Sunday, March 1, 2009

Avoid Leading or Loaded Question

Avoid Leading or Loaded Question

Leading questions signal the interviewer that you are looking for a specific
answer. They also signal that you are, at best, an awkward communicator
and, at worst, manipulative. In any case, skewing questions
is not in your interest. Be on guard that your questions are phrased to
be impartial. For example, this is a leading question:

Isn’t it true that your company is regarded as paying slightly better than

This attempt to box in the interviewer is so transparent it will backfire.
Keep the question straight:

How do your company’s compensation schedules compare with the industry

The wording of this next question is arrogant and makes you look

I’m sure you agree with the policy that the customer is always right.

How are employees rewarded for going out of their way to put the customer

What gives you the right to assume what the interviewer agrees with?
Ask it straight. There’s no harm in reporting a part of a company’s positive
reputation, if it’s true.

The company has a reputation for excellent customer service. How do
you motivate and empower employees to make exceptional customer
service a priority?

Loaded questions also make you look bad. Loaded questions reveal your
prejudices and biases. Besides being out of place in a job interview, such
questions convey a sense of arrogance or even contempt. They make you
look like a bully. They always backfire on you, no matter how much you
think your interviewer shares your biases. Typical loaded questions
might be:

How can the company justify locating manufacturing plants in the
People’s Republic of China with its miserable record of human rights

With all the set-aside programs for minorities and people who weren’t
even born in this country,what progress can a white American man hope
to have in your company?

Questions like these reveal your biases, often unintentionally, and cannot
advance your candidacy.

Avoid Veiled Threats

Interviewers hate to be bullied, and they will send you packing at the
first hint of a threat. That means if you have another job offer from
company A, keep it to yourself until after company B has expressed an
interest in making you an offer as well. Unfortunately, candidates have
abused the tactic of pitting employers against each other by brandishing
genuine or, as is more likely the case, fictitious job offers. A few
years ago, this tactic created an unreasonable and unsustainable climate
for hiring. Don’t test it with today’s crop of interviewers;

will wish you luck with the other company and never look back. For

I’m considering a number of other offers, including a very attractive one
from your main competitor, and need to make a decision by Friday. Can
I have your best offer by then?

This question smacks of bullying and desperation. It’s hard to come up
with alternative wording, but this is more effective:

Everything I know about your company and the opportunity you described
leads me to believe that I can immediately start adding value.
I would very much welcome receiving an offer.Another company has
made me an attractive offer to join them, and I said I would give them
my decision by Friday. If my application is receiving serious consideration
here, I would very much like to consider it before then. Is that

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