job interview

The following is a guest post by Sharon Schweitzer.  Her bio follows.

 Everyone knows that overwhelming feeling of going to a job interview. It’s exciting yet nerve-racking because you are under the microscope and the attention is on you and your abilities. Don’t forget, though, that while the company is trying to determine if you are a good fit for them, you are also there to see if they are a good fit for you.  Manners are key, but don’t shy away from the important elements. Address the following topics in your job interview to get a holistic picture of your potential job and work environment.


When you go for the interview, take note of your surroundings. Feel the energy in the office. You will notice a lot about the culture by just walking into the space. Find out if it is a fit for you. Interviews are for you and the company to see if you are mutually a good fit. Discuss the mission, philosophy, and dynamics with your interviewer to determine office culture. This will best help you determine how to integrate once you are hired. Then you can be prepared from day one.


If you work best in a 9 to 5 job, five days a week environment, way to go. But in the modern workplace, flexibility is important to many. Ask about the flexibility with hours and payments. Is it an hourly wage or salaried structure? If possible, when can you work from home? Be sure to ask about hours on evenings and weekends. Some jobs have busier seasons that require more hours, but become more flexible during the slow period.

Position Type

Put a hold on the celebratory jewelry purchase. There are various forms of positions that this new job might offer. A temporary position is only for a short amount of time and is often to fill a full-time employee’s shoes. The temp-to-hire job contains a probation period to see if you are worthy of the full-time position. The independent contractor is often an hourly wage individual that gets a higher rate. However, they don’t receive benefits and pay more in taxes. There are part-time jobs offered with near full-time hours. Be sure to ask for the specifics.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Question your prospective team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine what you can bring to the table.  When their weaknesses are mentioned, offer your take on possible improvements for the situation. It will be good to see what you can contribute.


It is critical to ask about the turnover rate for your job. That single question will tell you more than anything else. If many people have held the job before you and fled, you might need to do the same. Conduct research before the interview, and cross check with the interviewer’s response. If the answers are inconsistent this could be a red flag.

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New jobs are a fresh start. Be sure to ask about the potential for advancement within the company. Stagnation can take a toll on your attitude towards work. In the interview, ask about opportunities for growth. You will need to ask perceptively as to not look like you are gaming for any job except the one at hand. Employers often like to hear this, because it shows you are willing to invest and commit to the company.

Raises & Bonuses

Keep etiquette in mind when addressing raises and bonuses. There is a fine line between sounding greedy and inquisitive. Most raises are given either annually or based on merit. Ask in the interview to see where the company’s policy stands. While discussing this, you can bring up the perks and benefits included in the job as well.


Ask about expectations of permanent travel, such as relocating. Some jobs offer the option to join other offices around the globe. This could be great if you are up for the adventure. Not to mention it could land you the job over others. Regardless, it is best to find out up front if you will be asked to relocate and where the potential relocations would be. If so, be sure to inquire about a moving reimbursement policy.


You don’t want to be the one stuck with more expenses than income. Ask up front for details about the expense reimbursement policy. Many companies offer expense accounts to employees if their job includes taking clients out. Others have a self-reported or receipt-reported reimbursement protocol. Know where your potential company stands.


Follow the above guidelines to help you best assess if the position is right for you. Keep these tips in mind for all future interviews, and hone your interviewing skills. Being polite and informed will get you far in your career and life.

About Sharon Schweitzer

HiRes-Sharon_Schweiter-0084-Edit job interview

Sharon Schweitzer is a business etiquette expert, author, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide.  For more information, visit









Interview ahead?  Ace it with the great tips in the videos below!


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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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