Six Must-Ask Interview Questions

by Veronica Blatt

Author: Joe Turner


Interviewing can be a gut-wrenching process. Most books on how to interview list hundreds of interview questions you need to be ready to answer, but few talk about the questions you need to ask.

Take more control at your next interview by asking some pointed questions of your own. Here are six must-ask questions and why you should know the answers.

1. What happened to the person who previously did this job? (If a new position: How has this job been performed in the past?)

Why You Need to Ask: You need to know any problems or past history associated with this position. For instance, was your predecessor fired or promoted? Is this a temporary position or brand new? The answer will tell you about management’s expectations and how the company is gearing to grow.

2. Why did you choose to work here? What keeps you here?

Why You Need to Ask: Although you may like this company, you’re an outsider. You need to find out what an insider has to say about working there. Who better to ask than your interviewer? This also forces the interviewer to step out of their official corporate role and answer personally as an employee and potential coworker.

3. What is the first problem the person you hire must attend to?

Why You Need to Ask: You need to be on the same page as your new manager, as well as be clear on what the initial expectations are and that you can deliver. What you don’t want is to allow yourself to be misled about the job’s requirements and end up overwhelmed and over your head after the first week on the job.

4. What can you tell me about the individual to whom I would report?

Why You Need to Ask: It doesn’t matter how wonderful the company might be; your time will be spent working for a specific manager. You need to find out who this person is and what kind of manager he is — earlier rather than later, before personality clashes develop. If you’re an independent type used to working through solutions on your own, for instance, you’ll chafe when you find you’re being supervised by a micromanager.

5. What are the company’s five-year sales and profit projections?

Why You Need to Ask: You need to know about the future of the company you plan to spend several years of your life working for. It doesn’t have to be this exact question. For example, you might want to ask about the company’s future plans for new products and services or any planned market expansion. Of course, you’ve done your own research, but nothing can beat an insider’s observations and insights. This also shows you’ve done your homework and are serious about this company.

6. What’s our next step?

Why You Need to Ask: This is your closing and the most important question to ask at the end of the interview. You need to know what happens after this point. Many books advise asking for the job now, but most people may feel too intimidated to bluntly do so. And with more candidates already scheduled for interviews, the company is not likely to make you an offer yet. You may also need to do some additional research on the company, making it too early to ask for the job.

A good compromise: Take the lead and set a plan for follow-up. You’ll also be able to gauge the company’s enthusiasm with the answer. Don’t forget to ask for your interviewer’s direct phone number and the best time to call.

What to Remember

As a job seeker, the key to a good interview is to find out as much about your potential employer as possible. Asking these six questions will not only make you appear more committed as a candidate, but will also give you better insight into both the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead for you.

[As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. He makes it easy for anyone to find and land the job they really want — all on their own in the shortest time possible. Discover more insider job search secrets by visiting Job Change Secrets.]

Copyright 2013 – Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on To see other career-related articles, visit

Job Search tool: Headhunters

by The Imagination Factory

By Betsy Goldberg, contributor

From:  Money Magazine, March 2010

(Money Magazine) — Decent job listings are pretty scarce these days — which is why it’s more important than ever to get your résumé in front of the top headhunters in your field. Executive-search professionals serve their client companies by quietly cherry-picking candidates for high-level jobs, many of which are never advertised. And if you’re not on the recruiters’ radar, you may miss out on prime opportunities. These strategies can help you get on the gatekeepers’ good sides:

Headhunters often specialize by industry or job function. Thus, the best way to find someone is via your network. You’re likely to get a better response if you’ve been referred, so ask friends in your field which pros were helpful to them, or use LinkedIn to check whether current or former co-workers are connected to recruiters; alternatively, see whether your industry association can suggest someone. It’s worthwhile doing all this even if you’re not job hunting just yet. Building a network takes time, and you might as well get a headstart. Read the rest of this entry »

Resume Posting Online: What You Need to Know

by The Imagination Factory

This information provided by Dennis Stuempfle of Palatine Technology Services, LLC as a courtesy to our candidates. Dennis can be reachedby phone at856-358-0320.

Despite what job boards will tell you, posting your resume online is not right for everyone. Deciding whether or not to post your resume on a major job board will depend on your unique situation.

If you have a good skill set, a stable work background and can afford to be selective in looking for the right opportunity, use caution regarding “continued” posting. A well-planned, targeted approach to your job search will serve you well. At the very least, follow the advice of and make your posted information “confidential” or “non-searchable.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Personal Web Sites and Voice Mails Might be Reviewed by your Future Employer

by The Imagination Factory

More and more employers are reviewing personal web sites and listening to voice mails left on cell and home telephones. If a prospective employer listened to your voice mails, what impression would they have of you?

The higher the position, the more likely an employer is to “google” your name to see what comes up!

If you do have a personal web site, you need to review it from the eyes of your potential employer. After the review would the employer be more or less impressed? Would the web site have any influence on their hiring decision?

