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The Best Questions an Interviewee Should Ask at an Interview

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Be prepared to ask questions at a job interview. You are considering associating yourself and your professional reputation with a new company, and you want to be sure it is the right company for you. Also, the interviewer will expect questions from a truly interested and proactive candidate.

What are the job duties for this position?

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You can do as much research as you want about the position you are interviewing for, but unless you have inside information, you will not have a clear picture. You can guess, but the interview is the best place to find out the exact job description and duties directly from the company. The company's version of the duties may differ from you experience. For example, your experience as a sales professional tells you that qualified leads supplied by the company are the most effective way to generate business. But part of the job description for the sales job you are interviewing for is cold calling from the phone book to generate your own leads. The perception of job duties is different.

Why do you like working here?

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This question is designed to help you determine what kind of culture the company has and how good morale is with the company. A confident and positive answer from the hiring manager will indicate that it is a good company to work for, while an evasive and neutral answer should cause you concern. You are the one being interviewed, so avoid pursuing this question too much with follow up questions. But take the time to determine whether the hiring manager is making you feel confident about working for the company.

What are the challenges associated with this position?

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Quantify the response to get its full meaning. For example, if you are told that one of the challenges for the sales position is that it was created to sell a product that has never sold well and needs a boost, then you may want to pass on that particular job. If the hiring manager mentions common corporate challenges such as meeting deadlines, filing the correct forms or trying to maintain contact with the company's best customers then the position is stable. But if there is an indication that the position is experimental with very little hope for success, then it may not be a challenge you want.

How many people have held this position in the past five years?

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If the number is too big to remember for the hiring manager, then that does not offer a sense of stability to the position. Give the hiring manager a chance to explain a long list of past employees for the position you are interviewing for, but try to stay objective for your own sake. This all depends on why there have been many people that have held the position in the past five years. If the job you are interviewing for is a significant stepping stone to better positions within the company, then that is a job you want.

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About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

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