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7 Top Questions Job Candidates Should Ask

Tony Jacowski -- Asking questions is not a big deal, but how you ask them is. You must be mature enough to show you have class and your selection of questions really demonstrates that you mean business.

Preparing for job interviews, candidates try to collect information to formulate their best answers to questions that are most likely going to be asked. Despite this extensive preparation, the actual interview could turn to be boring. Worse still, you could begin to sense the interview's failure.

Unless you do something to turn the situation around, it is going to be a battle lost. So what better way to save the interview than by asking a few pertinent questions? (Hint: you should be doing this anyway!)

Top 7 Questions You Should Ask An Interviewer

The questions you ask should not just be for the sake of asking but they must demonstrate your interest in the position and the company. In addition, the more seriousness and earnestness with which you ask them, the more employers are impressed with your knowledge, intelligence, and interest in their company.

So, here is the list of top seven questions you can ask interviewers whether or not you are caught in a catch-22 situation.

1. What is the immediate key result area that the company is looking from me?

This gives you more insight into what you must expect upon being hired. Since you will probably get a more informative answer than what the job advertisement said, you will probably get a better answer now. You will also be able to immediately concentrate on the key result area as you know how you are being judged.

2. Can you perceive me as contributing to the company?

This is a point blank question asked without the intention to annoy the interviewer. It is very hard for them to avoid answering this one. Also, it reveals where you stand so far as the interview is concerned. You have to ask this question so that you can counter any potentially negative impressions the interviewer has of you or your ability to contribute.

3. What growth opportunities can the company provide me?

This gives the interviewer the message that you mean business and are not a pushover. It also reflects your career orientation -- companies want to know that you aren't seeking a dead-end position. They want a mover and a shaker, not someone with limited or no ambition!

4. What are the evaluation criteria?

This is another straightforward question that tells you how you are going to be evaluated later and how it might affect your career growth. It also sheds light on the organizational structure.

5. Are there other responsibilities not mentioned in the ad?

Knowing the answer to this question will help you prepare for salary negotiations. If you don't ask this question you will be devaluing yourself. Knowing your complete responsibilities beforehand not only paves the way for a good salary but will help you to avoid frustration later on.

6. Will the company sponsor me for training?

The answer to this question will demonstrate management's commitment to adapt and reinvent themselves on a continuous basis by investing in human capital. Companies that are hiring six sigma professionals usually respond positively to this question. If a company isn't willing to do this, you should probably think twice about pursuing a career with them.

7. How long will you take to make your decision?

You need to ask this question to demonstrate your interest in the job, but also to subtly let them know that you have other irons in the fire (i.e., other job prospects). Never let an interviewer think that their company is your only employment option. This will limit your negotiation strength. Plus, it lets them know that they can take their time in deciding to hire you because you have signaled that you aren't going anywhere!

Asking questions is not a big deal, but how you ask them is. You must be mature enough to show you have class and your selection of questions really means that you mean business. Don't use questions to show off; use them to gain real insight into the company's inner workings.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

© 2007 Tony Jacowski

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