advancement. If I was looking to be in a job permanently and not planning on going back to school in a few years, that would have decreased my likelihood of taking that job considerably.

cwm

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 01:15:00 PM »
I once interviewed for a company that offered flex-time this way: You could begin work any time between 6:00 am and 10:00 am (or maybe it was as late as noon). You were welcome to take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for lunch. It could change every day; it was all up to you. They didn't care how you did it as long as you got in eight hours per day.

The company for which I did interviews was very much like that. You had to be available for meeting scheduling between 10AM and 2PM. Outside of that you could block off your calendar and come and go as you like. Lunches could be long or short or skipped altogether. I had a boss who flew in to Minnesota from Kentucky every Monday morning, and back home on Friday evening and he really liked the flexibility.

My concern when job candidates asked about flex time was not that they wanted to work an earlier or later than normal shift, but that they wanted to skip some days entirely, or would not have the flexibility to work late when needed-- five 14 hour days for the week was not uncommon.

My company works across the country from one office, so we have flex time, which makes it much easier to deal with clients in different time zones. I come in at about 7:30, some people are here as early as 6. I'm usually here until 4:30 or 5, some people stay as late as 8PM. Some people come in on Saturdays to catch up on work. OT is offered, and usually taken, there's no limit on it as long as you're getting work done for those hours.

I was told at the interview about the flex time options, and it was described like this. If I got my 40 hours in and came in every day, Monday to Friday, I was fine. If I needed a day off, it could easily be arranged, but it would be PTO. If I wanted to come in Saturday or work more than 8 hours a day, that was fine. It really didn't matter as long as the work was getting done and there was enough to keep me busy.

shhh its me

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2013, 02:47:01 PM »
I always finish a first interview with an overview of salary range and benefits.  It's only fair to let the person know up front what we are offering. If they are evaluating two positions it's necessary to be able make an informed decision.  I would rather know sooner rather than later that a person isn't going to take the position. 

The rest are questions you don't ask me on the first meeting. Promotion?  Show me you can do the job you're hired for first.  If a promotion means you're stepping into a current staff member's position it's not giving a team member image.

I think context matters. IF you advertise an entry level position , I think people are more likely ask about promotions.  I also think its ok to ask about the "long term career potential".  Some companies never promote from inside, some companies have a huge waiting list of qualified people ready to be promoted, sometimes someone has to die or get fired for a promotion to be available other times companies always promote from within , have several opening at the levels above what they  are interviewing for , plan to expand soon ect.   I think its a legitimate question but can be risky because it says to me "the job I'm applying for is not the job I will be happy with". "When can I get a promotion?" makes me thinking you want a different job now.  " long-term growth"/"Do you promote from within?" makes me think you're willing to work for it.  Most employers want people who are good enough to be promoted after a reasonable time , its just a matter if the companies and person idea of " reasonable time" match up.

LazyDaisy

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Re: What do you think of this monster advice?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2013, 03:20:25 PM »
I wonder if the HR expert who was against asking about compensation or potential for advancement is thinking that it shows a lack of initiative by the interviewee (didn't do their research) or a lack of dedicated interest in the position/company. Maybe it's because I haven't been looking for a job for a few years but it seems like it was the interviewer who always first breached the issue of salary/hourly requirements during the interview, especially if it was for a mid-level or higher job. They don't want to waste their time either on someone who wants more than they can offer. I tried to find out as much as possible about the company online or through personal networking before the interview. In my experience, if the interviewer didn't bring up the subject of compensation/benefits in the interview, I always took that as a sign that they were either not interested in me for the position or that they knew they were offering less than competitive companies. Either way, I wasn't interested further.

Asking about promotions demonstrates to me that the job seeker isn't really interested in the position they are interviewing for as they've already got a eye on the door.
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