Getting Answers to 5 Key Questions Before Taking a Job


Many times candidates forget that they are taking part in the interview process to make a determination as to whether or not they feel that they would be a good fit for the position for which they are applying. They get so nervous and focused on answering the interviewer’s questions to the best of their ability, that they leave not knowing some key points about the company. Just as you would get to know your in-laws or ask questions before marrying someone; so should you for a new position. The following key questions should be asked in order to obtain information that will not be listed on the job description or in the company’s mission/vision statement.

What is the overall culture of the organization and the department where you will be working? Are they strictly professional and on-point at all times or are they laid back and progressive with their ideas and methods? This where your personality meets practicality. Are you anal retentive and hyper-organized? Then a laid back environment may drive you crazy and inhibit your ability to complete tasks. Or on the hand, are you always a few minutes late, overly calm during a crisis, and liberal with following rules or procedures? Then a highly functional and strict environment may seem like a jail sentence. It is vital to determine where you will fit best to ensure your success.

Do the executives and management have a commitment to their employee’s career path, continuing education, and promoting from within? Many large corporations have career training or provide additional motivational and efficiency seminars to their employees. They have realized that making this type of investment in their employee’s future often gives them an excellent ROI (Return on Investment) in the form of accelerated job performance. In addition, it is wonderful for employee morale and the reduction of employee turnover when an organization is known for promoting from within.

How are the employees evaluated? Again this is relevant to your personality and job performance style. Will you be micro-managed or will management just “set you free” and get together at the end of each quarter to review your progress? Are you evaluated on the bottom line numbers only or will your effort, long hours, and progressive ideas be taken into account? They will all determine your success.

Tell me about a typical day for the person in this position and also an atypical day. This is important so that you know about the general work flow and percentage of time allotted to each job duty. Also an atypical day may consist of working 20 hours straight or traveling for extended periods of time. It is important to know both.

Is the company committed to work/life balance? Some companies are excellent at assisting their employees with the ever changing challenges of work/life balance. Others are absolutely not. Where you are in your life may determine whether or not that would be a deal breaker for you.