Job interviews provide an important opportunity to discover if you and your new employer will be a good match before you leap into a new position.

Not only are they interviewing you, but also you’re interviewing them! Will you be happy in their employ? Think about what information matters to you and find tactful ways to ask your interviewer what you need to know.

Important Information to Collect at a Job Interview

1. Learn about the organizational culture. Organizational culture gets discussed a lot because it’s so fundamental to figuring out if you and that new company are compatible. Maybe you like a structured environment or perhaps you prefer being part of a start up venture. This is your opportunity to find out more about the company.

2. Assess your chances for job satisfaction. Know what makes you tick. Are your priorities geared towards helping others or opportunities for advancement? Some people are content with a position so long as it enables them to pursue outside interests.

3. Tune into your potential supervisor’s objectives. Your supervisor’s work style and goals will likely play a big role in your working life. Listen carefully to pick up on what qualities they value and how they communicate and resolve conflicts.

4. Consider your career path. Plan ahead for your future. Figure out where you want to be in 5 to 10 years so you’ll know if you’re taking steps to get there with this position.

5. Nail down the compensation package. Get familiar with the salary range for the position in question, but try to avoid discussing specifics until you know they want to hire you. When you reach that point, you can talk about the details.

Tactful Methods for Gathering Information

1. Clarify your objectives. Know your top priorities and stick to relevant subjects. It will make the best use of the limited time you get during the interviewing process.

2. Create a two-way exchange. View interviews as a conversation between two parties rather than an audition where you’re trying to impress the other side. You’re likely to feel more relaxed and perform better.

3. Do your research. Go online and talk with people in your network to study the company and position you’re interested in. That way you’ll ask informed questions that show the interviewer your relevant skills and elicit meaningful responses.

4. Ask open-ended questions. Go beyond inquiries that can be answered with a yes or no. Encourage stories and concrete examples like how a major challenge got handled or describing why someone was recognized as employee of the month.

5. Follow up on points that your interviewer raises. Develop rapport with your interviewer by using their questions as a guide. After you answer, ask them for feedback or suggest a related subject.

6. Be direct. Sometimes we make comments that lead people to give us the answers we want to hear rather than the unvarnished truth. Try to remain neutral so your interviewer will feel free to tell you how much travel to really expect instead of inadvertently minimizing or modifying the numbers to match your wishes.

7. Take careful notes. Go in prepared with written questions so you’ll look professional and remember to cover everything. Jot down essential points so you can review them afterwards.

8. Get multiple perspectives. Chat with the receptionist to get a feel for the office. Ask your interviewer for the opportunity to meet your future co-workers. Someone in your network may know an employee or former employee.

Use your job interviews to get all the facts you need to determine if the job is right for you as well as selling yourself. A wise employer will appreciate you taking the initiative to get the information you need to evaluate a new position.