RE: Is interviewing for a FT different than Contract?

Subject: RE: Is interviewing for a FT different than Contract?
From: "Tanja Rosteck" <tsr -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 16:49:29 -0400

Jane Carnall wrote:

> I used to hate this question. Then I turned it around...
> Now I ask *them*
> "Where do you see your company 5 years from now?" <g> This
> works on so many
> levels it's almost funny.

So true! I love asking that question. I also like to ask, "So what
your product's competitive advantage?". And if they say their company
is the market leader for their product or service, I always ask *why*
they're the market leader.

This is partly to find out more about the company and their products,
but it's also a great way to find out how good (or bad) internal
communications and culture are. If the interviewer is a manager or
senior staffer and can't give a proper answer to those questions, it's
really not a good sign.

Sadly, structure or company size has nothing to do with it. I
interviewed recently with a small software company for a TW job. The
person interviewing me was the VP of Product Management (or somesuch
title). He answered the first question okay, but when I asked why his
company was the market leader for their product, he drew a complete
blank (as did the other interviewer present, the Marketing director).
There was a good 15 seconds of silence while they thought about it,
and I never did get an answer (they laughed nervously and changed the
subject instead).

I had a similar response at a much larger company. While I don't
expect that the Documentation Manager in a 600-employee company is
going to know the complete corporate strategy off by heart, they
should *at least* know the basics of the product the company sells,
who they sell it to, and why customers are buying it. In fact, they
would *need* that information to be able to produce effective docs and
help services for their customers! So if they can't give proper
answers on those kinds of questions, it tells you a LOT about how they
operate and what you could expect if you get the job.

BTW, I still ask those questions now that I'm working exclusively on
contract projects, although I only ask them during a project
consultation rather than during an initial interview. If you're
interviewing for a contract position, the initial interview is more
about selling your services and showing the client the benefits of
working with *you* rather than someone else. Specifics about company
culture or corporate strategy are generally not as important when
you're contracting, and can be discussed once you land the contract


Tanjerine Communications
phone 514.935.0463
email tanja -at- tsr-writing -dot- com


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RE: Is interviewing for a FT different than Contract?: From: Jane Carnall

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