The one interview question I always ask

I’ve just gotten past a peak interviewing period where I would interview 3-5 engineering and product management candidates every week. I’ve used this question for as long as I’ve interviewed people, and it has never failed to reveal something not-immediately-on-the-surface about every single candidate. So I was not surprised that it still works, but I did get a little better at understanding why.

The question is simple:

Imagine if you are extended multiple job offers from different companies, and you are trying to decide which one you will accept. Imagine that the way you go about this is that you write down the things that matter to you from most to least and that you use 3-5 things at the top of that list to decide. Those are your decision drivers. What are they?

There are several things in play here.

The wording of the question is important, so follow it closely. Be sure to lean on the word “imagine”, as you’ll get more sincere answers as a result. I think imagining things just liberates the candidate from the scripted answers they have prepared prior to going in. You can’t script imagining, so it forces them away from the script and toward considering the question from scratch. It also tends to relax, because the described situation is overtly hypothetical. It’s also hard to be wrong when you are asked to imagine a scenario.

Unlike questions about work history, performance, and professional achievement, it is rarely connected to the information made explicit on the resume. Instead the question reaches beyond the simple recitation of facts (and scripted answers) and taps something deeper and more closely held. What is this deeper thing?

For one, it explores a candidate’s motivation and value system. I always feels like that’s the most important information about the candidate that’s not on their resume.  What makes them tick? If I know what matters to them, I can right away tell if the same things matter to me (the hiring manager) and the organization at large.

Do they speak about externalities beyond their control (e.g. company culture, stability, environment, office space)? or do they speak about the things they would like to do (e.g. building something great, interacting with smart people, making a different in the world, having an impact)? Listen carefully to what the candidate says, because every word matters and be a lead in to something unexpected. For instance, if they mention company culture, I immediately ask them to explain what culture would they consider ideal.

Where does money come in? Do they put money in the top 5 things? Do they purposefully avoid the question of money altogether or does it not matter to them? Do they say that money is always important to everyone so they’ll just focus on other things? I love using these clues to unravel something about the candidate and to get to know them better.

Some immediately fire off the list of priorities, which usually indicates that they thought about this before and rarely for the purposes of preparing for the interview — a very good sign in my book. Others are completely flabbergasted and nonplussed. Others struggle to come up with three things and only name one or two.

Lastly, the question tends to unearth the things that bothered them in their previous jobs. People mention all sorts of things, including a corporate environment where individual contribution is recognized and rewarded, not ignored. A candidate is highly unlikely to respond this way if this wasn’t a problem where they worked before. So ask them if it was the problem! I’ve revealed many a personal conflict that a candidate would never voluntary speak of, but with this question they somehow end up speaking about this anyways.

Mind you there isn’t a right answer. It just helps to place the candidate in a coordinate system that I can understand and interpret. Nobody wears their values, pet peeves, or past workplace issues on their sleeve. And nobody (with some notable exceptions) openly rails against their old boss failing to recognize their contribution. The answers are difficult to script and can be a challenge to formulate “right”, and that’s exactly the kind of question you should be asking.

So how would you answer this question?


80 responses to “The one interview question I always ask

  1. I am afraid this is just another question to test the candidate’s bullshit level and social skills. It is too obvious to trick anybody into admitting their true nature and it is too open-ended to expect comparable answers from different candidates. It’s a fun question, but don’t judge candidates based on it. Stick to tech skills and basic sanity check in terms of crazy or not crazy. Beyond that, you are fooling yourself.

    • I don’t see what’s wrong with testing a candidate’s bullshit level. And I don’t see how this would be testing their social skills.

      If what you call “true nature” is in fact something to hide, then I would have serious reservations about that candidate. Also, the question is not intended to reveal their sexual orientation or something deeply personal. It’s only a way to explore what motivates them professionally and why.

      • “I don’t see what’s wrong with testing a candidate’s bullshit level.” So, you’d rather hire someone who’s good at BSing?

    • Can you really have too many questions about social skills? This, more than technical ability (providing that they can learn new skills), is the most important factor to determining a candidate’s success at a company.

      We’ve all worked with the devs who simply cannot interact with others in a reasonable manner, but are pros at their given language. Better to hire someone who is a team-player and can communicate and interact, and ramp them up technically.

  2. sorry, my answer would be; “i’m not really comfortable with that question. it’s a bit on the boundary, in terms of interview techniques. are you outright trying to ask me if i have other offers on the table?”

