by Terence Baker | July 01, 2006

Greg StockerJob candidates should use those precious interview minutes to make some smart quer-ies, says business consultant Gregg Stocker, right, author of Avoiding the Corporate Death Spiral (ASQ Quality Press). Good questions to ask:

What is the company’s mission? Job seekers should be concerned about conflicting or confused responses, or answers that stress profits or shareholders. “That immediately tells me they don’t understand the basics of business,” says Stocker. “Although shareholders are very important, they are not the reason organizations are created.”

How does the company measure success? Does management track customer satisfaction, on-time delivery and employee morale? Be concerned if these things do not get the same level of attention as do financial results.

How does the company develop leaders? Have any internal candidates applied for this position? Have at least some of the interviewers risen through the ranks?

How would my bonus be calculated? If bonuses are part of the compensation package, ask whether the formula is based on your performance.