Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers



Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. When applicants ask questions, it shows their interest in a company as well as their communication abilities, especially if they ask the right questions.

Actually, there are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview.

Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

ID-10091541For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself. If you’ve ever accepted an offer for the wrong job, you know it’s a pain.

Either way, it’s in your best interest to learn more about the company and the position before accepting a job offer.

Chances are you’ll be interviewed by more than one person. When in doubt, ask them each the same questions so you can compare their answers.

Here are key questions to ask:

1. What have former employees done to be successful in this job?

You’ll probably learn important points. For instance, you’ll learn the expectations of the company.

Moreover, you’ll learn something about the company’s culture. You might also learn how and why the previous person succeeded or failed.

2. How has the job evolved?

More than likely, you’ll learn whether it’s a dead-end position. If you’re not ambitious, OK. But if you’re ambitious, you’ll want to know if it’s a position offering potential — a catalyst for professional growth and promotions within the company.

For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself.

3. In the next three months, what are the priorities for this position?

Obviously, you’ll discover on what you’ll need to focus to get a good start. As a new employee, it’s important to make a great initial impression and on what you’ll need to accomplish.

If the interviewer paints a comprehensive picture of expectations, you’ll be able to gauge whether the job would be the right fit for you. If you’re a high achiever, OK. On the other hand, if the employer has too many expectations, you’ll readily see a red flag.

4. What do you think are the biggest challenges for this job?

You’ll get a quick dose of reality. Hopefully, you’ll sense transparency. If the interviewer paints a utopian picture – the job is a cake walk – you’ll want to be very careful about accepting an offer. Few jobs are that easy in this economy.

Also, a lot depends on your professional goals. For example, if you’re trying to work your way up your career ladder, you might be disappointed if the answer indicates you’ll get stuck working awful hours or mundane duties.

If you’re a manager, you might be told you’ll be given all the tools to succeed or you might be expected to accomplish the impossible with poor resources.

5. If I were to be offered the position, how would I be working with my manager?

The supervisor’s style will be revealed to you. This means, you’ll learn how the company treats its employees.  You might not like to be given marching orders all day long. You might prefer a more collegial, collaborative style.

You’ll find out the company’s reasons for its preferred management style and its culture. Either way, you’ll see if you’d be happy.

6. What do employees appreciate the most about working for the company?

If the interviewer hesitates in answering the question or has difficulty, it’s likely you won’t enjoy working there. Conversely, if you’re told the company provides great benefits, revenue sharing or bonuses, you’re getting a green light.

7. If you’re interviewing for a manager’s position, ask: What are the qualities of successful managers?

If the person can’t give you success stories, you’ll learn whether it’s a dynamic company, Otherwise, you’ll get a positive answer and an idea of what the company appreciates in a manager.

8. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?

Employers like to hire people who are confident and communicative. Such a question demonstrates your self confidence and your openness to be coached, which is an indication of your soft skills.

If the person mentions any concerns, listen intently. Be direct and answer the questions as adroitly as you can. If you’re successful in overcoming any concerns, congratulations. If not, it’s a great learning experience for your next job application.

Either way, make sure you are prepared with a great elevator pitch.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more career tips:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen.

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? Getting tongue-tied is not a fun experience.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear. 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo by imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone



Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews.

Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen. The employer already thinks enough of you to schedule a discussion.

It’s an opportunity to confidently discuss your background and experience while displaying your personality — your suitability to fit in the company’s culture.

ID-100300363 stockimagesSo, your professionalism is really important — what you say and how you say it, your voice tone and pitch, as well as your conviction and passion for the job and industry.

Here are telephone-interview tips:

– Prepare for the interview. When asked to be interviewed, find out who the interviewer will be and how long the person wants to talk with you.

Review the job description. Take notes so that you’ll be able to mention your successes that address the company’s objectives.

Be ready with your notes, and your cover letter and resume so you can refer to them — whether it’s an interview on the phone (or in-person later).

– Confirm the appointment. If you have the person’s e-mail address, e-mail a confirmation or do so in a telephone message. This will keep you focused. It will show you’re organized.

