A Null Interview Question

You know what job interview question I hate to get and don’t like to ask? The commonplace general “Why do you want this position / do you want to work here?” question. I admit, I’ve fumbled on it a bit when asked. Sure, you’ve done some research on the company, you have a sense about what they do, and maybe you have talked to someone working there and get some inside information. Maybe not. Regardless, they’re asking me what I would think about the company from the inside while I’m on the outside.

I mean, regardless of the company, I want the following things when I take a job:

  • I want money. I’m not in this to change the world. I am a mercenary with a good skill set. I want a good paycheck. Also, they tell me benefits are important. But if you’re not going to offer me good compensation, I’m not going to work there.
  • I want a multiplier. Frankly, I’d like some benefit to my working there for some length of time related to the fact that I’m working there for some length of time. I want options, I want an employee stock purchase program where I get the stock of a growing company at a discount, and/or I want room for some advancement.
  • I want to do different things. I don’t want to sit in a cubicle, running the same set of test cases against a set of features or application for months, much less years.
  • I want to make a difference. I don’t want to just be a tip o’ the hat to the importance of QA and testing whose suggestions and defects are ignored. I need to see that I’m improving the product or project.
  • I need to be proud of where I work and what we do. This follows from many of the above, but I take pride in what I do, and if I can’t take pride in what we do, I won’t do it for long.
  • I wouldn’t mind a foosball table. I’ve worked on this pull shot for years; I’d hate for it to go to waste.

That’s what I want from any job, and here’s a dirty little secret: Outside of the assembly line, every employer will tell you that’s what it offers. I guess the answer gives the interviewer a sense of your priorities or something. Or maybe it’s one of the basic things the HR schools say you must ask, or the interviewers just remember getting asked that question at every job interview they’ve ever been to. When interviewing, I don’t ask it. Meaningless, I tell you.

On the other hand, a bit of a riposte is to ask your interviewer or interviewers, “How long have you been here? Why are you here?” Someone working at the company knows what it’s like to work there and what the company offers its employees, or at least the employees sitting in on your interview.

One Response to “A Null Interview Question”

  1. dsynadinos Says:

    Excellent post. Really excellent.

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