500 Questions: Questions You Ask, Part 4

I know that there is turnover in every job. Could you tell me what percentage of the people you hired in the last 3 years are still with the firm?

Turnover rate is the term applied for the percentage of people who leave a job or a company within a certain period of time. This can be a sensitive question, but you should ask about it if you are concerned.

I certainly intend to work hard and to prove my value to this company. If there is an evaluation system, can you tell me more about it?

You certainly want to know about the evaluation policies of a company because the answer could significantly affect your future on the job. At the same time, you want to make it clear that you welcome evaluation rather than fear it.

I am interested in learning more about the teams. Could you tell me what teams people this department works on? Who else is on the teams?

Many companies are emphasizing teams as a means of producing quality work at a reduced cost. You are expressing interest in your role on a team and how would team work affect your work life.

How would you describe your management style?

Your questions must be asked in a spirit of honest and open inquiry. Tone of voice matters. Employers have weak spots too. Sometimes seemingly innocuous questions can cause some discomfort.

How much travel is involved in this position?

With overnight travel you need to find out the number of days per week and month; and more important, whether you will be paid for weekend days or given comp time.

How many hours per week would a person in this position typically expect to work?

It is important to understand the company’s values toward family and community responsibilities and what expectations they will have towards your endeavor to seek balance in your lifestyle.

Do you think that the Internet will offer any worthwhile advantage for your company’s communication or research activities?

Since you plan to be a part of the plans, it is a good idea to ask about the firm’s plans for the future. This question lets you express an interest in the future based on what you should already know.

Do you encourage creativity?

Some people have an overriding need to create new products or services. They are motivated by an “I-can-do-it” attitude and they do well with new products and services as well as start-up ventures. If this describes you, it is helpful to discover whether the organizational culture really is conducive to creativity.

Can you tell me why this position is open?

Although this may be a difficult question for your employer to answer, the way that it is answered may give you meaningful information about the company and its policies, management style, corporate culture, and resources.

Is there anything else you would like to hear about me?

This allows you to turn the tables, so to speak, and give your interviewer one more chance to review your qualifications and suitability for the position. It also allows you a moment or two, if necessary, to collect your thoughts and gain composure.

Are employees encouraged to be active in professional associations?

The answer to this is likely to be “yes,” at least for some employees, since having people keep up with their profession or industry is to the firm’s advantage. If you are already active in associations relevant to your new employer, mention it. If you are moving to a new industry, show interest in learning more about the associations that the new employer thinks are important.

All of the people I have spoken with seem to be proud of working here. What is it about your company that instills such pride?

It can be a good idea to ask about the environment related to your job. This question gives the interviewer a chance to praise the company without exerting a lot of mental energy.