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Interview Questions: Dos and Don'ts
by Stacey Lane

You've done your homework, and you're prepared to answer questions during an interview. But are you ready to ask questions of your interviewer? What are the "Dos And Don'ts" of asking the right questions of your interviewer to assess that the company and the position are right for you.

You've done your research and you've brushed up on recent company developments. You've found out who you'll be interviewing with one of the questions you should ask when you're first contacted "Who will I be interviewing with?"

You've even received a more thorough job description (Nice job That's another great question to ask "Is a more detailed job description available?") You've studied the organizational chart and made a few notes. (Again smart move being familiar with an org chart ahead of time can aid you in preparing relevant questions.)

Now what? Be prepared to take notes. Don't rely on your memory to recall their answers to the questions you've prepared. Jot down key phrases and words. Focus on asking insightful and relevant questions that will help you decide whether this is the right company, boss, team, and position for you.

Do Ask...

About the position:
What are the key things you'd like a new hire to know?
What do you see as the key focus of this position for the next six months? The next year?
What key attributes or characteristics will make the person in this position successful?
What are the major challenges that this position faces in the next six to nine months?
Is this a new position? or What happened to the last person who held this position?

About your co-workers and supervisor:
What are the short term and long range goals of this department/team?
What are the major strengths of the team in place?
What are the weaknesses/opportunities for improvement? (Ask this of other team members, if possible.)
Can you tell me a little about your managerial style? (Ask others to describe your potential supervisor's style too.)
Can you tell me a bit more about the people with whom I'd be working most closely?

The company:
Ask about new products and services, or trends in the market, but have some basic knowledge about the company's history, position in the market, management team and competitors.

The hiring process:
Where are you in the hiring cycle?
How many people have you interviewed so far?
How many do you plan on interviewing before making a decision?
What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Do Not Ask...

Don't ask about benefits or vacation time. Save those questions until you're offered the position. Don't ask questions that you should know the answer to already such as, "Who named the company?" or "What does this company do?" Do your homework otherwise you might appear ignorant.

Don't ask personal questions of the interviewer, except to inquire about what they like best about working for the company.

Bottom Line
Ask whatever you need in order to determine whether it's a fit for you.

Stacey Lane, MS, CPCC, loves the challenges of working with bright and talented professionals who are struggling with their career direction and reaching their potential. Using an innovative four step process, Stacey specializes in helping clients develop smart career strategies. For more:

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