It will also constitute an opportunity for you — the more positive contacts you have with an employer, the more you increase your odds for success. Typically, five positive contacts will increase your chances.

– Manage the interview process. Avoid extemporaneous interviews. If you’re surprised by a phone call to ask you questions, empathize and thank the person but don’t submit to an interview.

Ask for a later time for a telephone discussion. This will buy you time to prepare — to review your thoughts about the opening, the company, and what you hope to contribute as an employee. 

Think up several questions — preferably five or so — to ask the interviewer. This will help you to shine vs. your competing applicants. 

– Speak well in the interview. You’re likely to be nervous so before answering the phone, take deep breaths. During the discussion, talk from your diaphragm while standing. Yes, stand during the interview. 

This will help you to sound confident, which is a major attraction for good employers. (Just don’t walk around, as your footsteps and heavier breathing will likely be a distraction for the interviewer.)

Take your time in answering questions. If you’re unsure about how to answer a question, ask that it be repeated. This will give you additional time to refer to your materials or to think and answer the question strategically.

– Conclusion steps. When it’s obvious the interview has ended, ask what you can expect in the next steps. Without gushing, sincerely express your appreciation for the interview opportunity and your desire to work in the company’s desired role, if the firm feels you’re suitable.

Handwrite a thank you note. Thank the person, mention a topic or two from the telephone chat that you appreciate, offer your personal branding statement (why you’re a good a fit for their job description-expectations) and a buyer’s remorse statement (how pleased they’ll be after hiring you).

Immediately head to the post office before the last mail dispatch, so that your note goes out right away. Make every attempt to make certain your thank-you note arrives the next day.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting?

HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day — Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants.

Is Your Career Stalled? Turbo Charge Your Personal Brand — Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed. You’re not alone. Millions of professionals are trying to solve similar puzzles.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — If you play it smart, you can take advantage of the 500-million Twitter account-holders to get a new job or career. Sure, it’s a daunting task, but the potential for success is terrific.

5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use a tracking system to screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. 

Whatever happens, understand that it’s not others who determine what you can do — it’s you.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions



Sept. 13, 2013 –

Naturally, Dr. Ben Carson is known as a uniquely soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon. His voluminous accomplishments include his pioneering in the separation of conjoined twins at the head.

But, of course, there’s more. A lot more.

With his gentle, low-key demeanor, he’s also known for his powerful insights on the issues facing the U.S. and the world. He has novel ideas on issues ranging from the economy and education to the Middle East.

The C-SPAN video of his criticism of President Obama’s dysfunctional policies at the National Prayer Breakfast — with the president sitting to his right — exploded all over the Internet.

So, it was an immense pleasure for me to interview Dr. Carson.

Dr. Carson was in Seattle with innovative Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – each received an award and addressed the 2013 annual dinner meeting of the Washington Policy Center (WPC), www.washingtonpolicy.org.

It was WPC’s largest-ever event – an overflow crowd at the Seattle Sheraton, which was also transmitted to hundreds of WPC supporters viewing in Spokane.

Dr. Carson was given WPC’s “Champion of Freedom Award” for his humanitarian efforts to advance the causes of “freedom, equality and justice; for his pioneering work as a doctor; and for his courage in speaking out in support of transparent and ethical leadership.”                     

He was also the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Along with his pediatric neurosurgery and widespread acclaim, he is president of the Carson Scholars Fund – it’s given more than $5.7 million to thousands of scholars – 5,700+.

His demeanor on television is that of a down-to-earth, calm, and insightful intellectual. I wanted to see for myself. With coordination by WPC, Dr. Carson was made available to the press for 20 minutes, which is why I was able to sit down and ask him numerous questions.

Indeed, his in-person style and intellect mirrored his TV persona.

Here are edited excerpts of his answers to me:

Q: Dr. Carson, many Americans hope you run for president in 2016. Will you? 

A: I don’t have political ambitions. It’s like a deadly poppy field in the Wizard of Oz. This country does have many problems that need to be solved…the economy…education…Americans must come together.

I detest politics, to be honest with you. It’s a cesspool. And I don’t think I would fare well in that cesspool because I don’t believe in political correctness and I certainly don’t believe in dishonesty. If the right situation doesn’t evolve in 2016, if drafted, I’d have to consider it, but not now.

