The End of the Road
8. Your boss criticizes you.
Your boss pulls you aside and tells you, "You're not a team player. You need to collaborate better." When this happens, you should immediately ask him or her two important questions. First, "Could you help me understand what I'm doing wrong by sharing a couple of examples where I have collaborated poorly with others?" And second, "Can you make some specific suggestions for how I could be a better team player?" Your openness to criticism and willingness to improve will make a good impression on your boss, and, hopefully, you'll leave with some specific information you can act on.
9. Your job interview is almost over, and the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions?"
If you've got only a few minutes left, try to make an emotional rather than intellectual connection with the interviewer. Ask, "What do you love most about working here?" or, "As you look ahead to the future of your business, what are you most excited about?" You could also ask about culture - for example, "What types of people thrive here, and on the other hand, what are the most common reasons why new hires don't work out?"
Questions that are thoughtful and personal in nature will put a smile on the interviewer's face. End with a complicated question about business process reengineering, however - or a superficial one about vacation benefits - and they'll be grimacing as you leave. Remember, if you want to be noticed by recruiters, don't talk more. Instead, ask better questions! You'll soon find yourself answering the best question of all: How soon can you start?
10. You're turned down for a new job.
In this job market, you are going to hear "No, thank you" far more often than "You're hired." If you've had only a single screening interview, it's unlikely you'll get any feedback at all out of the firm that rejected you. But if you went through a longer interviewing process, you ought to try and learn something. Here are two questions you should ask your interviewers if you are turned down for a job: "What are you looking for that you did not see in me as a candidate?" and "What advice can you give me, as I apply for other positions, about how to best represent my experience and skills and to handle the interviewing process?"