Well-prepared and germane questions for a potential employer not only allow you to effectively gauge the strength of the opportunity and how well it matches your requirements, they also provide the interviewer with a strong impression of your commitment and professionalism. The following questions have all proven to be highly relevant and effective:

1. What does it take to excel in the position and your corporate environment?

Establishing the ground rules and characteristics for success from day one is a fantastic way to ensure that management and its employees are both aware of the expectations the company has.  It also allows you to craft a strongly tailored response as to how you can utilize your knowledge and skills to succeed with them.

2. Have the employer discuss his/her career and their development at the current company. Why did they choose to work there and what keeps them happy?

Who better to convince you that the company they are working for and the opportunities within it are superb and worth your hard work?  If the interviewer cannot do this adequately then perhaps they have misgivings about their current environment, products, or overall market approach that must be taken into consideration.

3. What are the duties and responsibilities attendant to the role?

It’s important to let the hiring manager know that you are a team player and certainly willing to do any number of things to help the company succeed.  However, this is the time to determine if any of the requirements might be the type that you have little interest in.

4. Why is the position available?

A crucial question from a number of perspectives.  Does it appear that there are unreasonable expectations?  Are people fleeing the company due to difficulties and will this problem continue after you have accepted the role? Has a strong performer simply moved on to another location?  The response to this item can tell you a great deal.

5. What type of individuals are most successful with the company? How is that success measured?

It’s always a good idea to get a feel for the current and former employees of a particular organization who have performed well there.  It’s also paramount to have a strong understanding of how a successful term of work will be calculated.

6. What does a normal day consist of for someone in this position?

Make certain to cover this topic when possible.  If there are required metrics to be adhered to it will be essential to know precisely what is expected.

7. What are the most important things I will be called upon to address?

This obviously will vary greatly depending on the type of role.  However, if you can quickly isolate the areas that are most crucial prior to a potential starting day you will be well ahead of the curve.

8. What type of opportunities are available after I have consistently performed at high levels for an extended period?

If you are interested in moving into a management position or another higher level slot it is essential to determine if they have a definitive path for you to do so.

9. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company, as you perceive them?

It has been my experience that the best leadership is willing to outline positives and possible shortcomings that need to be addressed. They will generally have no problem discussing this with potential employees who very well might have strong ideas as to how improve business.  This is a great opportunity to get unclouded insight from the person you will most likely report to.

10. What are the goals of the company – short-term and long-term?

For obvious reasons, it’s good to have an idea of what their eventual exit strategy might be, how large they plan to grow, what markets they intend to eventually expand in, and a host of other items that will most certainly influence your decision to join the company.

11. What separates the company from others in the same market?

How do they position themselves against competitors.  What type of products and solutions do they have that will help you effectively sell or devise approaches that will increase market share?

12. How would you describe the company culture?

Here is your chance to determine if there is a great deal of micromanagement involved, what kind of people work there, and whether or not you will be happy and productive within that environment.

13. Are there opportunities for additional training?

Most well-run will corporations encourage their employees to continually improve their knowledge and abilities through a number of different means.