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The top 10 things to ask in a job interview

Take advantage of the opportunity to focus on yourself


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Have you ever been on a job interview and you’re asked: Do you have any questions for us? 

You have just merged onto the two-way street portion of the back and forth.

On the surface, this may seem like your chance to find out more about the company, but really, it’s still a part of the interview that’s actually focused on you. The interviewer wants to find out what you’re thinking, what your first impressions are and where you focus truly is. Take advantage of the opportunity. Your potential employer is asking you questions to learn about your history and skills. In return, prepare questions to ask about the position, your new boss and the company to ensure it’s a good fit.

Here are the top 10 things you should talk about when the interviewer turns it over to you:  

1. Corporate culture

The main objective of an interview is to determine whether both the candidate and employer are a good fit. Discussing the company culture, mission and philosophy will facilitate this goal. If the business model is not compatible with how you do business, find out sooner than later. Determine how best to fit in with the company and hit the ground running once hired.

2. Strengths and weaknesses

Asking about your prospective team’s strengths and weaknesses (or areas for improvement) can determine where you will fit in and what you can bring to the table.   

3. Fixed or flexible schedule

Whether you are working for an hourly wage or are salaried, what are organizational expectations about showing up at 9 a.m. on the dot? Is the culture more flexible as long as all work is completed? How often are extra hours, weekday evenings and weekend hours required?  

4. Turnover

A high turnover rate in a company may be an indication of trouble. It’s a good idea to ask about a company’s turnover and do some research if the rate is high. Do your own advance investigation online with Glassdoor.

5. Room for advancement

A new job can be very exciting. Staying in the same position for an indeterminately long time can leave you treading water in a lake of stagnation. If you’re career-focused and want to move up, this is a must-ask question. 

6. Temporary, temp-to-hire or independent contractor

While you may be excited about the position, don’t rush out and buy a house until you understand the nature of the position. Some positions are filled with independent contractors, on a temporary basis, or a temp-to-hire basis where the pool of entry-level temporary employees is larger than the limited number of positions available for hiring. 

7. Is travel required?

Some people love to go globetrotting; others, not so much. Wherever you fall in this spectrum, ask about travel expectations so there are no surprises when you arrive on the first day and are told you will be departing for the other coast tomorrow.

8. Raise & bonus calculations

Find out if you get a raise annually, or if it’s based on merit alone. Both have their advantages, so find out. Also inquire about other perks and benefits that come with the job. 

9. Potential relocation

It might be a shock to say the least, if you successfully complete three months of training, only to be told that you have to relocate. To avoid any surprises, find out up front if you will be asked to relocate, potential locations, how frequently, and moving reimbursement policy.  

10. Expense reimbursement policy

With a position that will requires extra expense, such as taking clients to dinner or driving across the state, consider asking about the expense reimbursement policy. Many companies have expense accounts for these purposes, but you don’t want to take any chances.

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Sharon Schweitzer

Sharon Schweitzer, an international modern manners and business etiquette expert is founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide.

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