    • This not at all about asking the candidate about other offers. If I wanted to know that I would probably ask them directly.

    • I don’t skirt the question about other offers and pending offers. In fact, I come right out and ask that of all candidates directly. “So, what else do you have going on with regard to interviews and offers?” It eliminates surprises and helps us understand how rapidly we need to move.

  3. I read and answered:

    Family balance,
    Career opportunities
    Ability to travel, grow, impact on others

    I figured I would do well on that, especially since honestly, pay came last.

    Then I read your answer key and see I failed because I didn’t play your version of buzzword bingo and I included pay in my top four reasons.

    So I just want to add, to satisfy you, that my biggest weakness is that I work too hard.


    • I don’t think the author gave “Making money” a negative connotation, he simply stated to look for where it falls into the list of priorities. Other than that, I think this is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate question to ask in an interview – and I can already assure you that based on your attitude, you are not the type of person I would want working in my organization.

      • someone else

        “I can already assure you that based on your attitude…”

        Oh, you incredibly tedious person.

    • > So I just want to add, to satisfy you, that my biggest weakness is that I work too hard.


  4. I don’t think analyzing someones social skills is necessarily a bad thing as almost everyone has to work with a team. As long as this is not the only focus like many pure HR people these days where tech skills seem almost secondary to all else.

    I always ask interviewees about what computer they have. I am not looking for a super computer, that is not the point. They could have an old piece of junk running Linux. But they better know something about it like memory, HD space, screen, processor type, etc. They don’t need to know it inside and out but if they just say “I have a Dell laptop” and that’s all they know, that tells me a lot about the candidate.

  5. This is sort of a nice idea, but I think this debate needs to go both ways in an interview — presumably you wouldn’t mind if the candidate turned the question around and asked you what your decision drivers are for picking a hire, what really drives the company’s culture?

    If you’re prepared to reveal a bit about your values too, that might make it seem less like a question designed to trip a candidate up and tease out negative sentiment, more like an honest exploration of whether those values overlap…

    • Absolutely, if they end up challenging the question or trying to trade it the information for something, they would definitely earn bonus points from me. But remember, questioning things is usually a good skill for the positions that I am hiring for.

    • I am disarmingly honest as an interviewer. :) So yes, I would absolutely tell them what we are looking for. Although, I prefer to do that at the end of the interview, not before they get a chance to express themselves.

  6. You are the person to do the analyzing. Get to know the four personality types and you will be able to ask fewer questions and yet learn more from strangers, whether they be job prospects or not.

    If you are interested in this, please contact me at my included yahoo IM. Please do not write an email.

    Thanks !

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I am familiar with the four personality types. I see it as yet another model to understand people, not a replacement for a conversation, which is really what this is about.

    • There are a lot more than 4 personality types. In each of three or four type systems I am aware of, there are 16, so that makes at least 16×3 or 16×4 “types”.

  7. Working with people who are smarter than me
    Interesting and not boring job
    Ability to work on own/OSS projects
    Quiet environment

    Regarding the last thing – I think if somebody doesn’t mention anything about salary it means that he or she isn’t honest with you. I mean even if you create ideal conditions – if salary will not satisfy even great developer will become unhappy developer. And unhappy developers tend to think more about finding another job then performing good on current.

  8. In your question:

    “Imagine that they way you go about this is…”

  9. Seriously, I don’t know anyone that isn’t motivated by pay, regardless what their other motivations are. If they don’t list it, they are being dishonest.

    • From many things I’ve read, there is a minimum “pay the bills” level each person needs to have (it varies from person to person). Beyond that, other things come into play. I am going to assume that Ilya is offering a fair and competitive wage. At that point, “salary” (e.g. 10K in either direction) will likely be be less important than other factors to most people.

      For me it’s
      * ability to work from home as much as possible
      * a quiet environment and reasonable commute for when I’m on site.
      * the box on my desk is a Mac
      * smart co-workers
      * recognition of what I do well (and what I don’t like)

      You might be able to pay me more to give up one of those but I doubt you could afford it.
      You’re more likely to be able to get away with paying me less if all of those criteria are met.

      • I completely agree! Ultimately, the ability to work from home and a reasonable commute speaks back to pay as it reduces the amount of time and money you spend in transporting yourself to and from work, and the compensation would likely need to be higher otherwise and becomes a deciding factor in accepting a position.

