Find people who worked at this company in the past—once again refer to Chapter 5—call them on the telephone, and get information about:
- The person you are targeting
- The department the person runs
- The company
Be sociable and ask these people how they liked working there. Watch for any hesitation before they answer. The pause may be a clue that they don’t want to answer negatively and are framing a safe answer.
The reasons for asking most of the following questions should be obvious. Having said that, keep the following select questions in mind even though it may not be immediately clear why you need to ask them. This exercise will help you prepare for an interview at a later date.
You should ask the following questions in the order they are presented here:
About the Potential Boss
1. Did you work directly for [insert name of potential boss]?
—If the people you question did not work directly for the person, they may not be able to answer the questions 100 percent accurately, but their feedback may still be of value.
2. How long?
—Longer is better.
3. What is [insert name] like?
—What they mention first will be a dominant characteristic. You may need to push a bit to get the response.
4. What kind of person is [insert name]?
5. What kind of manager is he?
6. What does this manager look for in an employee?
—How does your experience compare to that of the people they normally hire?
7. How is [insert name] positioned in the company?
—This is a crucial question to confirm that you are targeting the right person.
8. Is [insert name] on the way up or down?
9. Does he have the ear of the president or owner?
—You need to know whether this person has the capability to hire you and can get the president to sign off.