Q: We don’t hear or see much action on the nation’s $16-trillion deficit. It’s as though it’s off the radar screen. 

A: Now it’s closer to $17 trillion. Counting one number per second, it would take 539,000 years to reach 17 trillion. We’re on a high wire with no net. The United States is operating solely on faith and good credit. Economics is not brain surgery.

Q: At the National Prayer Breakfast – with Mr. Obama seated to your right and his head ostensibly bowed in embarrassment – using diplomacy and with surgical precision you diagnosed his unproductive policies. 

A: It surprised me to be invited as it was the second time they invited me to speak. I didn’t plan what I was going to say.

Q: It’s been well-documented about your difficult childhood. Who has inspired you? 

A: My mother, first of all. My mother refused to give up. She taught me the importance of a strong education and relationship with God. She helped me to see through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.

Booker T. Washington. From slavery he became an educator, author and advisor to presidents. I learned it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s where you finish.

Thomas Jefferson. He said many wise things about government:

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…”

“…history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

Q: In your career as a surgeon and now as a thought leader, how do you remain so calm in dealing with difficult subjects that anger other people? 

A: Actually, as a boy, I was angry. Once, another youngster angered me, and I had a knife and tried to stab him…I was more terrified as I recognized that I was trying to kill somebody over nothing. I realized at that moment that with a temper like that, my options were three: reform school, jail or the grave. So, I just locked myself up in the bathroom and I started praying and I said, “Lord, I can’t deal with this temper.”

Q: Your thoughts about education? 

A: A better educational system is crucial. More money won’t help. There have to be fundamental changes. It starts with fun in teaching children to love reading.  

Q: Your thoughts on ObamaCare? 

A: Healthcare has huge problems. There is waste and corruption. The costs are enormous. Changes are needed. For the majority of ObamaCare, I am down on it.

The key is to cut out the middleman and empower both doctor and patient with information about what things cost. Patients and doctors are unhappy with ObamaCare.

I’d argue it’s unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decision put the problem back on the voters who elected these politicians.

Q: Dr. Carson, what about the debate over Syria and the Middle East? 

A: With better policies four years ago, we’d be looking at a different Middle East. Chemical weapons are a serious problem. But one needs to be very careful – most of us don’t have any idea about the problems in the Middle East and the consequences. We must go slow.

In conclusion, Dr. Carson is the full-meal deal. Indeed, he’s extraordinary. This country needs him badly as president.

From the Coach’s Corner, for a perspective on Dr. Carson, here are some observations from my experience in covering other national figures:

Long before becoming a management consultant and business writer, in the 1970s I had a 20-year career in broadcast journalism and was fortunate to cover many big stories and political newsmakers.

They included Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, on the campaign trail; President Gerald Ford after he was defeated for re-election; California Governor Jerry Brown in his first term; and the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.

That was a time when politics had much more civility. When president, Messrs. Reagan and O’Neill debated over their differences. But at the end of the day they sat down over a beer and were cordial.

Candidly, after my personal angst from President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon following Watergate, I had a low opinion of him. However, later, I realized President Ford was right. America was faced with many severe problems and as he said the “the table has to be cleared.” A couple of years later when I broke a national story about his post-presidency plans in Rancho Mirage, California and met him socially at a press function in his honor, I was deeply impressed with his demeanor, which in my mind confirmed the caliber of his leadership.

Mr. Ford was grossly underrated. Years later, it would prompt me to write: Five Attributes of Leadership Are Needed Now 

My early sense of Mr. Reagan when he was governor of California was similar. But years after my misspent young adulthood, I realized the error of my thinking when Mr. Reagan began to speak about national issues in the mid 1970s.

So with these thoughts, I no longer wonder about Dr. Carson. He has a commonality with Messrs. Ford and Reagan.

P.S. You might also want to read: Key Differences between Leaders and Managers 

“The Roman Empire was very, very much like us. They lost their moral core, their sense of values in terms of who they were. And after all of those things converged together, they just went right down the tubes very quickly.” 

-Dr. Ben Carson

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.