Job interviews are a two-way street

June 27, 2011 – When preparing for a big job interview it’s easy to overlook the obvious.

You may be armed and ready with answers to the toughest questions, but don’t forget that you are also interviewing them. Your perception of the company is important and the questions you ask not only show your interest in the position you are interviewing for, but also can help you decide if you want to work there.

Aside from asking general questions about the company or what to expect from a typical day at the office, be creative. For instance, I always ask for the average length of time employees stay with the company because that speaks volumes to me. And if they don’t know the answer, I ask how long they’ve been with the company. I consider it a solid corporate culture if they can tell me it’s more than seven years.

I also ask the interviewer for their favorite part of the job or the company, and then try to find out the opposite by asking about their least favorite, or the most common complaints employees make. My questions usually focus on the corporate culture because that is important to me. I can find out what a company does through its Web site. I’m more interested to find out if I’ll be a good fit.

The best way to compile a list of appropriate questions is to decide what is important to you. Do you prefer a flexible schedule? Or do you want the convenience of working from home occasionally? Factor those requirements into your questions. Here’s a helpful top ten list from CNN.com to get you started.

1. What are the top three tasks you want the candidate to perform after being hired?
2. Why did you choose this company?
3. How do you see me benefiting the company?
4. Is there room for growth and advancement?
5. Are there opportunities for professional training or further education?
6. How will I be evaluated and by whom?
7. What is the general culture of the company?
8. Are there other job responsibilities not mentioned in the ad?
9. When will you be making a decision on the successful candidate?
10. May I call you if other questions arise?

Be sure to close the interview with question #9. That might be the most important question of all.

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