March 15, 2011

Seven Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

When preparing for a job interview, you might be most concerned with the questions the interviewer will ask you, but you should also think about any questions you might have about the company and position. After all, at the end of the interview, most employers ask, “Do you have any questions?” and if you say no, you might come off as unprepared or apathetic about the company. If your worried that the interview itself won’t give you any inspiration for questions, here are some that you can (and should) ask whenever you’re hoping to find a job:

  1. Based on the last person in this position, what types of improvements or advances would you like to see?
  2. What are some of the main challenges that others have had in this position and that you’d expect me to have over the first few months?
  3. How did you come to work with the company and, in your opinion, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages?
  4. How would you describe the management style at this company? What is the culture or employee spirit like?
  5. Are there opportunities for advancement in this position?
  6. In your mind, what are some of the most important qualities an employee in this position should have?
  7. What is your time line for making a decision and a start date? (Or, what is the next step to take in the hiring process?)

There are, of course, some topics/questions you should avoid asking. These include:

  • Anything that is basic information that can be easily researched (you should have already done this)
  • Anything already discussed in the interview (pay attention!)
  • Questions about pay raises, bonuses, and benefits (asking about advance, as mentioned above, is much better)
  • Information included in the job ad (re-read it before the interview to refresh your memory)
  • Anything that indicates that you’re going to try to avoid work (i.e., asking about their policies for tardiness, when you can start taking vacation days, etc.)

Take a notepad to your interview, since you might think of questions to ask as you are answering questions. You can also take other notes about the company and position and ask for clarification or confirmation of what you wrote when asked if you have any questions.

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