Job interview etiquette?

Discussion in 'New Roundtable' started by lsu99, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. lsu99

    lsu99 whashappenin

    I've been with the same company for the past 10 yrs and have only been on one interview in that time (although also have somewhat frequent discussions with recruiters - mostly cold contacts via linkedin).

    I'm usually able to find out all of the key components of a potential new job with the exception of the team that I would be managing. I've had a couple of former co-workers get into difficult situations by finding out too late that they were brought in to manage a long-time "problem" employee that upper management does not want to terminate for whatever reason.

    If you get to the latter stages of the interview process such as even receiving an offer letter, how much should you ask about your direct staff? Can you review personnel files (i.e. not make copies but just while you are in their office)? Can you ask for names so that you can review their linkedin/facebook/etc. profiles? Ask whether you will have authority to terminate employees?
  2. LSUpride123

    LSUpride123 Boobies make everything A OK!!!

    IMO, I would think the more you understand and learn about the job, company, and its people; the better off you will be. Though I am a junior employee so there is that....:(
  3. mancha

    mancha Alabama morghulis

    I am an "individual contributor" but work in a teams oriented environment. I have never been interviewed by a potential new manager. I don't think you could review personnel records of employees for a company you don't even work for. Sounds like some privacy rights violations to me.
  4. uscvball

    uscvball Veteran Member

    It sounds like you are interviewing for a spot within your current company? If so, I think it makes plenty of sense to find out what you can about your future "team". However, it almost sounds as if you are reticent if there were to be a problem child. I see that as an opportunity. Too often we can get focused in on the exception rather than establishing the rule of performance and team. Problem children always manage to find a way to get themselves suspended or terminated without much help from management. See what I'm saying? If a long term problem is still hanging around, I suspect that it's due to management's failure to document, be consistent, and working WITH human resources.

    So...yes you should and can ask about them. No, you can't review personnel files. As for the public profiles or termination authority, that depends entirely on company policy. I doubt any HR dep't would give you the go ahead to look at that stuff if you are not their immediate supervisor. And exactly who can terminate an employee without going through the process? It is very rare to be able to just fire someone on the spot. Document, document, document. Then communicate, adjudicate, and move forward. It can be tedious but that's why problem children hang around. It's been my experience that plenty of supervisors and managers don't want to have that difficult conversation where they tell someone it's not working out. They often fear the reaction and the funny thing is, it rarely turns out to be what folks have built up in their head.

    Now, if you don't work for this company already, then no you really can't get any personal info about your potential team. I can't stress enough, don't focus in on the problem. Give your time and attention to those who are doing it right.
  5. red55

    red55 curmudgeon Staff Member

    Then be prepared to manage one. if you identify a problem child quickly, assess upper managements for their feelings then be prepared to fire, demote, or transfer somebody. If they are looking for a manager to deal with problems without holding his hand then you'd better come on like a manager that can deal with problems.

    Of course not.

    You can't really do that either. Assess your staff when you get the job.

    Yes. Also ask what problems in the unit need your immediate attention. Ask if the last manager had difficulty with anything that you might inherit. Don't come on like you fear to deal with a problem employee. Come on like you are trying to assess the challenges you will face and have every intention of handling.
  6. lsu99

    lsu99 whashappenin

    Thank you for the excellent feedback. No, it's not within my current company.

    One of my former co-workers left our company about a year ago for his ideal job (on the surface). On his 1st day, one of his direct reports introduced herself by saying "I just want to let you know that you have no authority to fire me. I suggest you keep your contact to me limited to only what is absolutely necessary for carrying out day to day tasks." He was apparently the 4th manager within 18 months that was brought in to deal with this problem employee. They gave no indication during the interview process that there was a potential issue. When he went to Seattle about a week later for training/transition, one of the other former managers pulled him aside to discuss the problem employee's past history.

    I work for a company that has had quite a bit of turnover during the past 10 years. However, there have been obvious "problem employees" that have remained. None have been in my department but it's obvious that they have poor attitude and/or lack of competence.

    North Houston is extremely hot with the new Exxon headquarters along with huge expansion from others like Anadarko, CB&I, etc. I'm getting an increase in calls for really good jobs. I feel confident that I can find out all of the key details regarding whether to accept a new position with the exception of the thing that possibly matters most. The people that will be working for me.
  7. LSUDad

    LSUDad Senior Member

    The Headquarters being built in the Woodlands area, its coming along fine, if you have to find a house, you may have a problem in that area. The addition of Hwy 99 will help. I know some of the people at Jacobs working on the project, I also have a friend that worked at Jacobs for years, he was asked if he wanted to work for Exxon and help with the project. He is now working for XOM, an is overseeing the project. There was a large write-up in the Houston newspaper about 5 weeks ago. Best of luck. Let me know if you need more info.
  8. shane0911

    shane0911 Veteran Member Staff Member

    My reply would have been "Nice to meet you, you're fired"
    LSUDad likes this.
  9. lsu99

    lsu99 whashappenin

    We lived in Houston from 01-08 and then moved to The Woodlands in the summer of 08. We were very fortunate with the timing. Yes, it's getting very difficult for anyone to find a home in The Woodlands. I'm guessing it's a little easier in some of the other areas nearby (Magnolia, Spring, Conroe) although maybe not for long.

    There is a rumor that The Woodlands is trying to acquire new land so that they are not capped by the original master plan of only an eventual 130k. The commercial development is staggering.
    LSUDad likes this.
  10. uscvball

    uscvball Veteran Member

    Well then, you absolutely cannot ask about any specifics regarding those for whom you will work. In fact, if you were to ask during your interview, it would certainly set off alarm bells. I wouldn't be anxious to hire someone who was interested in that level of info.

    That is a company problem, not an individual employee with issues problem. Ludicrous. 4 managers and they can't "deal" with ONE employee? I will say it again....they either did not communicate or document or counsel or all of the above. If an employee understands their job requirements, yet fails to perform or violates human resource policy, then there are steps to follow and it becomes easy to do. If she was truly operating with impunity, it's because she knows something and has threatened to make it known or she's screwing a higher-up. I would be willing to bet she has alleged sexual harassment in the past.

    Again, IMHO, the problem employees are the supervisors, not the line workers (or whatever analogy fits your line of work). Document, document, document. Make friends with Human Resources. Be consistent in applying rules and discipline. Make your conduct above reproach.

    My brother.....I want to challenge your way of thinking. Consider your employment as though it were a linear process. You are in the middle of the line. Don't look backwards, toward the negative integers, but look forward to those who will help form and support your journey. I'm talking about your boss and their boss. They are far more important to your success. You can have a shitty team but still succeed within any company IF you have support up the line. Instead of deciding if you fit into a company, define what you want in a company and a boss and then go find it. Deal with the ceiling, not the floor. Does that make sense?

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