Carnegie Mellon University Professor Gives Away Book on Job Interviewing

If you ask the right questions, you'll more likely get the right job, says Professor Ed Barr of Carnegie Mellon University in his free book, "Ask the Right Questions; Get the Right Job."

Pittsburgh, PA, November 17, 2009 --( Thousands of people go to job interviews every day. They dutifully answer questions about their work experience, credentials and aptitudes ("How would you move Mt. Fuji?). Few, however, ask any questions or create a conversation. They simply don't know what to ask. The result is a boring and one-sided interview. A Carnegie Mellon University professor means to change that.

Professor Edward Barr of the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, has written a book, "Ask the Right Questions; Get the Right Job", and is giving it away for free on his website

"In my business career I interviewed hundreds of people, and as a teacher at Carnegie Mellon University I have mock-interviewed many graduate students to help them prepare for job interviews. On almost every occasion I found these people to sit quietly, not engaging me or participating in the interview. They simply sat in front of me prepared to answer my questions but not to ask any of me.

"This kind of response in an interview doesn't help anyone. A successful interview requires a dialogue, not a monologue. This means that the person being interviewed for a job must also interview the organization that is hiring him or her. Both parties are looking for information about the other. The questions will help the people being interviewed to decide, not just to accept a job, but whether he or she really want to work there."

Barr sees job searching as a marketing process.

"At its most fundamental, marketing is an exchange. In the job market, I give you a position with salary and benefits and you give me your skills and potential and commitment. When we interview, we want to see if the exchange will be fair. We want to know, on both sides, if we want to make the commitment, the purchase, if you will. In my experience, the person being interviewed never asked the questions that help render a decision before commitment."

Barr says that every person being interviewed should ask this question: "How are your employees evaluated?"

"I can't imagine," Barr said, "any employee being happy in a job if he doesn't know how he will be evaluated after he has begun working." Barr lists 50 questions, in all, and aggregates them in some interesting groups such as "The Most Important Questions."

Barr's career has included executive positions in marketing both in non-profit and for-profit companies. When asked why he doesn't use his marketing skills to sell the book instead of giving it away, he said, "I found a New York agent who helped me format the book and, after a year, she found a publisher, but the publisher wanted 20,000 more words (to make the book thicker so as to raise the price). I had no more energy to give to the project and decided to give it away. If Chris Anderson, author of the book "Free" is right, I will see some benefit. As for now, I'm just happy to help anyone I can."

Contact Information
Edward H. Barr
Associate Teaching Professor
Heinz College
Carnegie Mellon University
Hamburg Hall-Room A221
4800 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Edward H. Barr