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Old 07-18-2012, 06:28 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,366 times
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Hi! I'm a finalist for a job in another state. I traveled there for my first interview but didn't have a chance to meet anyone except to answer the interviewers' questions.

My finalist interview will be via phone. What kinds of questions could I diplomatically ask to get a better sense of company morale, etc., without wrecking the chance to be hired?

If I'm selected, is it okay to ask for a chance to speak to a random staff member before I accept? Any ways to ask without making a negative impression?

Getting the job offer would be a big deal. I don't mind some unknowns and don't want to ruin the chance. But it would mean a costly move far away from family and friends.

P.S. Unfortunately, not a type of company where I could ask around in the industry network. I'm on my own for this one. Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:08 PM
 
Location: California
4,402 posts, read 11,602,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breneo View Post
Hi! I'm a finalist for a job in another state. I traveled there for my first interview but didn't have a chance to meet anyone except to answer the interviewers' questions.

My finalist interview will be via phone. What kinds of questions could I diplomatically ask to get a better sense of company morale, etc., without wrecking the chance to be hired?

Ask them what their favorite parts of the job are...this will give you an insight into the culture.

If I'm selected, is it okay to ask for a chance to speak to a random staff member before I accept? Any ways to ask without making a negative impression?

Not any that I am able to think of. Just looks bad in all ways.

Getting the job offer would be a big deal. I don't mind some unknowns and don't want to ruin the chance. But it would mean a costly move far away from family and friends.

Not to be unsympathetic, but that is the chance you take when you apply out of state. If you feel good about it, take the job. If not, decline it.

P.S. Unfortunately, not a type of company where I could ask around in the industry network. I'm on my own for this one. Thanks!

Google the company and see what they say about it online
Good luck
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:26 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,366 times
Reputation: 10
Default Really helpful ideas...

Thanks for some great ideas! I'll ask them about their favorite parts of the job. This also will tell me more about them. Guess you're right that I shouldn't ask to speak to a random staff member. Once, at a previous job, an applicant made that request -- and the boss picked me to speak to the candidate. I now recall that I felt some unspoken pressure not to "diss" management. Yes, it's tough to predict what will happen if I move across the country. But I guess there's no gain without some risk.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:45 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 39,747,775 times
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The chances of a current employee being 100% honest with you about stuff like that is probably very slim.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:59 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,366 times
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Default Honest evaluation...

Yes, good point. Wish they'd included an office tour and meeting some staff during my first interview/visit. The upcoming finalist phone interview is my last chance to get some clues in case they offer me the job. When it comes time for me to ask questions, guess I could cautiously ask something about "what's the greatest challenge" or something like that. Out-of-state jobs have their own "challenges".
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:06 PM
 
Location: California
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I would avoid "challenges" as it sounds like you are looking for the issues. I would want to avoid coming across like you are looking for the "bad"
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:07 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 39,747,775 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breneo View Post
Yes, good point. Wish they'd included an office tour and meeting some staff during my first interview/visit. The upcoming finalist phone interview is my last chance to get some clues in case they offer me the job. When it comes time for me to ask questions, guess I could cautiously ask something about "what's the greatest challenge" or something like that. Out-of-state jobs have their own "challenges".
I think that is a good question. But I wouldn't push it too much. Honestly most jobs have the same issue. It is very difficult to really get a good feel for the office environment.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:12 PM
 
Location: USA
4,980 posts, read 8,434,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
The chances of a current employee being 100% honest with you about stuff like that is probably very slim.

I agree. I'd go and get an extended stay and not move all of my stuff.
Start the job, and see what it's like. If it's the job from hell, you can move back and you haven't completely relocated.
If it's good, you can go home on a weekend and start packing and move on weekends.

I read about someone once, who went and stayed outside a place several times as the employees were leaving, to listen to the talk. They said they picked up some feelings about the place that way.
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:49 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,366 times
Reputation: 10
Default Helpful ideas...

I really appreciate the insights. My phone interview is less than a week away. I'll just ask questions that show I'm qualified. If they hire me, guess I'll relocate on a privately "trial basis" at first. Of course, things could change either way based on manager turnover. But I do wish there was a subtle way I could get a sense of company morale (without waiting outside and listening). Nothing on the Web about the company ... but good idea!
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:25 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,127,874 times
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When I was a hiring manager, I was asked things like:

What are you proudest of accomplishing in your career here at XYZ Company?

What is it about XYZ Company that makes you proud to work here?

I saw on your company website (or in the lobby, or in a brochure) that your mission statement is "Blah, blah, blah." Can you tell me how your department puts that into practice?

Do you encourage and support individual effort or a team approach to problem-solving?

None of those questions will necessarily give you all the answers you're looking for, but they can reveal red flags. For example, a hiring manager who answers the first question by saying that s/he is proudest of reducing overhead expenses and staffing levels by 20% in six months is one I'd probably not want to work for.

Good luck, and I hope it goes well!
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