EP 1788 This is a question that would be asked of someone from a manager level and above. I go through the two types of ways to answer this question.

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I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I'm the head coach for JobSearchCoachingHQ.com and NoBSCoachingAdvice.com. I do career and leadership coaching--career coaching from the standpoint of helping you transition to new job, for a new career. Leadership coaching from the vantage point of helping you step into a new organization and perform at a high level, helping you deal with issues that crop up. I work as a sounding board for professional success.

This is 1 of those tough interview questions that firms will ask.

“So, what changes would you make if you came on board?”

No one is going to ask this in the one-year person because they know you don't know anything. You are there that basically do stuff for them.

However, if you are manager or a VP or in the C suite there are different things that you have to respond to in this question. For example, lower level senior professionals, (managers, directors and such), understand that your future boss has an opinion about what you should be doing. As someone I coached said to her potential boss, “My role here is to support the initiatives that you had set out. Once I'm here, I may make some tactical changes in order to streamline some of these things. My basic job is to support you in the things that you and the things that you want to accomplish.”

Although she was rebuffed with the, “you are supposed to be me telling me what you want to be doing.” Actually, “no,” is the answer. “I'm not there to tell you, she said. “You know what the needs are. You know what the initiatives are. So, I don't know what they are, but certainly, as I join, I will support you with things that you want to accomplish during this next year.”

That’s the correct answer including the one the global SVP tried to push back on her. You smile and say, “I haven’t worked in your organization. I don’t know what the issues are. I don’t know how you address things. How would I know? It would be presumptuous of me to tell you what you should be doing.”

That is for the lower level senior professional. For a high level one, where you are that that individual, “people have given me some suggestions of things that they think should be done. I want to meet with everyone to understand ‘the why’ behind what we are hoping to accomplish. Then, from there, spend a little bit of time learning for myself what the key issues are before making any change. Learning, observing, talking, listening, more importantly helps me, and once I have a better feel, I can really answer that question.”

So ultimately, in both cases you are avoiding answering the question. In the 1st case, talk about supporting the initiatives of the leader of the group; in the second case, since you are the leader of this organization, talk with them about you taking input from other people (which I’m sure they've already given some), but going to more detail with them about the needs and why it needs to happen and what the underlying issues are because there might be a better way to address them than what they are seeing.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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