  10. – Family balance;
    – Salary;
    – Location (should not exceed 30 min commute);
    – Be part of a team of committed, responsible, hard working people;
    – Have a brilliant, visionary, rich and ambitious boss/founder.

  11. I like being asked questions like this in an interview. Too often, I feel like the workplace doesn’t treat employees like people, but rather as a set of tools. Some employers care for those tools to make them last and work well, and others misuse them and break them, but most employers seem to undervalue and underestimate the human aspect of the people who work for them. Almost nowhere do I find this to be more obvious than the interview process. One or more people sit down with me, and we compete to see if I can trick them into not seeing my true needs, faults, and doubts while they try to trick me into not seeing the pitfalls of working for their company as well as their needs, faults, and doubts. I hate to sounds so cynical, but I feel like an interview often starts a relationship that should foster teamwork and trust with a battle to see who can outwit who, and that’s always seemed very wrong to me.

    When asked a question like yours in an interview, I often express relief at having been asked a question about me as a person, and what I really want. I am thankful for someone wanting to get to know a little bit about the person they’d be working with, and not just the skill set they’re buying. I follow that up by answering more honestly than most candidates do. In this case, I would say that my top three five would probably be:

    1) Working on really creative projects
    2) Working with people who really care about the quality of the work and their own skills, but who also know how to not be too agressive when confronting mistakes
    4) Working with people who know how to manage really effectively and get the most out of their workers, while still appreciating that their workers are people who may need concessions from time to time
    3) Good enough pay for me to live decently (without a lot of financial stress) on my own
    5) Working for a place that deeply values commitment to professional growth, personal growth, personal well being, and being up to date

    If I could add a sixth, I would say that it would be extremely motivating for me to work with a place where the projects don’t conflict with my conscience, and especially if the projects were beneficial to my community and the world. It exhausts me and stresses me out to work on things that are either poorly done, or done in a way that takes advantage of people or lies to them. It’s extremely motivating to me to do work for websites that are working to help people or will in some way make the world better. I’m not sure I could find a place with that kind of work that has my other needs covered, but it would be really really meaningful for me to work for a place like that.

    My answer might lead me to rail against former employers who were unethical, hurtful toward their hard working employees, or who just didn’t care enough about quality. While that might harm my chances of getting the job, it would also show that I’m conscientious and honest.

    I like questions like this one and have been asked them in interviews. I answer them more honestly than the interviewer expects. I do sometimes criticize my former employers in interviews, but I’m careful to not go too far with that. I have actually gotten at least one job offer after doing so. I don’t like BSing people, and I know employers are watching for that. I prefer to show them my honesty in the interview even if it shows that I’m not perfect.

  12. I found my list has something in common with Igor’s:

    I want:

    A quiet environment
    Clever colleagues
    Interesting/hard problems
    To be able to walk to work
    (and this one a bit British specific!) IR35 proof contract at £50/hour

    And thinking about it, all five of those are non-negotiable as I’d rather be unemployed than compromise on any of them. If I had two offers that ticked all five boxes then I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t object to more money obviously but I don’t find the idea particularly motivating. Weirdly Cambridge has lots of companies that can meet items 2-5 but nice quiet offices seem to be incredibly thin on the ground, even though you’d think it a no-brainer for a software company.

  13. @JB: I would count myself as someone who would not list pay in the top 5.
    The caveat is that the company would pay within the range of what’s on par in the industry. However, if I had 5 offers and they were all within that range, pay would not be a deciding factor.

    The reason is that I’ve worked in enough environments where I’ve seen a huge difference culture can make. I’m not just talking about whether it’s fun to come to work or not but how successful a company is. Look at the entrepreneurial and driven culture companies like Facebook have. It’s an integral part of their success and it attracts other talented people.

    Having a great culture also leads to whether people feel self-fulfilled or not. Are people challenged? Do they get to exercise their talents? Is there a culture that fosters growing?

    I’d rather work 10 years at a company that has an awesome culture with a lower starting salary than 4 years at a company I dreaded (or cared nothing for) and started with a larger salary and then look for a new job because I was completely bored out of my mind.

    • Given 2 “ideal” positions with a high offer and a low offer, pay easily becomes a deciding factor. Of course, I completely agree that we would all choose to work for a company with a good culture that fosters teamwork, creativity, and opportunity for a longer period of time. However, you honestly can’t know the true culture of most companies before you’ve worked for them. Basically, my point was simply that, while we all can make a list, compensation is always underlying the list we make.

