Six Questions To Ask In The Interview To Avoid Any Surprises on Your First Day On The Job

Jeff Altman
5 min readJan 14

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Originally published on

Marty was a hiring manager I coached who left to join a new firm. Not long after he started, he called me sounding like he was ready to cry.

“I made a terrible mistake taking this job. I took over a program for my firm and didn’t know that at the time I took it over, 80% of the money budgeted had already been spent, but only 20% of the work had been completed. The guy who previously headed it quit and is heading elsewhere.”

“I’m ‘the fall guy’ for the failure.”

Too often, when people start new jobs, they ask their new boss or manager little more than “Tell me about the job” in the interview. As a result, a new hire is walking in blind to the expectations of their new boss has.

Instead, here are a few questions you should ask in order to get a better feel for your potential new role.

1. ‘Let’s say you hire me and I come on board. What would your expectations be for the first 30, 60 and 90 days after I join?’

Start by getting right down to the point. What will you actually be doing once you join and how will they measure your success? This allows you to have certainty when you are being reviewed that you hit the mark.

2. ‘What was my predecessor in the role like? What did they do well? What could they have done differently?’

This will tell you if they were promoted or transferred. Otherwise, you can assume they left for a better job. What’s really important is what they did well so that you can keep doing it, and what they didn’t do well, so you can avoid doing it.

3. ‘What would your (users, customers) say about the performance of the (group, team, department)?’

This is a slightly different question than the one you previously asked. It is a test of how the group is perceived, not your predecessor. Your predecessor may have created “bad press” about their team…

Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you