At the end of an interview, you have the opportunity to pose your carefully prepared questions to the hiring manager. Since you’re under enough pressure already, here’s a ready-made list of essential questions to ask in an interview:

1. Why is this position vacant? 
It’s important to understand not only why the job is open but for how long it’s been vacant. The majority of vacancies are the result of an internal promotion or the departure of the previous post holder and are normally filled within a reasonable timeframe. If the job’s been open for several months, you need to know why. Did a previous candidate turn it down? If so, you need to know why before you leap into a potential lion’s den. Are the expectations of the job unrealistic? Is thecompensation inadequate? If the job is a newly created one, you have an ideal opportunity to blaze your own trail.

2. What have your most successful candidates brought to the company? 
Another way of phrasing this is to ask about the characteristics of the company’s top talent. This question is a statement of intent about your determination to join the company’s elite performers. You may wish to emphasize your skills and achievementsrelevant to the role prior to posing this question. The answer will also give you an indication of company culture and help you to decide whether or not this job is the one for you.

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