Five Must-Ask Questions For Your Next Job Interview - March 22, 2017

Today’s work environment is tougher than ever before. People are overworked. The pressures of Wall Street expectations get pushed down to all levels. With continued consolidation and layoffs, people become territorial over their roles, often fueling the fire for office politics.

So when you are seeking a new job, how do you know if the new culture you are entering is better than the one you are leaving behind? Even if the salary is higher or benefits are better, if the work environment is dysfunctional, then what you gain in salary you’ll give up in emotional strain and potential health problems.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’re passing along these five important questions that Forbes contributor Liz Ryan recommends asking so that you don’t get stuck in a work environment that is worse that your current job.

1. Can you tell me a story about the culture here?

Ryan says the reason you don’t just ask "What is the culture like?" is because most people will give you a generic answer, “It’s great.” By asking for a culture story or example, the interviewer will have to stop and think. And if you ask several different interviewers who all give you the same story or who act annoyed that you asked this, then take it as a bad sign.

2. How will the person in this position help the department and the company reach their goals?

This question is designed to understand how your job fits into the larger picture. Save this question for your own department manager, rather than an HR interviewer. Again, if the hiring manager asked put out for being asked this question, then there’s a negative vibe. It’s not a good sign.

3. What's the best thing about working here?

This question is good to ask every interviewer. If it’s something mundane like their dental plan rather than the work itself, people or growth opportunities, then the job might not have the depth that you want.

4. What made you decide to interview me?

As Ryan points out, this question forces your interviewer to relate your resume to the job they are trying to fill. You’ll know pretty quickly where you stand against other candidates.

As she says, “It takes a confident person to compliment another person, and although "Why did you decide to interview me?" is a businesslike and appropriate question, it also somewhat forces the interviewer to compliment you.”

She says that someone who is fearful or territorial in their job will not be happy to provide the compliments. Any reluctance you hear in their voice and see on their face is a bad sign.

5. What is the set of things your new hire will accomplish in the first 90 or 180 days that will make you very happy you hired them?

This final question forces your hiring manager to identify their wish list and focus on the purpose and specific goals of the job.

As Ryan says, you have to vet an employer as carefully as they vet you. Try these questions during your next job interview.

Source: Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read her columns in Forbes .

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