  14. I would say my first is “environment and office space”, and I’m confused as to why you consider such things “externalities beyond [my] control”.

    Why do you think that “interacting with smart people” or “building something great” is something I “would like to do”, but helping to make a great place to work is not? That sounds exactly backwards.

    Interacting with smart people at your company is something I have no control over: it depends entirely on whether the other people you’ve hired are smart (and interactive!). Likewise with building something great: if I could build it all by myself, I wouldn’t need to join a company, so again, this depends almost entirely on the other employees here.

    Whereas my work space had better be something I can control, or I’m going to be absolutely miserable trying to work there.

    • Pat, I agree with you. I think I was oversimplifying things a bit. When it comes to office environment, it’s definitely something that any person would legitimately want to be more productive, etc. I would not question that. It was more about who is at the center of their narrative. Are they speaking of themselves as subject to myriad external factors, or are they self-motivated and driven? That’s why I said there isn’t a correct answer.

  15. Honestly, it would make me think less of you and/or your company. It’s such an obvious “trick” question, like a teenager hiding behind “I have a friend”, that it’s rather insulting. Would I really want to work for place that hired people who weren’t able to see past that?

    • Peter, thanks for your comment.

      Would you consider it a trick question if I asked what’s most important to you in your work? That’s really what it comes down to. It’s just a different way of asking the same thing, and (this is important) discussing the answers with the candidate. It’s a trick question, but it’s no more a trick question than the one about sorting a doubly-linked list or some such.

      • If you’d ask me directly I wouldn’t mind. I would actually much prefer that route. When you go the roundabout way you’re telling me that you think I can’t introspect myself enough, so you need to resort to a psychological trick, that I can’t see past the trick question, and that you don’t have enough faith that I would answer the question truthfully if asked directly. So it’s not the question, it’s how it’s asked. I hope this helps.

      • I agree completely. Questions like this immediately give me the impression that you’re just trying to trip me up, that there’s a “right” answer and you’re going to highly favour whomever guesses correctly. You say there is no right answer, but I’m sure you’re looking for certain key points (as you said, where do they put money, etc), that depending on my answer are going to severely influence your view of me and ultimately whether you hire me or not. When faced with such a question, to me the entire interview turns into “guess the answer they want to hear”.

        I’d feel much more respected if you just asked me what you want to know (and accepted “I’m really not comfortable telling” as an answer) instead of trying to beat around the bush, trick me into saying things I wouldn’t normally say and judge me by how well I can guess what you want.

  16. “Imagine that they way you” — Sorry, you lost me at the typo.

  17. 1. Opportunity to do a good job
    2. Cultural fit
    3. Interesting projects/work
    4. Good relationship with boss
    5. Ability to learn new stuff

    “Cultural fit” is obviously a opportunity for a huge amount of additional discussion — Impact of work, impact in company, work/life balance, etc.

    Money doesn’t really come into it for me. I’m thinking of coming out of an early retirement. I’m making more from my investments than you are going to pay me. As long as the offer isn’t insulting by being way below median for similar jobs, it just doesn’t matter that much.

  18. Senior developers may not be concerned about salary, but may be interested in compensation. Compensation may include equity, vacation, and health insurance.

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  20. 1) Environment (workstation, coworkers, mgmt, commute, city)
    2) Pay
    3) Balance

    Everything else is gravy.

  21. This question is described as “simple”. It is not simple. It is unnecessarily verbose and meticulously laden with clause and sub-clause. It is also unfair: it reveals nothing, whilst demanding that someone show all their negotiating cards.

    All this tells us a great deal about the interviewer: his insecurity, his pomposity, his pedantry.

    • You are entitled to your opinion, of course. I don’t demand anything, and I don’t negotiate anything in an interview. That’s not what an interview is for.

  22. This question is valid.

    But, wishful thinking! If you’d ask me on interview this question, and I’ll give you my answer, then can you company satisfy my answer? Does your company have PD, good management, proactive RnD, etc etc? So many companies say they do have it all, and in the end it’s not the potential employee who’s a liar but a potential employer! All employer wants is to get job done at a cheapest price (sometimes they don’t even want a job done – ’cause there’s too much politics going around)… Where I am right now, IT industry is in crisis. So sad.

