Careers & Education

What to ask during a job interview

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A job interview
Your goal during a job interview is to shop for a job just as much as the employer is shopping for an employee
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Find out what you should ask the employer during a job interivew.

Attending a job interview is perhaps one of the most stressful life events, and all of us have been there. While most of us make our way through the interview, answering questions as we're asked, we often have trouble when the interviewee turns to us and asks: 'Do you have any questions?' What do you say? Is it appropriate to ask about holiday time and pay? How do you sound intelligent and interested about the company you might be working for? Here are a few tips to steer you in the right direction and let you know what to ask during a job interview.


Good questions to ask


1. What is the best thing about working at the company?


This is one of the best questions to ask when being interviewed. Not only does it show you're interested in the establishment, it gives you a chance to gauge the enthusiasm with which the question is answered. Although you're the one who is being interviewed, you have to remember that you will be providing a service. The company needs good employees and your personal talents and strengths are important. Asking this question makes the interviewer "sell" the establishment to you and helps you decide whether or not you want to work there. The company needs to know that you are a valuable asset and that you want to know what they can bring to the table. Watch the interviewer as he or she answers. Does it take a long time to decide upon an answer or is it clear that they enjoy their job and are eager to tell you about the workplace benefits? Asking this question will help you determine whether the establishment is right for you.


2. What is your least favorable thing about working for the company?


This question is equally important. Be wary of any answer suggesting that there is no downside to working for the company. No establishment is perfect and an interviewer who is willing to share the weaknesses of the establishment suggests an honest workplace that is aware of their personal need for improvement. Discovering the worst part of working for a company is important to help you decide whether or not working there will be what you want. Is the worst thing lots of overtime with no additional pay? This might be a deal breaker for you. If you have a family and the company offers no benefits, this may not be the place for you.



3. Ask something specific about the company


Do your research. Coming into an interview knowing something about the company and what they do is imperative. Take a look at their financials, marketing strategy or other business particulars and formulate a question that pertains directly to the company you're interviewing for. Showing you have looked into the establishment shows interest and responsibility, two characteristics employers love.


4. Does the position offer a chance for advancement?


This question is always a great one to ask because it shows initiative and drive. The company doesn't expect that you will stay in an introductory position and asking if there is a chance for advancement concretes for them that you are a person who is willing to work hard to move up. This is what they want.


What not to ask


Knowing what not to ask is as important as knowing what to ask during a job interview. Read on to discover what not to utter when trying to land that perfect job.


1. How much do you pay?


While most companies will give you this information without asking, this question is a touchy one, and it is my opinion that it shouldn't be asked until the second interview or when you are actually offered the job. While this may be difficult, especially if you are interviewing for simultaneous jobs, it is better to wait. Asking straight out seems to suggest that you are only concerned with the money you will be making. While salary is indeed important, it is prudent to wait until a secondary interview to ask what they are offering. In addition, the company may be waiting to see how you interview and what your credentials are before offering an amount. Showing patience and tact in this department may actually earn you a few extra bucks.


2. How many holidays do I get off?


No, no, no. Do not ask about holidays until you are working out the details of your contract. Asking how much time off you get during the interview stage is in bad taste and shows the employer that you're already thinking of being "out of the office" when you haven't even officially been asked in. The same goes for "Where is the cafeteria?" and "Do I get a gym membership?"


Knowing what to ask during a job interview is important and although you may be tempted to ask about wages, benefits, holidays and other details, it is prudent to wait until a secondary interview to do so. Come into your meeting enthusiastic about the company and the job you're trying to get and the rest will fall into place.

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