Too often, information that seems harmless on your web site can ruin your chances of being hired by major corporations! Go to your site right now and review it objectively. Remove any and all “controversial” information and any inappropriate links!

Your next job offer could be affected by your decision! Good luck in your search.

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS
Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (

Now is a great time to job search

by The Imagination Factory

Happy New Year! The beginning of each new year is an excellent time to put your job search at the top of your New Year’s Resolution list! Make sure that you state the following: “My New Year’s Resolution is to be gainfully employed with a company that I have targeted.”

It is a fact that many people seek out new opportunities at this time of the year. This is true for a variety of reasons. Individuals that are not currently employed realize that decision makers are back from their holiday time off and ready to fill their open positions. Many individuals that are already employed but unhappy with their current position, often wait until January to start their job search. This is usually because they want to use any accrued vacation time and qualify for a possible year end bonus.

Therefore, your competition has increased a bit from the end of last year, when hiring slows down; however, there are many, many more opportunities available…NOW!

Regardless of the time of the year, the job seeker that is ACTIVE in his/her job search will be the candidate that secures the career they want!

There are many reasons why NOW is a good time to JOB SEARCH:

  1. Decision Makers are back from time off during the holidays.
  2. Corporations have a new budget, with hiring allowances.
  3. Often companies will make changes at the beginning of the year. This often creates movement within the organization and creates new positions.
  4. An overall positive attitude of hiring authorities. They are usually more motivated now, to fill their openings.
  5. There are many job seekers that took the time during the holidays to improve their cover letters, resumes, conducted research, etc. in order to better position themselves for NOW!
  6. Recruiters are excited to start a new year! They are salespeople and they want to start their year with top production. What that means to you is that Recruiters in all disciplines are motivated to successfully place as many candidates as they can, in their first quarter of the year,
  7. It is a busy time for all hiring authorities. There is always some turnover within corporations at the end of every year.

As job seekers, you need to take advantage of the reasons listed above!

Conducting a thorough job search takes true commitment to attain your GOAL! If you are not currently employed you should dedicate 40 hours to your search per week. Your full time job is to find a job! If you are already employed but want to make a job change, you need to devote a minimum of 15 hours a week to your search!

Happy New Year & We Wish You A Year Filled With Health, Happiness & Prosperity!

Nancy J. Phillips, CPC
Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (

Financial planning during a job search

by The Imagination Factory

When you are engaged in a job search, whether active or passive, you will probably be involved in a different economic situation. Some of you may be sole breadwinners while others may have spouses who are currently employed. Some of you may be fortunate enough to have excellent severance packages, while others have nothing at all. Regardless of your circumstances, what we do know is that it is impossible to predict when your ideal job offer and ultimate acceptance will come. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you initially conduct a financially planning assessment to review on-going and other anticipated and financial needs. If you do have a family it is important to include your spouse in order for both of you to understand and agree how to best handle money matters until you are once again employed.

Regardless of your situation, you should always consider doing the following:
1. Immediately reduce or eliminate spending on non-essential items! (This will be difficult in the beginning. However, once you make a conscious effort in this area it becomes easier.)

2. Delay expenditures on essential items until absolutely necessary. You need to then do your homework! You need to take into account what is your present cash situation. This is considered your “cash inflow.”

This includes: any Severance Package Money, Investment Income – including Checking and Savings Accounts/Interest. It also includes Bonds/Interest Capital Gains, Dividends, Rental or any trust income. Other sources include any Retirement Income – Social Security, Pensions, Unemployment Alimony or Child Support. This includes an estimate of any other cash that comes in on a regular basis. (This is money that you can count on every month.)

Your next step is to get a realistic projection of your expenses. This is considered your “cash outflow.” These are typical expenses that are routinely incurred by most people. Also keep in mind that you will incur some expenses from your job search itself!

The following should be considered: All Outstanding Bills or other Debts, Interest on Debts, Mortgage or Rent, Property Taxes, Groceries, Utilities – gas, water, electric. Other expenses are Phone, Cable, Cell phone, Garbage Maintenance, Clothing, Auto Expenses – gas, oil, etc. any Transportation, any Entertainment, any Tuition, and Dry Cleaning, Personal Items, any Prescriptions, Children Expenses – lessons, school, etc. The other expenses to consider are Life Insurance Premiums, Medical Insurance Premiums and Auto Insurance Premiums.

Once you have put all of your information on paper (or on a spreadsheet.) You will then be able to gain perspective on where you are financially, and how you will “maintain” your living expenses while you are conducting your job search. If you don’t have a plan, your finances can get “out of control.” While you are conducting a job search the last thing you want to be is “out of control of anything!” If you know where you are, and you know what direction you are going, your job search will remain your TOP PRIORITY! If your priority is your job search, your finances will not be an issue!

Nancy J. Phillips, CPC
Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (

Need vs. Want in career planning

by The Imagination Factory

Needs and wants are the foundations on which you set realistic and attainable goals. If the goals that you are setting are what you really want or need out of life, you are motivated, and therefore you are more likely to achieve them. However, if the goals you are setting are meeting someone else’s wants or needs, you will probably find it frustrating to try to attain them. It is extremely important that you take the time to explore and identify both your needs and your wants. Once you have identified these, you are now beginning to identify what it means to be successful by YOUR own personal standards!

