Non-salary Job Interview Questions That No One Else is Asking
Think Beyond Salary
When you’re sitting in the hotseat of an interview, it’s natural to think about the immediate here and now: How do I answer all these questions, land this job, and negotiate the highest salary? Salary.com has plenty of resources to help you out. But at some point, the interviewer is going to finish grilling you, turn the tables, and ask, “So, do you have any questions?”
Asking good questions is important for several reasons:
- It shows you’ve prepared for the interview and truly care about the position.
- It shows confidence when negotiating salary, since you want to come from an equal position of strength, not desperation (you are interviewing THEM for the best fit just as much as they are interviewing YOU)
- It increases the chance that you’ll actually be engaged and happy at your job, by looking a year or more into the future and making sure things beyond salary – culture, fit, career growth – are in place.
Average candidates will ask average questions, or worse, simple facts that could easily be looked up (Err, umm…how many employees work here?). And while you want your basic questions answered, here are four you might not have thought of, based on an interesting Future of the Workplace slideshow on Business Insider by Aimee Groth and Max Nisen.
4. “What type of training do managers receive?”
If there’s one thing that can make or break your happiness at work, it’s your manager. A great manager can champion your work, advance your career, and be a mentor for life. A bad manager can make your day-to-day life miserable. This is especially important early in your career, and for younger Generation Y workers, who could make up 40% of the workforce by 2020. As the workplace changes and gets younger, it’s going to need younger managers that can adapt and relate to changing demographics.
However, according to the Zenger/Folkman training database, the average boss begins managing people at age 32, but doesn’t get leadership training until they’re 42. Great companies are always thinking about developing and retaining their best talent.
Also inquire about the percentage of female leadership, and how that has changed over time.
3. “What is the office layout and does it change depending on the kind of work being done?”
For years, one question you were told to ask is “What is the company culture like?” Certainly you want to make sure your personality is a match, whether it’s a buttoned-up law firm or laid back creative agency. Progressive startups have pushed their culture to the point where it is almost an extension of college campus living, filled with food, foosball, on-site gyms, and napping stations.
But moving forward, Groth and Nisen contend that the actual design of an office has never been more important. Here’s why:
- Arguments can be made on both sides for an “open office” layout. Does it foster collaboration, or have we just created a room full of 50 individuals wearing headphones?
- What percentage of employees work remotely? In the future, the presentation states that “assigned desks or cubicles will be less necessary and less common.”
- Will you even report to a central office? With a greater number of freelance and contract employees, anywhere from co-working spaces to coffee shops could serve as home base.
- How can companies get creative with space? Cranking out an individual project, collaborating with a small group, or presenting to clients… each situation requires a different atmosphere for getting work done efficiently.
2. “What technology is used to get work done, and who does it belong to?”
The presentation highlighted another line that is being blurred – whether you use a company-issued or personal device to get work done. Sure, during the day, you might spend all your time on a work-issued laptop. But what about when you step out for lunch or check email later on that evening?
Several years ago when I first started at my last company, I had a Treo specifically for work email and had just purchased my first iPhone. At the time I really liked the distinction… work was for work, and personal was for personal. I could leave my Treo at home when I went away for the weekend and truly be unplugged, and the IT department wasn’t dialed into my new smartphone in any way.
But as time moved on, it seemed downright silly to carry 2 devices. While it doesn’t make IT’s job any easier keeping things secure when employees are logging on from iPads in Illinois and laptops in London, having access anytime, anywhere can be both a pro and a con.
1. “How are meetings typically run?”
Along with horrible bosses, one of the worst complaints in the corporate world is meetings. Not only do they fill your calendar and prevent you from putting together more than 45 minutes of uninterrupted time on a project, but once you’re in them you’re often faced with combative power plays and droning Powerpoints.
Once again, technology has made its mark. With employees working from all points of the map in a global economy, online meetings are becoming more commonplace. How often are you expected to meet in person? Do people collaborate using Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, or other video conferencing tools? Is it grounds for dismissal if someone is typing loudly into their speakerphone during a conference call because they don’t know how to use the mute button (oh how I wish it were that easy).
When you’re on the subject, ask about online, collaborative ways that you’ll be evaluated. With less face time with your manager, there needs to be a better way to have a consistent feedback loop.
Speak Up or Be Left Out
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask a less frequently asked question or two. After all, if you are offered and accept the job it’s a place at which you’ll be spending an inordinate amount of time, so do your part to make sure it’s the right fit. Your future depends on it.
Salary.com Can Help Your Career!
Inquiring about non-salary items is definitely necessary and advisable during a job interview, but at some point you’re going to have to talk about salary.com. Luckily Salary.com can help.
The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.