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How to interview the interviewer

There is a saying: "people join company's and leave managers." An interview is a 2 way street. It is as important for you to prepare questions to ask the interviewer and it is to prepare answers to the questions that the interviewer may ask you. No one wants to take a new job only to find out 2 weeks later that your new boss is a big meany like Cruela de Vil!

Here are some good questions to ask when interviewing the interviewer.

Is this a new position?

If it's a new position that could be a good sign the company is growing. If it is a new position ask what the training plan is. Are they setting you up for success or is it a "sink or swim" organization?

If it is a back fill, find out how long the last person was in the role. Quick turnover should be a warning sign that either the manager is bad or the workload is unreasonable.

What does success look like in this role?

What are their expectations - and are they reasonable? Find out how they will support you in meeting the goals.

How would you describe the company culture?

This is a big one. The phrase "work hard, play hard" usually means work hard. Are 12 hour days the right fit for you? If they say they value work\life balance" it's probably going to be a more laid back environment, again is that the right fit for you? If they say it's a culture of honesty, are you OK hearing very direct feedback?

What is your management style?

Going back to the notion that "people join company's and leave managers" this is probably the most important question to ask. You can also ask other direct reports in the interview how they would describe the managers leadership style or you can ask the manager how others would describe their leadership style. Is this person a micro manager? Are they completely hands off? Do they help their team grow with regular feedback or do they walk in to their annual review with no idea of what to expect.

How did you get to be where you are?

What is the managers background? How long have they been with the organization? How long have they been a people manager? Is the manager still figuring out how to lead the team?

A career coach can help you prepare to interview the interviewer.

You might also be interested in reading: How to answer "Tell me about yourself."