When you are considering your needs and wants it is important not only to distinguish between the two, it is also imperative to examine how many times the “SHOULDS” in your life will get in your way. Every time you believe that you should do something, you are implying that you neither want nor need this, but somehow you feel required to do it. These “shoulds” will drain your energy and take your focus off of what is truly important. If you live your life being “guilted” by “shoulds,” you are limiting your opportunities as you make your career decisions. The goal is to eliminate as many “shoulds” as possible.

Your needs are the things that you truly need to survive. Your needs are anything which you perceive as necessary for your personal well-being. When your basic needs are met you feel secure. Your needs are usually your highest priority! Your needs are anything which you perceive to be necessary for your personal well-being. These items are all fundamental to the pursuit of happiness.

You wants are the items which you have s strong desire for, but may not be essential for your personal well-being. Your “WANTS” have more to do with enriching your life. Balance and common sense are necessary to make appropriate choices about your wants.

Pure logic or even common sense are not necessarily operative when considering your needs and wants. There are times when the desire for immediate gratification enters the picture causing wants to become a greater priority than needs. It is very important to clearly know what you need and what you can wait for, even though you want it. You must satisfy your basic needs and work calmly towards satisfying your wants.

1. Formally write down what you NEED to live at “survival” level.
2. Clarify what you WANT and when you want it.
3. Sort out the SHOULDS that you have become “tied to.”

Good Luck in Your Job Search!

Nancy J. Phillips, CPC

Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (

Write a marketing plan for your job search

by The Imagination Factory

A well thought out, concise Marketing Plan is an essential part of your successful job search! A solid, detailed Plan forces you to focus and direct your job search; ensures that you are covering all methods; keeps you aware of how much work you have to do, and evaluates the quality of your efforts.

Your Marketing Plan is a dynamic, action oriented plan that helps you set realistic and meaningful daily, weekly and monthly goals. This plan is critical to your career management program.

Follow these STEPS when you are writing your Marketing Plan:

  1. Define your target market by considering the following….
    1. Industry
    2. Corporations in the Industry
    3. Services / Products of the Corporations
    4. Number of Employees
    5. Geographic Locations
    6. Corporation’s Net Worth
  2. Describe the job function you want.
  3. Review classified ads for sample job descriptions.
  4. Compare your skills, experience, education and background to the sample job descriptions to see if your background supports the positions you are interested in.
  5. Map out your campaign strategy: RESEARCH
  6. Compile your networking list.
  7. Develop a list of recruiters/agencies that specialize in your area of expertise.
  8. Organize your direct mail plans.
  9. Tailor your resume and other marketing pieces.
  10. Get interviews
  11. Document the results
  12. Follow-up

You have to think of yourself almost like a product you are selling to a prospective buyer – the HIRING AUTHORITY. Job Searches are difficult because you have to “sell yourself.” If you are not in the Sales Profession, it can be extremely uncomfortable – but it is necessary! If you were selling a product, you would identify “who” would be most likely to purchase your product. You must do that same type of methodical planning when you write the marketing plan for your job search. Compiling this plan will drastically REDUCE the time it will take you to find your next wonderful career opportunity!

Nancy J. Phillips, CPC
Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (

Getting Started

by The Imagination Factory

When you are job searching you are on a fact-finding mission! You must research and become an expert in the field you have targeted as your first career choice. I will give you sample questions that you must ask about your field or industry.


  1. What are the basic prerequisites for opportunities in the field?
  2. What entry-level jobs qualify one for this field?
  3. What types of training do companies give to people entering this field?
  4. What are the average salary ranges for various levels of experience in this field?
  5. What aspects of a career in this field do you consider particularly beneficial? Particularly bad?
  6. Do you view this field as a growing one?
  7. Is there currently a demand for individuals in this field?
  8. What is the typical profile of a successful person in this field?
  9. How do you see the opportunities in the field changing over the next ten years?
  10. What is the best way to obtain a position which will start me on a career in this field?
  11. What hours do successful people normally work?
  12. May I review job descriptions for some of the positions in this field?
  13. What, if any, are the positive as well as negative, issues facing this industry?
  14. What kinds of technical skills will provide greater opportunities to advance in this industry?
  15. Who are the respected individuals in this industry?
  16. What government regulations affect this industry?
  17. What are the main issues facing your industry?
  18. Which other industries directly affect what happens in this industry?
  19. Which kinds of companies are forming strategic alliances in this industry?
  20. What do you see are the greatest opportunities in this industry within the next 3 to 5 years?

You need to become an expert in the field you have targeted as your first career choice! The more educated you become, the better you will sound during your interviews. Your knowledge will set you apart from your competition and will drastically increase your chances for becoming the candidate they select for their opportunity!

Nancy J. Phillips, CPC
Courtesy of: Good as Gold Training, Inc. (