Questions to ask at an Employment Interview.


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Last Revised April 2, 2001

You probably won't wish to ask all of these questions, but you should look over the list and try to determine which ones are most important to you. Try to start with positive comments and ask the harder questions later in the discussion.

General Environment

What is the cost of living in this area? What is the typical rent for an apartment?
Ask the people you talk to how far away they live from the plant.
What are the parking arrangements at the job site?
What does the neighborhood look like around the plant? How safe is the area where you will be working?
Will you have access to the WWW and the internet at your workspace?
Will you be able to access the company computer from your home or apartment?
Does the company have an in-house training program? What types of course are available and how often are they taught?
Does the company encourage you to present papers at national meetings? Will they provide all or part of the cost for you to attend a national meeting at least once a year?
If you decide to work on a graduate degree, is it possible to arrange to do work on your job that could be used as the basis for the research for your degree?
Do most of the people socialize with their co-workers or will you have to find a social life on your own?
Many companies allow for flex time, that is, as long as you work the required number of hours, you have some control over the times that you arrive for work and leave for home. If this would be helpful to you, ask about it now.
If drug testing is an important concern for you, be sure to ask about this.


How often do you get paid? When is your first paycheck? Does the company provide a loan fund to help you pay your bills until the first paycheck arrives? Is the first check for a full month or a partial month?
Are there opportunities for promotion?
How many hours a week do people normally work? (Remember that salaried workers may not receive extra pay for overtime.)
Has the company been involved in a merger or takeover recently? If so, ask what impact this has had on the local plant.
What fringe benefits are available? How is the health insurance? What about retirement benefits?
What about coverage for dental care, medicine, and optical care?
Check on benefits that may not be important to you yet, like day care, exercise areas, counseling, etc.
Will the company pay for you to take graduate courses?


Will the company provide moving expenses?
Can the company provide any help with finding an apartment? Do they recommend a particular rental agency that works with the company?
Are there any other recent hires who may be looking for a roommate?
Just in case you decide to stay more than a couple of years, you should check on the average cost for a house.

As you go around the labs and offices, watch for the following.

What type of work will you be doing? Does it look interesting to you?
During your visit, you will probably have an opportunity to talk to the person who will be your boss and also to some of the people from the group where you will be working. Do you think that you would enjoy working with these people?
When you talk to people on the job, ask how long they have worked here. A large proportion of new hires may mean the company is expanding rapidly or it may mean that there is some reason that the experienced people are leaving (or being fired).
Does the equipment seem new and modern? (Remember to include computers!) If you have a chance, look on the computers to see if they have up-to-date versions of common software.
As you tour the plant and talk to people, try to develop some impression of whether the company is in financial trouble or has an expanding business. The fact that simple house-keeping, like sweeping the floors, has been ignored can be a reflection of more fundamental problems.
Is equipment shared among groups? Will you have access to what you need?
Does the company have an active safety program? Do you see people working without safety glasses and/or gloves? For a chemical company, MSDS sheets should be readily available. If you don't see them on your lab tour, ask where the information is provided.
How many women and minorities do you see (aside from those who are directly involved in the interview)?
What types of support staff are available? i.e. glass blowers, electronics shop, machine shop, computer manager, graphics person, etc.?

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