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The 3 questions one CEO hopes to hear from everyone he interviews -- but hardly ever does

David MelanconCourtesy of David MelanconDavid Melancon, CEO of btr.

At the end of most job interviews, the hiring manager will turn the tables and ask, “So, do you have any questions for me?”

Most candidates use this time to learn more about salary and job requirements — but David Melancon, CMO at JUST Capital, a nonprofit that measures corporate performance against the public’s definition of “just” business behaviour, says there are a few questions that are far more important, but most people fail to ask them.

Here are the three questions he hopes to hear from every job candidate he interviews — but hardly ever does:

1. 'What qualities will a person in this role need to be successful in your company culture -- as an individual and as a worker?'

'This company's culture is what it is -- and it's easy for a company to use their own buzz words to talk about their culture: 'hard charging,' 'hands-on,' 'mission-driven,' 'entrepreneurial,'' Melancon explains. 'Often, these words describe the company leaders or refer to aspirations of the company, but they're not always easy to translate directly to every role.'

Let's say you're applying to be a administrative assistant -- how does 'entrepreneurial' apply? Maybe you're going to be an intern in the Human Resources department and an accounting clerk -- what does 'mission driven' mean to your role?

'By asking about the qualities needed for success, you enable the interviewer to give you specifics that apply to yourself and your role within that culture, rather than the company line about itself,' he says.

2. 'What's the company's position on education and development, including student loan reimbursement and tuition assistance?'

You've put a lot of effort and investment into your education and it's possible -- especially if this is an entry-level job -- that you may not yet be making a salary commensurate with that, says Melancon.

'Some companies realise that and offer assistance in paying off student loans or assist in furthering your education,' he says. 'Do they have programs that allow you to continue your education? Understanding the company's point of view on education -- past and future -- as well as how it implements that POV in benefits is important.'

3. 'How does the company keep employees excited, innovative, and motivated?'

Companies have a vested interest in keeping their employees 'on top of their game.' How does this company do it? 'Financial benefits such as profit sharing, merit raises, and spot bonuses can be powerful motivators,' says Melancon. 'But non-financial benefits such as extra days off, Summer Fridays, free meals, happy hours, and company outings are all culture-driven ways that companies keep employees feeling motivated and excited.'

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