The interviewer doesn't get to ask all the questions.
If and when you've nabbed a job interview, you're going to be nervous. You're going to practice your answers to "tell me about yourself" and "tell me why we should hire you." You're going to dress nicely and mute your cellphone.
But are you going to prepare questions to ask the employer? You should.
Your answers to the interviewer's queries aren't the only way to show you're a good fit for the job. The answers you get to your questions could help you decide if the job (or place) is right for you.
Here are a few great suggestions that The Five O'Clock Club, a career transition service, shares with its clients, meshed with some of my thoughts. You should ask:
n How long have you worked here? What do you like about working here?
It's a good way to level the power field by posing personal questions to the interviewer -- but in a human interest way. They indicate you have an interest in others, a good asset in "team-oriented" workplaces.
n Is the job I'm interviewing for a new position? Do others do the same work here? Or did someone previously hold the job who's not here anymore?
The answers will help you determine whether standards already have been set for the position or if you'll be plowing new ground.
n May I speak with someone else who does (or did) this job?
If I'm a serious candidate for the job, I'd be concerned if the hiring system barred me from talking to other employees. "Best places" organizations often set up group interviews as another way to detect fit with co-workers and the workplace.
n What is the corporate culture like here?
Interviewers can and do blow smoke, but listen for canned or genuine responses. You could also ask how top management contributes to the culture. It's good when you get an enthusiastic description of good vibes coming from the top down.
n Can you show me examples of the projects I'd work on?
Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star workplace reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter@kcstarstafford.