  23. As an aside, I just want to note that certain industries are more progressive in their thinking and offer more alternative incentives and culture than others. The comments here are definitely influenced by that fact.

  24. If they don’t put the money in the first 5 things they are not living in this reality. This is a good question that all candidates should ask themselves.

  25. Great Question! I know in a real interview I would totally blank with this question and you probably won’t believe my answer. But from my experience, it really doesn’t matter what you do, how much you get paid, just as long as you are in a positive environment, feel appreciated and with good people. I’ve worked a few jobs that most people would classify as terrible (low pay, long hours, general grossness, etc.), but I’ve always enjoyed them. I enjoyed them because people were generally happy to see you when you came to work, and the smiles and jokes made the coffee and lunch breaks great. This kind of positive environment just makes me want to work more and do better.
    Note: I will say at these jobs not everyone was always happy, but I usually just ignored those people (or laughed at them in my head). And maybe some of the positivity I received was just a reflection of my outlook on life. But either way, at the end of the day if you have work to do, you might as well do it with a smile! (wow that sounds super cheesy…)

    • A perfectly reasonable answer! And I think the follow-up explanation is really important because it shows that you actually thought it out.

      • Thanks! It’s a great post, and very helpful as I need to start thinking about interview questions as I will soon need to start looking for a job!

  26. Actually this has made me think seriously about my career and my expectations for the long run – thanks for this

  27. I think that is actually a good question to ask.

  28. I think, this is just another form of the question “What are the things that you are looking for/ expect from your new employer ?”

  29. While this is not directly related, I was looking at some job seeker CV’s lately, and was appalled buy what I saw! Appalled!
    Either job seekers have lost it altogether, or the quality of education (in this part of the world) has just plummeted. Trust me, if you saw what I saw, there is no better way of putting it. Lets just say I wouldn’t offer any of the candidates for voluntary work anywhere.

  30. I had to help my boss last year by gathering c.v’s for a sales position it took months and i could only forward him two because they were so bad. Some people in their reason for leaving basically bad mouthed their previous employers. It was shocking. I think some job seekers have lost it.

  31. Thanks for the prompt to think about this. My five:

    1. Enjoyment of position and potential to grow within it over the
    next five years
    2. Inspiring, smart, fun coworkers
    3. Ownership, which is to say responsibility for my tasks and rewards
    (feedback and financial) commensurable with achievement
    4. Salary
    5. No commute

  32. Reading the comments gave me a lot of insight into the writers. For that reason, I think it’s a great question. My favorite question is simpler: All but two states in the US have round manhole covers. Two have a different shape. What do you think that shape is and why? Most people do not know the answer, which is okay. I want to get a snapshot of how the person thinks and solves problems. (My position, when asking that question: VP of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance.) My favorite all time answer is: Tennessee and Kentucky. Sorry, those are not shapes. I guess the question tests listening skills, too.

  33. – i want to work with smart, motivated happy people who are both empowered and empowering to others
    – i want to work on something with vision that has significant direct or indirect impact on people’s lives
    – i want to work somewhere where the challenges I face will be both continuous and constructive to my overall learning
    – i want to work at a place where i dont have to spend cycles of my CPU on managing political currents…where every critical player emits a sense of teamwork that flushes out the culture poisoners
    – i want to work somewhere at an early stage because I feel I can influence the above 4 things positively the earlier i get there.

  34. The negativity you’ve received here is actually reasonably surprising. Perhaps it’s because I work in a very small business – there are only 9 of us in the surgery at any one time, but I think this is a great question – it will be a keeper, if you don’t mind? I like the concept of opening the candidate up to interpretation. Some of the responses here are technically correct – it’s not a closed question about skills. But those are questions we were always taught not to ask.

    • Thanks for your comment. Feel free to use it. I ask about skills too, the two kinds of questions are not mutually exclusive, but I feel like I haven’t really learned much about the candidate beyond their resume if I only ask about skills.

  35. Interesting – I’ve never got that question or anything like it in an interview and I’ve been to many. I have however got other questions that have taken me by surprise and probably revealed more about me than I was ready to give up, for example when I was interviewed for a job at Hamleys in London and the interviewer gave me a hand puppet and a magic box with colourful strings in it and said “Pretend that I’m a child and make me interested.” That was painful and my face stayed red for several hours. Anyhow, to your question I would probably say: 1. Oppurtunity to grow and take own initiatives 2. Supportive team 3. Possibility to see the whole perspective i.e. not just one piece of a large organization 4. Supportive boss 5. Flexible hours

    • Great answer! The question you were asked must have been truly bewildering. I have to say this is probably the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard asked in an interview, unless you were interviewing for a child psychologist position.

