27 questions to ask employees at the company you want to work for

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How to Ask the Job Interviewer Your Questions

The job interview is a two-way street. It's a great opportunity to figure out if the job is right for you, and whether you'd like working for the company. But when you ask the hiring manager questions about the culture or people, they may give you sugar-coated answers — especially if they're trying to sell you on the job.

That's why it's so important to talk to other employees, too.

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If and when you're afforded the chance to speak with your prospective coworkers — which hiring managers should encourage in the spirit of being transparent and helping to provide insight additional perspectives — there are a few specific questions you'll want to ask.

"It's the best way to find out what it's really like at this company without overstepping your boundaries and jeopardizing an otherwise perfect interview performance," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, leadership coach, and author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant."

Here are the questions you should ask employees at the company you're interviewing with:

1. How long have you worked here? Can you tell me more about your role and background?

2. What do you like most about working at this company?

3. How would you describe the work environment?

4. How would you describe the work ethic?

5. What is the reporting structure like?

6. What kind of personality traits thrive the most in the department?

7. What's the preferred communications style? Phone, email, IM, text, one-on-one meetings, meeting over lunch, Skype, etc.?

8. How much of a team approach do you experience?

9. How are accomplishments recognized?

10. How much latitude are people generally given?

11. How do department managers motivate their teams?

12. What is the commitment to professional development?

13. How much do you feel people learn on the job?

14. How would you describe the level of support offered?

15. How much feedback do team members receive?

16. Can you describe the advancement opportunities here?

17. Do people in this position have the opportunity to advance?

18. What would you hope a new hire could contribute to the department?

19. What do you think would make a person successful in my position?

20. How does management view risks?

21. When people make mistakes, how is that handled?

22. How does management view such areas as work-life balance?

23. Does the company engage in social responsibility programs?

24. How is conflict handled and resolved?

25. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges you face here?

26. If there's one thing you could improve, what would it be?

27. What's one thing you wish you knew before you started working here?

There are many questions you may have about the job that don't belong in the peer interview, Taylor adds. "Don't be tempted to ask unrelated or off-topic questions just because you forgot to ask HR or the interviewer, as it might convey as you place much importance on them. These include company policies and perks, such as vacation, or sensitive topics, like salaries, raises or bonuses, as well as personal discussions about age, religion, or the latest political polls. And while you might be wondering about their take on a big competitive threat, hold off until you're settled in, or you may appear critical."

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RELATED: 10 worst body language mistakes during interviews

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27 questions to ask employees at the company you want to work for

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 

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