Sample Questions to Ask Your Interviewer How would you describe the responsibilities of the position? How would you describe a typical week/day in this position? Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do? What is the company's management style? Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her? How many people work in this office/department? How much travel is expected? Is relocation a possibility? What is the typical work week? Is overtime expected? What are the prospects for growth and advancement? How does one advance in the company? Are there any examples? What do you like about working here? What don't you like about working here and what would you change? Would you like a list of references? If I am extended a job offer, how soon would you like me to start? What can I tell you about my qualifications? When can I expect to hear from you? Are there any other questions I can answer for you? Interview Questions NOT to Ask - o What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time!) o If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments) o Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work don't mention it now ... ) o Did I get the job? (Don't be impatient. They'll let you know.) A few key principles about asking questions: o Ask only those questions to which you want an answer. This may seem obvious, but many people will ask questions merely to impress the interviewer. Why waste your time and theirs when they are likely to see through your smoke-screen? o Ask questions that reveal the depth of your research and your interest in the job. In other words, don't ask questions that are easily answered on the company Web site or in the job description. (You do have a copy of the job description, don't you?) o Don't ask questions about salary, vacation, or other benefits until you are offered the job. If you do ask, the interviewer will be inclined to think that you are more interested in the money than in the position. (There are exceptions to this rule - for, instance, if you already have experience in this field and need to know if the job falls within your acceptable salary range.) Take a look at Richard Fein's "Rogue's Gallery of 16 Awful Questions." Some more sample questions: o How and when will my performance be evaluated on this job? How is success measured in this department / organization? o I read in your literature that your training program is comprised of three six- month rotations. Does the employee have any input into where he will go at the end of each rotation? How do you evaluate the employee's performance during the training period? o I read in Business Week that a major competitor of yours is increasing its market share in your main market. What plans does your firm have to regain its lost market share? o Can you please tell me how your career has developed at this organiztion? Would someone entering the firm today have similar opportunities? o What is an average week in this job really like? o Does the management encourage the policy of promotion from within the organization? Describe typical first year assignments on the job. o What are the challenging facets of the job? o What are the organization's plans for future growth or change? o What makes your firm, hospital, school system, ad agency, etc., different? What are the organization's strengths, and what challenges does it face? o How would you describe your organization's personality and management style? o What are your expectations for new hires within their first three to six months on the job? Describe the work environment. o What is the overall structure of the department where the position is located? What qualities are you looking for in your new hires? o What characteristics does a successful person have in your organization? Nursing candidates may wish to ask about orientation, promotions, shift differentials, chain of command, malpractice policies. Education candidates may wish to ask about in-service training and opportunities for professional development; textbook selection procedures; approaches to curricula; parental involvement in schoolrelated issues or PTA; median age/turnover of faculty; master's degree requirements. What is the size of the division, sales volume, earnings? Does the company plan to expand? What are the company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition? What are the significant trends in the industry? Could you explain your organizational structure? Can you discuss your take on the company's corporate culture? What are the company's values? How would you characterize the management philosophy of this organization? Are any acquisitions, divestitures, or proxy fights on the horizon? What do you think is the greatest opportunity facing the organization in the near future? The biggest threat? How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? And by whom? How often? Would there be opportunities for advancement, and, how long before I might be considered for one? What qualities do you prize the most in those that report directly to you? How does the organization rank within its field? What is the reputation of the department (or facility) to which I am applying? How is this department (or facility) perceived within the organization (or corporation)? What have been its goals in the last year, and, did it meet them? What would be the goals of the department (or facility) in the coming year? Do you think those are aggressive or conservative goals? Who set them? What problems or difficulties are present in the department (or facility) now? What are the most important problems to solve first? What will be the greatest challenge in the job? What are the greatest strengths of this department and company? What would you expect me to accomplish in this job? What is your management style? How often would we meet together? What responsibilities have the highest priority? Can you describe a typical day for someone in this position? How might these responsibilities and priorities change? How much time should be devoted to each area of responsibility? What qualifications are you looking for in the person who fills this job? What are some examples of the achievements of others who have been in this position? How many people have held this job in the last five years? Where are they now? Why isn't this job being filled from within? What is the history of this position? What are the traits and skills of people who are the most successful within the organization? If this position is offered to me, why should I accept it? Why did you come to work here? What keeps you here? What do you see in my personality, work history or skill set that attracts you to me? How soon do you expect to make a decision? If I am offered the position, how soon will you need my response? Why is this position open? How often has it been filled in the past five years? What were the main reasons? What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position? What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this job? What is most pressing? What would you like to have done in the next 3 months. What are some of the long term objectives you would like to see completed? What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position? How do you think these could best be handled? What type of support does this position receive in terms of people, finances. etc? What freedom would I have in determining my own work objectives, deadlines, and methods of measurement? What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and within what time frame? In what ways has this organization been most successful in terms of products and services over the years? What significant changes do you foresee in the near future? How is one evaluated in this position? What accounts for success within the company? These questions are presented only as interviewing guidelines. They are meant to help you prepare for the interview. Some questions mayor may not be appropriate for your interviewing situation. By practicing your responses to some of these questions, hopefully you will not be taken off guard if asked one of them. Most importantly, relax, go with the flow, and before you know it, you'll be in your next job.
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