  36. Developer Dude

    On this question I would not BS. I would answer with the following in order of priority (the lower the priority, the less it can make up for deficiciences in higher priority issues):

    1) What it is that I will be working on. The tech, the project, etc. – I hate being bored, I dislike endlessly working on crappy legacy code (I strongly prefer the challenge of working on decent codebases), and I dislikeworking with tech I don’t like. So, if the project isn’t interesting/appealling to me, I am not going to want to work on it. Assuming the job description is accurate, then the fact that I am in an interview for the position means I am interested in the tech.

    2) Who I will be working with/for. The team and the org (culture, experience, personalities), possibly the users.

    3) Where I will be working – i.e., the geographical location (commuting long distance v. working from home), the environment (cubicle, office, etc.) etc.

    4) Salary. This is the lowest priority issue for me, but don’t ask me to take a 40% cut below market rate just because the tech is interesting or the org is good – not going to do it.

  37. Sounds like a great question, and a good thing to ponder, regardless of whether you are in an interview or not!

  38. 1) Money
    2) Money
    3) Money

    Anybody telling you anything else is lying.
    Either to you or themselves.
    Or lying to a third party, e.g. parents or spouse.

    • I don’t think this is an honest answer either, but I suppose everyone is entitled to his opinion.

      I would also question the need to have money at 2) and 3) AS WELL AS at 1). How do you prioritize them? :)

  39. I would love to be asked a question like this. It tells me that the potential employer actually is interested in my goals.

    My list would be:

    1) How well does the work fit with my long term goals
    2) Will they support my sql community involvement.
    3) Learning opportunities (Will the company support my growth)
    4) How knowledgeable are my coworkers.
    5) Culture/nature of the work

    Money is not as a big a factor to me. If I’m switching jobs I’ll probably get a few more bucks but I’m not looking to break the bank. I’ve even done lateral moves pay wise in the past because I felt the new company would be more aligned to my goals and give me new experiences.

    • Thanks for your comment. I would definitely say that honesty gets you high points regardless of what the particular criteria might be.

  40. This appears to be a rather manipulative and, arguably, intellectually dishonest way of finding out what someone’s personal values are (as well as digging for history they might not otherwise share, by your own description).

    It also appears to present a possible legal conundrum. You’re encouraging the applicant to essentially share personal information (which is not what you want in a job interview).

    What happens when the person answers, “The top priority for me is finding a company that will is accepting of the fact that I’m gay and have a same-sex marriage” or “I’d really like to find a company that’s family friendly, because my family is top priority”?

    And then what happens if you *don’t* hire that person?
    What about if they start to suspect that the information they shared could be why? …and then see an attorney about it?

    As you point out in the comments – while it might not be as juicy (or manipulative), just asking what someone’s priorities and/or values are in regards to their jobs would accomplish the same thing (What’s important to you in a workplace?).

    • Thanks for your comments, Kay. Although I am not a lawyer, I would argue that it’s not possible to keep a candidate from consulting a lawyer regardless of which questions you ask them in an interview. The safest thing would then be not to ask them anything at all.

      Culture fit is an important aspect of job hiring these days, and it is especially so for knowledge workers. Assessing this fit is challenging because it’s no longer sufficient to test any specific skills that a candidate must need for a job, it’s going beyond that.

      Also I don’t believe that my question is sufficiently different from just asking them what their values are. The sensitive information can be volunteered in response to either question (or no question at all).

      So, I don’t know, but you do raise a good point.

  41. As a candidate, I’m very interested in where the salary they offer fits into the company payscales. I’ve been in the position before where my starting salary was around 140% of the average for the grade. In big corporations this means you are probably not just overpaid for your grade, but overpaid for the next one too. You can find yourself in a demoralizing battle to get a reasonable payrise/bonus as the HR department try to drag you back into their payscales over the following years.

  42. Thank you for this! Great post!

  43. Pingback: Shutter the guilt. Stop chasing the numbers. Just write. | Making Products Happen

  44. Pingback: Product Manager Interview Resources | Product Management Digest

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