Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fiscal Haiku

After sharing one of my favorite haikus:

Haikus are easy,
but sometimes they don't make sense.
with a friend, he pointed me to This prompted me to create my very own fiscal haiku, but I decided to post it here rather than on their site. It's based on the writings attributed to Alexander Tyler.

Vote the treasury
and destroy fiscal restraint.
Vote the nation's fall.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview Questions

Most of the interview advice I've read focuses on how to answer the interviewer's questions. It is very important to learn how to present yourself to a potential employer, but the interview is also the best time seriously investigate whether the position would suit you.

I've used the questions below to gain insight into the details of a job opportunity as well as the dynamics of the group of people I would be working with. You'll notice that I ask the same questions of management as I do co-workers. I generally hope to hear the same answers from each group because divergent answers can signal trouble.

Of every interviewer:

  • What is your education and employment experience?
  • Of your education and prior professional experience, how much do you use those skills in your current position?
  • Why did you choose to work here, and what keeps you here?

Of your potential manager:
  • How long have you managed this team?
  • Is this a new position? If not, why did the last person leave and where did they go?
  • What is your "growth plan" for my first six months? What skills will I develop that I don't currently have?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about my ability to perform this job?
  • Can you give me examples of how you've dealt with employee's frustration and how you've dealt with your frustration with them?

Of your potential co-workers:
  • How would you describe your organization's and manager's personality and management style?
  • How does communication flow between you and upper management? How often do you talk with people several "rungs" above you?
  • When an urgent matter comes from your manager, how is it delivered and managed?
  • Can you give me examples of how management deals with employee's frustration and with their frustration with you?

Of both your potential manager and co-workers:
  • How many meetings a week does your team have? How long do last? What is their purpose? How productive are they?
  • What skills are required to be successful at this job?
  • When top performers leave the company why do they leave and where do they usually go?
  • How are new ideas, procedures, tools, etc. received?
  • What kind of work are people with analytical backgrounds involved in?
  • What kind of people get promoted?
  • How are project assignments decided?

Please feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments. I'll add worthy contributions to the post.