If you're searching for a new job, here are five questions you should ask any company you're considering working for:
1. "As hard as it is, I think it's important for managers to transition people out if they're not the right fit. When is the last time the company fired someone for performance-related reasons?"
I've never heard a candidate ask this and I bet I never will, but they should. How many times have you had your quality of life destroyed or your effectiveness diminished by someone who the company obviously should have fired but who instead was allowed to languish on? Just as you want to work for a company that will reward great performance, you also want to work for a company that will get rid of people if they deserve to be fired.
2. "What's the biggest obstacle the person in this position will face?"
3. "How will the success of the person in this position be measured?"
4. "Thinking to the person who you've seen do this job best, what made their performance so outstanding?"
5. "How would you describe the culture of the organization?"
The "right" answers to questions 2-5 depend on what you're looking for in your job search, but you'll definitely learn information you might not otherwise glean about what you'd be signing up for if you took the job. Plus, if your interviewer is competent, he or she will be thrilled that you're asking, because you'll be showing a level of thoughtfulness and engagement that many candidates don't display.