Great interview questions to ask a prospective employer

Most job applicants are aware of the most blatant interview mistakes they can make when meeting with a hiring manager. Poor responses, an annoying cellphone going off and showing up late are on the list of interview no-no's. But who would have thought that failing to step up and ask hiring managers questions during the interview are also on that list?

A hiring manager recently spoke with Forbes about an interview she conducted in which the applicant was seemingly perfect for the job. Until he failed to ask any questions about the job when given the opportunity. His apparent disregard to learn more about the company, the team he would join and the expectations of the firm almost cost him the job until he finally wowed his interviewer with a great question. This scenario is not uncommon, and many job applicants may not put as much emphasis on it as they should. It helps to think of an interview as a dialogue rather than a Q&A session, and applicants seeking competitive finance jobs may get a leg up on the competition by forming some creative questions before sitting down with a manager. For example: 

Questions about the hiring manager's history with the company
Asking the interviewer about his or her own experiences with the firm, such as when they began working there and why they have chosen to remain, can not only help build rapport with the manager, but also help you gain insight about the company from another person's point-of-view. All the research you have done may help you during the interview process, but it may not be enough to give you inside knowledge about what makes the enterprise special and unique. Maybe the hiring manager enjoys the possibilities of upward mobility that the company affords or Fridays off during the summer months. Regardless, expressing curiosity about another's personal story accomplishes the goal of showing managers you are interested and also provides you with more unique insight. 

Inquiries into the firm's expectations
You have the opportunity to delve into the company's expectations not only of you, but of its overall workforce, so it's important to learn all you can. You can ask several questions to measure what the company looks for in its workers, such as:

1. What skills does your ideal candidate possess?
2. What factors do you consider when choosing to promote a worker?
3. Can you explain your performance evaluation process?
4. What separates a good employee from an exceptional employee?

Determine if there are professional development opportunities
Many of today's job applicants don't want a job. They want a career. Therefore, it can be prudent to ask about programs and opportunities the company may have to facilitate to encourage professional development. This may include training programs, certification opportunities, mentor programs and other company offerings that can help nurture your career. Asking these types of questions may not only help inform your own decision about whether this particular firm is right for you, but also demonstrates to managers that you're interested in becoming an integral part of the team.