Interpreting the response: According to Lewis, you may get a response along these lines: "The best managers in our organization are independent thinkers, are good teachers and completely aligned with the direction the company is going in." If he or she can't name a single star in the managerial stable, that's problematic and speaks to an organization short on progress and promotions, Lewis notes.
6. If offered the position, can you give me examples of ways I would collaborate with my manager?
As an entry-level staffer, you may want to work with management as a means to showcase your skills and move up. But there's a distinction between simply taking orders and actively working with a superior who is grooming you for something better. "[Finding] out how an organization utilizes people at the staff level is key," Lewis says. "Is it a dictatorial environment or a collaborative one?"
Interpreting the response: The employer may be short on examples or dismiss the notion of working with management altogether. Prod further, Lewis says, and find out why that it is. There may be a legitimate reason behind why the company doesn't promote collaboration.
7. What are some challenges that will face the person filling this position?
You owe it to yourself to know what you're up against. "It just gives you a reality check," Palmer says. The drawbacks may differ depending on whether the position is managerial or entry-level. As a manager, you may oversee a department that runs on a shoestring budget. As a lower-level staffer, you may work odd hours or get stuck with assignments that lack substance.
Interpreting the response: The interviewer may point out the least offensive parts of the job. But if he or she denies any downside whatsoever, that should raise doubts about his or her credibility. "Any boss that tells you there are not challenges, they're lying. It's just that simple," Palmer says.
8. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
Asking a question like this lets the interviewer know that you're secure enough to openly discuss your vulnerabilities. It also signals confidence and the ability to be coached, says John Kador, author of "301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview." "Coachability is a hugely attractive attribute as far as interviewers are concerned," he explains.
Interpreting the response: At your urging, the interviewer may voice concerns about a lack of training in certain areas or gaps in employment. Rather than gloss over your shortcomings, address them and put up a respectful and reasonable defense. "You may be able to come up with a satisfactory response, you may not," Kador says. "But at least you have the chance."