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Tough Job Interview Questions You Should Ask

Show interest and confidence by bringing up these topics with your future employer

In English | Much of what makes a great job interview is intuitive. It's chemistry between two people. When it comes to that point in the interview when you're asked if you have any questions, you have a final chance to make a lasting impression.

Obvious questions might make it seem like you aren't that interested. Simple ones make it appear you have not done your research. The key is to have the confidence to ask a few tough but not disrespectful questions. Here are 10 to consider.

See also: 5 jobs in demand for 2013

questions job interview man desk suit employee resume scared

Ask these tough interview questions of a potential employer. — Jasper White/Getty Images

1. Why did you choose this company?

It's a two-way street. Yes, you're there to sell yourself, but they're selling the job, too.

The answer will help you define "the organization's strengths and weaknesses with this insider's perspective," says Michael Erwin, a senior career adviser at CareerBuilder.

If this person would be your boss, and you feel at ease, you might ask: What's your management style? What challenges make you excited to come to work each day? What do you like the most about working here? These kinds of questions let somebody see that you're genuinely attracted to the job and whether the company is a good fit for you.

2. Is full time the only option, or would you consider a contract or consulting arrangement?

"Most of the 50-plus crowd I have worked with want to work less and make more," says career consultant Maggie Mistal. "By taking on projects or aspects of projects that play to their core genius, people can increase their hourly rate and avoid taking on job responsibilities they don't really want."

3. How would I exceed your expectations on a short-term basis, say in the first 30 to 60 days on the job?

Such a question lets your interviewer know that you want to be effective from day one, says career coach Julie Shifman, founder of Act Three. It suggests initiative and preparation, which are critical in the employer's hiring decision. The answer should give you "more in-depth knowledge about the tasks and challenges you'll be facing in your first couple of months," she says.

4. What qualities do your very best employees have in common?

The answer will tell you what the employer values in its top performers, Shifman says. "Is it that they are always available? Is it their ability to solve problems creatively? The answer will give you a pretty good idea of what you need to do to succeed in this organization. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to give what it takes?"

5. Is there anything about myself, my skills or my background that you would like me to clarify?

A forward question, but bottom line, this is how you find out if your interviewer has any questions about your ability to do the job. This gives you a chance to sell yourself and emphasize what you do well, or expand upon something mentioned in your résumé.

6. Are there opportunities for professional training or further education, particularly to keep up with new technology?

According to Dan Schawbel, author of the upcoming book Promote Yourself, boomers select training and development opportunities as being most important when considering working for a company. That is confirmed by the findings of a recent survey conducted by Monster and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm founded by Schawbel.

If you're 50 or older, such a question could go a long way in undermining any tendency the interviewer might have to think of you as an older worker who may be stuck, set in your ways and behind the curve when it comes to technology. "This is a forward-thinking question that leaves the interviewer with the impression that you're willing to grow," says career coach Laura Schlafly.

Next page: Inquire about entrepreneurial-type projects. »

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INTERVIEWING FOR A JOB? MarketWatch's Christopher Noble and Jim Jelter discuss new research by Alexandra Levit, a Chicago-based career-trend consultant, that shows five interview mistakes job seekers should avoid.

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