Asking Work-Related Questions before a Job Offer
Before you receive a job offer, don't ask questions about anything other than work-related issues. That advice applies to all jobs. The interviewer, particularly a hiring manager who resents the time "diverted" to an interview, doesn’t care about your needs at this point. What’s important to the interviewer is solving the hiring problem. First we decide, then we deal — that’s the thinking.
To talk about your needs before an offer turns the interviewer’s mind to negative thoughts: All you want is money, insurance, and a nice vacation on the company. You’re not interested in doing the job. Don't make that mistake. Keep your focus on the employer’s needs and how you can meet them.
Sell yourself by asking questions that are
Ask about the position’s duties and challenges. Ask what outcomes you’re expected to produce. Ask how the position fits into the department, and the department into the company. Ask about typical assignments. Here are examples of work-related questions:
What would be my first three goals if I were hired for this position?
What would my key responsibilities be?
How many and whom would I supervise? To whom would I report?
Will I be working as a member of a team?
What percentage of time will I spend communicating with customers, coworkers, and managers?
Will on-job training be required for a new product?
Can you describe a typical day?
If I produce double my quota will you double my base pay?
Was the last person in this job promoted? What’s the potential for promotion?
How would you describe the atmosphere here? Formal and traditional? Energetically informal?
Where is the company headed? Merger? Growth?
What would my first project be?
What type of training would I receive?
What resources would I have to do the job?
How much would I travel, if any?
(If a contract job) Do you anticipate extensive overtime to finish the project on schedule?
Where does this position fit into the company’s organizational structure?
What results would you expect from my efforts and on what timetable? What improvements need to be made on how the job has been done until now?
Be aware of how you phrase questions. Ask “what would” questions that presume you’ll be offered the job (“What would my key responsibilities be?” Not, “What are the job’s key responsibilities?”). Presumption-phrasing shows self-confidence and subtly encourages the interviewer to visualize you in the position.
Don’t ask questions about information you can glean from research. How much time should you invest in asking selling questions? Five to ten minutes is not too much.