How interesting the work will be
By asking about the specific projects and problems a typical day on the job will entail, you demonstrate your interest in finding an opportunity that stimulates you. Asking, "How would you describe a typical day for this position?" is a good way to start developing a feel for the day-to-day realities of the work.
If you're concerned the job may involve too little of the work that interests you the most, consider a follow-up question, such as, "About how much of my time would be spent working with VB.Net development?" Keep in mind, however, that your interviewer may respond by asking whether this percentage suits you.
The company's stability and financial condition
Given recent economic conditions, hiring managers understand that candidates are concerned about a potential employer's stability and financial outlook. Don't hesitate to ask questions such as, "What are the company's priorities or plans for the future?" or, "How has the company performed in the aftermath of past downturns?" Doing so suggests that you're interested in a long-term engagement with the firm.
If you ask the right questions of the interviewer, you can also accomplish two other important goals:
- Show the hiring manager that you know your stuff. Asking detailed, up-to-date questions about the potential employer can demonstrate that you've spent time researching the challenges facing the company. Examples of such questions might include, "What technical hurdles has the IT team faced since you consolidated several local branches?" or, "How has the company's call center volume been affected by the launch of the new line of service?"
- Reaffirm your interest in the position. Assuming you're still interested in the position after speaking to the hiring manager, your final goal during the interview should be to show that you're even more excited about the opportunity than when you submitted your résumé. "What are the next steps in the hiring process?" and, "When can I expect to hear from you next?" are simple questions that express your ongoing interest.
Hiring managers interview plenty of applicants who appear eager to receive a job offer — any job offer. By asking the right questions, you distinguish yourself as a candidate who's interested in a mutually beneficial working relationship. Such candidates aren't only more likely to become long-term assets to the company — they're also more likely to ask the kinds of questions that lead to future innovation.