Top 10 Questions to Ask in an Interview

By Robin Ryan, Career Coach

At some point in every interview the employer will ask, "Do you have any questions?" A top manager at Cingular Wireless, who has hired numerous employees, shared this insight: "I judge candidates by the questions they ask. That's what's most revealing to me. I want someone focused on succeeding in the job and not just centered around how much money I will pay them."

An HR Director for Microsoft added: "Frequently the candidate, ill-prepared, searches his mind for just anything to ask. That person appears dumb, or uninterested, causing me to question what kind of employee they'd be."

This will not happen to you. Take time before the interview to draft good questions, but stick to asking job duty and organizational questions only. But do not ask questions about the salary, benefits or perks. The best time to cover those issues is after you've been offered the job.

Your questions can determine whether this job, company and boss are a good fit for you. Every organization has a workplace environment we call the corporate culture. It defines what it is actually like to work there. You may have had preconceived ideas. They are often proven to be inaccurate once you get into the interview and begin to ask your questions. Better to learn you don't want this job now than three weeks after you've started. Therefore, pay close attention to the answers and determine whether this is a boss you would like to work with every day.

Too often this happens: A few weeks ago a man approached me at a seminar and said he wished he had asked more questions. Instead he impulsively took a job and two weeks later he knew it was a huge mistake. Don't let that happen to you.

Create some questions and make a written list to refer to in the interview. Consider these top 10 questions:

1. "Could you describe to me your typical management style and the type of employee that works well with you?"

2. "Where are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?"

3. "What is your company's policy on providing seminars, workshops and training so employees can develop their skills?"

4. "Are there any restraints or cutbacks planned that would decrease the budget here?"

5. "What particular computer equipment and software do you use here? When was your last upgrade?"

6. "How will my performance be measured? By whom?"

7. "Are there any weaknesses in the department that you are working on improving?"

8. "What types of people seem to excel here?"

9. "Can you give me an idea of the typical workload and extra hours or special needs it demands?"

10. "Describe the atmosphere of the office."

Your list of questions will help you get the information you need to make the best job choice. It will also impress the employer.

Next: Answers to the Seven Toughest Interview Questions >>

Source: '60 Seconds and You're Hired,' by Robin Ryan

Robin Ryan has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: '60 Seconds & You're Hired!;' 'Winning Resumes;' 'Winning Cover Letters' and 'What to Do with the Rest of Your Life.' She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. To purchase her books and audio training programs go to To contact Robin, e-mail or call 425-226-0414.

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