An executive coach says practically everyone forgets to ask the job interview question that exposes a big red flag

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Erica Keswin exec coachCourtesy of Erica KeswinCompanies are becoming less and less surprised to hear it, says Erica Kewsin, pictured.

  • Among the job interview questions you ask the hiring manager, include something about opportunities for professional development.
  • That's according to workplace strategist and former NYU executive coach Erica Keswin.
  • Keswin said if there isn't a culture of regular feedback on employees' performance and career goals, that could be a red flag.


As a workplace strategist for two decades, Erica Keswin has seen the job market slowly shift from "bottom-up" to "top-down."

That is to say, while the onus was once on employees to steer the course of their professional development, employers are now partly responsible for making sure they're giving people the resources to grow.

In fact, according to Keswin, who was an executive coach at New York University Stern School of Business and is the author of the forthcoming "Bring Your Human to Work," if a company doesn't care to provide these resources, that could be a red flag - and one you should spot sooner than later.

As you progress in the interview process with a new company (i.e. not in the first interview), Keswin said, you should ask the hiring manager: "Can you describe your approach to professional development?"

"Companies are becoming less and less surprised" to hear these types of questions, Keswin said. For one thing, the unemployment rate is at a record low, so companies are having a harder time attracting top talent.

What's more, millennials and Gen Z-ers have been vocal about wanting regular feedback on their performance. Indeed, more and more companies are overhauling the annual performance review, replacing it with ongoing-feedback systems.

So you want to make sure the company where you're interviewing is getting with the times.

"If it's a culture where, you get there and you don't have a formal or even informal discussion about your career and what you want until the end of the year," Keswin said, that's not a great sign. "From a coaching and professional development standpoint, it's not going to be a great fit."

On Glassdoor's blog, writer Caroline Gray recommends asking something specific about your career advancement, such as: "I'm interested in growing my skills in SEO strategy and then applying that new knowledge to create more tailored marketing content. Is there space in this role for that kind of professional development opportunity?"

All that said, once you land the job and have settled into your new role, you'll still want to initiate regular conversations with your manager. Specifically, you'll want to discuss your performance, your career goals, and your interests beyond your current job.

"Realize that this is a two-way street," Keswin said.

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