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How is your performance measured? How often? How does that relate to the job I'm considering?

You may be shocked to find many firms have no formal performance measurement systems. Their attitude is that they already have an incentive system—if you do your job, you get to keep it. The answer to this may be an embarrassment to the hiring authority, but you have to ask it.

If there is a formal performance measurement procedure, you will find it out now. Pay particular attention to find out if salary reviews or incentive bonuses are associated with the tools the company uses. Don't fret if a company doesn't have a formal performance measurement program, just know what theirs is. Get copies of the procedure or performance measurement tools if you can.

What happened to the last person in the job?

You need to know this. If the person was fired, you need to know the circumstances. If you learned the answer to this question during the interviewing process, you will want to get clarification now. There is less pressure on you now to sell yourself, so you can delve into this deeply. I have known candidates to track down the person who was fired to get an idea about the situation.

If a person was promoted out of the job, ask to speak to that person. You want to learn as much as you can about what you are getting into. This is a great way to do it.

Is the company seeking to grow? How?

Very few organizations are going to tell you that they don't want to grow. But, if you have done your homework, you will know what the track record of growth, or lack of it, has been for the company itself. You have probably also picked up the direction that the company is going in the interviewing process. Some organizations will admit that they don't want to grow, at least, rapidly. If a company says that it wants to grow by acquisition or merger, it may affect your particular position. If it is in the process of being sold, you need to know. Acquiring a company or a merger can create function duplication.

A standard follow-up question to no matter what you were told should be, "So, how might that affect this position?" Listen carefully to the answer. Most of the time, you're going to hear something like, "Oh, it really won't! " You'd better listen to how the person says this more than what he says.

Often, companies need to hire somebody because they need a certain task or job done immediately. They may or may not be thinking, or even care, about what might happen to the position in the near future. They need a job done now, so they hire for it. Most of the time, they aren't thinking about you or the situation down the line. They will worry about that tomorrow. Tomorrow and your future aren't part of their worries. So, just pay attention. You can't predict what might happen and neither can they.

Most people in most companies are overly optimistic about how fast they're going to grow. Growth, or lack of it, may not affect the job you are interviewing for one way or the other. Simply listen to the answer, and then follow your gut.

Exactly how much travel is involved with the job?

Usually, if there is an inordinate amount of travel involved in a job, you would have heard about it during the interviewing process. If travel is a big drawback of the position, it is usually brought up in the very beginning of the interviewing process, and you already know about it.

However, if there is travel involved in a particular job, you need to know exactly how much. Get a specific understanding about this in terms that means something to you. For instance, 50% travel can mean a number of things. It can mean a Monday through Friday workweek out of town and then a

Monday through Friday workweek in town. Some people could define it by going out of town Monday evening, being gone Tuesday and Wednesday, and back on Thursday. There may even be a difference between being back on Thursday morning or Thursday evening.

Many times, the travel schedule is required in the first few months and diminishes, somewhat, after the employee knows the territory. So, get a very specific number of days and number of nights, per week or per month, that travel is required. One person's definition of 50% travel is different than another person's. You need to know in terms relative to what you can or can't do.

 
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