A job interview isn’t a one-way street

10/04/2013 8:00 AM

10/03/2013 9:45 PM

If you’re offered a job interview — on the phone or in person — it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask questions.

While the interviewer is trying to figure out if you would be a good fit for the job, you can use the time at the end of the interview to gauge if the organization might be a good place for you.

Assuming you’re talking to someone employed at the organization (not a third-party recruiter), ask this: Why do you like working here?

Listen for hints about the corporate culture and the clarity, flexibility and autonomy you may or may not have in the job.

Other possible queries, if the answers haven’t been made apparent:

What in my resume made me stand out as a candidate for this job?

What is the timetable for filling this position? What is the next step in the hiring process?

May I talk to someone who currently holds this job?

May I meet the person who would be my direct supervisor?

In addition to the requirements listed, what qualities are held by people who are successful in this job?

You may not have time to ask many questions, so you need to weigh what’s important to you. You may have different concerns.

You also may not be talking to someone high enough in the organization or someone who understands the details of your target job, so you may get no answers or little insight.

In that case, do the best you can to present an upbeat, confident and interested attitude. Your basic skills and experience already have been noted. The interview allows your demeanor to elevate your candidacy.

Just don’t ask questions revealing a lack of preparation. You already should have a sense of the pay range, so don’t ask what the job pays. You can get to the nitty-gritty, such as health care coverage, after a conditional job offer is given.

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