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Questions the Recruit Needs to Ask


In a previous article I critiqued the questions many Recruiters and Hiring Managers ask potential/future employees (and contractor/Free-Agents). Here I will attempt to structure a response set of questions that the recruit or employee should ask (and be asking) the manager (future or current).

I suggested the following questions should be asked by the manager of a recruit:


  1. How do you believe you can contribute to the bottom line and success of the company?”

  2. How do you believe you can assist the company with innovative ideas and project deliverables that will enhance the profitability of the company?”

  3. How will your efforts make your manager's job easier and contribute to project success?”


This is just half of the equation. There are corollary questions that should be asked of the recruiter or hiring manager by the person being interviewed for a position. But first some background.



Many companies and managers fail to understand the basic premise of employer/employee relationships. Over the past years (maybe decades) this relationship has been tantamount to adversarial when it should and needs to be cooperative.

Keeping in mind the goal of hiring a worker is to contribute to the advancement and hopefully profitability of the company, an adversarial relationship is hardly conducive to productive endeavors.


If a manager wishes to be successful, (the smart ones) he/she should attempt to recruit and retain employees (or contract personnel) who are the most excellent and talented available. This often means that these people who will work for the manager will exceed his capabilities in many, most or even all areas. If the manager's job is to manage, guide, encourage and succeed in efforts to promote the company's growth and profitability, then his primary duty should be to surround himself with the best possible talent.


The mark of an excellent manager is one who makes himself available for promotions by providing such excellence in his staff/team that he/she is easily replaced by one of his subordinates. Shocking concept isn't it? One that you seldom find in most current management layers of today's corporation management layers.


To this end, the employee/worker needs to be motivated and compensated (both monetarily as well as professionally) to encourage continued contributions to the organization. This compensation and motivation are unique to most individuals.


Motivation & Compensation


Abraham Maslow, in his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, got it right way back then! He listed the basic human needs as:


  1. Physiological Needs biological needs.

  2. Safety Needs Security and environmental safety.

  3. Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness A sense of community.

  4. Needs for Esteem - self-respect, and respect from others.

  5. Needs for Self-Actualization To be all that you can be!


Salary and monetary compensation helps meet the first two. The next two relate to individual maturity, personal responsibility and the ability to socially contribute to one's family, community and fellow workers. Once the first four are met or at least satisfied, the fifth and most important need of Self Actualization comes into play.


Mutual Contract for Success


It is certainly NOT the company's responsibility to totally satisfy an individual's needs as stated above. But it IS the responsibility of the company and employee (or contractor) to provide a mutually beneficial environment that provides for the success of the individual, the manager and ultimately the company.


This cooperative environment can be defined in a contract or job description that clearly defines the mutual responsibilities of both the employer and the employee (contractor). Providing clearly stated objectives (continuously changing as responsibilities and duties shift) and definitive goals and responsibilities for both parties that can insure understanding and provide the basis for communication and cooperation. This in turn will insure success of any endeavor that combines the employee's contributions and the managers ability to meet his directives as set forth by senior management of the company.


This also provides the foundation from which much of the individual's motivational framework can ultimately contribute to his/her ability to achieve some measure of Self-Actualization and to be all that they can be. This focus on excellence and self-actualization also provides incentives that make most workers more productive, pleased with their work environment and thus able to contribute to the success of the company.


Questions to be Asked of the Employer


So we finally come to the questions (foundation for discussion) that potential/current employees should ask of the recruiter or hiring manager:


  1. How will the company provide a working environment that will allow me to perform to the best of my ability and thus to contribute to the bottom line and success of the company?

  2. How will the company provide an environment that is conducive to constructive and innovative ideas and how will I be able to communicate and share these ideas with the company; providing mutually beneficial rewards?

  3. How will my manager support my work and provide a positive environment that will allow me to grow professionally, continually learning and growing as my experience level increases?

  4. Finally, how will my contributions be continually rewarded with a combination of base compensation, incentives and benefits?


While this is not a perfect world, there is no need to have an adversarial environment between managers and employees (or contractors). Forming a mutually beneficial 'contract like' working environment where bi-directional and mutual communications convey expectations, goals and objectives clearly and succinctly will ultimately contribute to the success and profitability of any company.



^ a b Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

^ A.H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50(4) (1943):370-96.