Questions For Potential Employers

By Skip Stein Print this article Print

Job interviews should be a two-way street, with applicants getting key information about prospective positions while answering questions about themselves.

In a previous article I critiqued the questions many recruiters and hiring managers ask potential employees and contractors*.  Equally important are the questions job candidates should be asking in response. 

Key questions to be asked of  a potential employer include:

1.    How will the company provide a working environment that will allow me to perform to the best of my ability and thus to contribute to the bottom line and success of the company?

2.    How will the company provide an environment that is conducive to constructive and innovative ideas  and how will I be able to communicate and share these ideas with the company; providing mutually beneficial rewards?

3.    How will my manager support my work and provide a positive environment that will allow me to grow professionally, continually learning and growing as my experience level increases?

4.    Finally, how will my contributions be continually rewarded with a combination of base compensation,  incentives and benefits?

There is no need to have an adversarial environment between managers and employees.  Forming a mutually beneficial working environment where bi-directional and mutual communications convey expectations, goals and objectives clearly and succinctly will ultimately contribute to the success and profitability of any company.

If a manager wishes to be successful, the people who will work for him will exceed his capabilities in many areas.  The manager's job is to promote the company's growth and profitability, so his primary duty should be to surround himself with the best possible talent.

The mark of an excellent manager is one who makes himself available for promotion by providing such excellence in his team that he/she is easily replaced by one of his subordinates.  To this end, the employee needs to be motivated and compensated (both monetarily as well as professionally) to encourage continued contributions to the organization. 

Motivation & Compensation

Abraham Maslow, in his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, got it right when he listed the basic human needs as:

1.    Physiological Needs – biological needs.

2.    Safety Needs – security and environmental safety.

3.    Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness – sense of community.

4.    Needs for Esteem -  self-respect, and respect from others.

5.    Needs for Self-Actualization – to be all that you can be.

Salary and monetary compensation helps meet the first two.  The next two relate to individual maturity, personal responsibility and the ability to socially contribute to one's family, community and fellow workers.  Once the first four are met or at least satisfied, the fifth and most important need of Self Actualization comes into play.

Mutual Contract for Success

It is certainly NOT the company's responsibility to totally satisfy an individual's needs as stated above. But it IS the responsibility of the company and employee to provide a mutually beneficial environment that provides for the success of the individual, the manager and ultimately the company. 

This cooperative environment can be defined in a contract or job description that clearly defines the mutual responsibilities of both the employer and the employee. 

This also provides the foundation from which much of the individual's motivational framework can ultimately contribute to his/her ability to achieve some measure of Self-Actualization and to be all that they can be.  This focus on excellence and self-actualization also provides incentives that make most workers more productive, pleased with their work environment and thus able to contribute to the success of the company.

* I suggested the following questions should be asked by the manager of a recruit:

1.    “How do you believe you can contribute to the bottom line and success of the company?”

2.    “How do you believe you can assist the company with innovative ideas and project deliverables that will enhance the profitability of the company?”

3.    “How will your efforts make your manager's job easier and contribute to project success?”

Skip Stein is the president of Management Systems Consulting, Inc.

This article was originally published on 2010-09-13
Skip Stein is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.
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