Ask Your Way to a Job

QuestionsIf you read headlines, you probably know the latest buzz on the economy. It's finally beginning to turn around. Slowly, but a little is better than nothing. Perhaps you have evidence yourself with that upcoming job interview. I'm by no means a Human Resources expert, but I've been both the interviewee and interviewer enough times to have a few thoughts on the subject.

During most interviews, the potential employer does most of the talking. This doesn't mean you can't take notes or ask questions. If you prefer not to interrupt, jot your question down and prepare to ask it later. At some point, you will be asked, "do you have any questions?" Don't say no.

This is more than your chance to sell yourself. It's also their chance to convince you that you want to work there. This is your opportunity to evaluate them and the position, so don't hesitate to make inquiries. If you don't know what to ask, start with basic stuff (that you can't easily find at their web site), like how many in your department or who your supervisor will be.

Much of my experience is in the association field and many of them are run by volunteer Boards of Directors. I have some, shall I say, um, interesting stories about working with BODs, so I like to ask about how involved is the Board. If I'm interviewing, I might ask the candidate about her experience working with Boards.

Other topics you may be curious about include the corporate culture, why your predecessor left or what their long-term goals are.

Think of it as dating. Sure, you want the love of your life to be good looking, but you also want a personality that goes with yours. Unless you ask about the right questions, you'll either never know or, worse, find out the hard way.

What challenges is the current job market presenting to you?
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