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Honestly, what are my chances of getting this job?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BB Bobcat, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Have you ever asked this question flat-out to a prospective employer? Would you expect to get an honest answer?

    If you have hired, has anyone asked this? Did you answer honestly? How did you feel about being asked?

    It seems to me that it would put the employer in an awkward position to answer a question he's not prepared to answer or to lie to you, so I've never done it. But maybe I'm too nice. Sure would make life a lot easier if you could ask this and expect an honest answer.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, and yes. And it depended.

    Once I said, "Very good. I have a few people left to talk to and some things to check, but I'd call you the leader in the clubhouse right now." Talked to a few more, checked some things out, hired the person.

    Once I said, "Actually, slim. As I told you, we have a ton of qualified applicants for this job and several are ahead of you in terms of experience and ability. But you stuck out as someone worth taking a long look at, and that's why I explained all of this to you before you came in. I wasn't going to mislead you. If it doesn't work out with some others, you may be in the catbird seat. But it is a longshot - now."

    Used a version of that twice. One I ended up hiring for another job a few months later. One I haven't had the chance to yet, but I will if I get a spot.

    Here's the one from my side of the desk - "What are the odds of you taking this job? Are you really interested or are you trying to jerk more money out of your current employer?" How do YOU answer that?
  3. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    I would think it'd be awkward to ask, but Moddy's response make me think otherwise. The again, Moddy may just be the coolest hirer ever.
    I did have a potential employer volunteer that I was the leader in the clubhouse once. Then someone else showed up in the clubhouse, oh well.

    And if someone asked me Moddy's question I'd respond more along the lines of "I'm always interested in bettering my self and my position. If this job offers me the best opportunity to do so, and I know I can help this company, then I'm very likely to take this job, If not then I won't waste your time or mine by drawing out the process."
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    It happens Joe - a guy eagles the last hole, what you going to do? TONS of applicants for every job. You come in second, that's pretty good. But no better than actually coming in last in many ways. Just keep smiling and keep trying.

    As for being the coolest hirer ever, well, maybe. I've done a good bit of it at both places and I like my track record. I'm fortunate in that there's no shortage of good people out there and available.

    That said, my first search (for my replacement after being promoted in Richmond) was a cluster for a variety of reasons - many of them my own doing. While I ended up with a great candidate (the Darryl Slater of the Charleston thread fame), it took a while and parts of it I didn't handle well. Any of you affected by that, I apologize again. Quite an education and I think I'm much better now (but not perfect). I don't respond to every inquiry as much as I'd like to - but I do try to keep in touch with those who make the interview stage and everyone I interview gets a call when a decision is made. Only once has that call not gone well.

    Remember that, folks, when you get that "no thanks" call. Be gracious and professional even if it hurts and pisses you off and all that. Because you never know. I've hired people later that I didn't hire at first. I have others who didn't get a job with us now at The Times on a short list for my next opening. Act like an ass when I call you? Peace out, homes. You'll never get another call even if you made it to the finalist stage once.
  5. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    Instead of asking about your chances, say something like this at the end of the interview, assuming you've interviewed well and are a strong candidate for the job.

    "I'd love to have this job, and I'd work really hard for you. May I have this job?"

    Better to ask if you can have the job than to give the manager an open invitation to tell you no.
  6. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    The version of that I was asked was "If we hire you, how do we know you aren't going to leave for a better job in six months?"

    I answered honestly ("You don't, but you should want people who do goo enough work to move up in the world.") and I didn't get the job.
  7. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    First, that's a bit too direct of a question unless you have a really comfortable rapport with the person you're talking too. First, using "honestly" is sort of a back door way of saying the interviewer has been being dishonest. The word you're looking for is "candor" or "candidly".

    The other reasons that question is a bit too direct is because it is likely premature. Like Moddy said, the person doing the hiring might have some sense of what he's going to do but he might still want to interview other people, check your references, check others' references, discuss salary, etc.

    I think you could more safely ask things about the process that wouldn't risk coming on too strong. Where are you in the hiring process? Are you interviewing a lot of candidates? What kind of background are you looking for in a candidate? Do you think my background fits what you're looking for?

    If you can get a few of those questions answered you can figure out for yourself what your chances are without directly asking.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I once asked my then-boss about what my chances were to fill a reporting job that was coming open. (I was/am a copy editor, and while I'm very happy as a copy editor, I would have liked this particular reporting job a lot.) He basically told me that I was disqualified simply because I was a copy editor, even as I was one of, if not the, best on the desk.

    I left that place before that job even came open, and while it was for a copy-editing position at a substantially better place, I probably would have stuck around if I thought I could have that reporting position. I say this as a praise to my boss. He was being honest. Short-sighted, perhaps, but honest. He gave me an incredible reference for the job I left for (all in one company), and he didn't lead me on. They ended up hiring for that position about three months after I left, and they hired the guy I figured they were going to hire the whole time.

    I had a great relationship with that boss, which is why I felt comfortable asking that question and why he felt comfortable being honest with me in his answer. I think it would be very awkward asking a prospective employer that type of question.

    One question I ask regularly is, "What are your reservations in hiring me?" I've heard a variety of answers to this question, including concerns I was able to alleviate and those that were factual. Asking that kind of question after talking with someone for 10-15 minutes can be rather instructive on where you stand and what you can do to show your value.
  9. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Considering I'm currently in a non-sportswriting job, yes. I am really interested. Hire me bitch! (Too enthusiastic?)
  10. YGBFKM

    YGBFKM Guest

    You need a comma before "bitch."
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Best desk guy I've ever worked with heard the SE might be getting promoted (which happened eventually), so the desk guy went in to see the ME and asked what his chances were and the ME, a very terse, old-school guy said, "None. No chance. OK?" So the guy got a job at a competing paper a few weeks later.
  12. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    I got that one once. I was interviewing for two jobs at the same shop, one a full time with little chance to move up the ladder, one a part time with better chance to move up. I said honestly that I was always looking for room to move up in the world, and received a lecture on how the business was enough of a revolving door as it was and they were looking for someone who was going to stick around. A month later the interviewer who told me that had moved on.
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