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Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Ask questions about new products, how research and development is structured at the company, management strategies at the company, how the company has changed, and potential product growth.

The Following Areas Should Generally Be Avoided

  1. Avoid asking questions that are answered in the company’s annual report or employment brochure. Recruiters are familiar enough with their own information to recognize when you haven’t done your homework. If some information in the annual report isn’t clear to you, by all means ask for clarification.
  2. Don’t bring up salary or benefits in the initial interview. This is a major mistake. The majority of companies recruiting are very competitive and will offer approximately similar salaries and benefits. The recruiter may choose to bring up the information, but you should not initiate the topic. You will give the impression that you are more concerned with fringe benefits than the substance of the position.
  3. Avoid asking any personal questions or questions that will put the recruiter on the defensive. This includes questions such as the interviewer’s educational background, marital status, past work experience, and so on. This information is none of your business.
  4. Don’t ask questions that have already been answered during the interview. If you have prepared a list of questions and some of them have been addressed during the interview, do not repeat them.

Questions You Should Ask

Now that you know what you shouldn’t ask during the interview, determine what questions you should ask. If you plan to ask a lot of questions, it would be wise to have a typed list.

  1. Ask specific questions about the position. You need to know what duties will be required, and if this hasn’t already been covered, it’s time to ask appropriate questions to find out. You need to know what will be required of the person in the position to see if there is a fit between your interests and qualifications and the requirements of the company.
  2. Try to find out as much as possible about qualities and skills the recruiter is looking for in job candidates. Tom Jackson, an authority on career planning and author of several books including Guerilla Tactics in the Job Market, suggests this question: “Could you tell me what qualities you are looking for in candidates for this position?” Once you determine the necessary qualities, you can then explain to the recruiter how your background and capabilities relate to those qualities.
  3. Ask questions concerning advancement and promotion paths available. Every company is different and most advancement policies are unique. Try to find out what the possible promotion path is to see if it fits your career goals. You may also want to ask about periodic performance evaluations and pay reviews.
  4. Ask questions about the company’s training program. If you are seeking a position with structured, formal training and the company offers on-the-job training program, you know the position may not be right for you. You may have specific questions about the training program not covered in the company literature.
  5. Ask questions about location and travel required. If you have limitations regarding location, relocation possibilities, or expected travel, this is the time to find out what is expected in the position. If you have limitations based on health or family commitments, these should be discussed with the recruiter.

Questions You Can Ask in an Interview

Quality and comprehensive questions score points. Do not discuss job mechanics.

Some More Useful Questions