07/20/2012 06:22 pm ET Updated Sep 19, 2012

5 Pivotal Questions to Ask or Answer During the Hiring Process

We often see lists of questions the job seeker or applicant should ask during an interview or through out the hiring process, as well as lists of questions the interviewer or hiring manager should ask.

Maybe there is a better way.
Maybe they can work from the same list.

The following list was devised to prevent last minute candidate or applicant fall-out and control the spin of the interviewing and hiring process. Either side (interviewer or interviewee) can use this list to streamline the process and ask or answer pivotal questions.

1. Why the position is open? The job seeker should know whether or not this is a newly-created position or why the previous employee is no longer holding that position. Were they fired or let go? Did they quit? Were they promoted? Were they recruited to another company? Are there any residual hard feelings that may affect a new hire? These questions have important answers that should be shared with an invested candidate, from the beginning.

2. What are the challenges? Tell the applicant about any challenges that a new hire would face in this role. Has the job function recently expanded? Has the territory increased? Decreased? Did the last employee leave a mess behind? Is there sufficient administrative support? What type of management style will a new hire be reporting to? Transparency is imperative for retention.

3. What is the job like? Describe "a day in the life" for a new hire. Will the placement need to be a road warrior? What are the hours and days expected to work? What is the work space like? How often are there mandatory staff meetings? A candidate who knows the job is more likely to make a clear and educated decision about moving forward or backing out before the last hour.

4. What will be required? Divulge expectations for the new hire. What is expected for the first week? The first year? What will success look like for a new employee? How is that success measured? What would be considered outstanding? Allowing the candidate to really view and fully understand the job description eliminates not only issues at negotiation time but also the probability of having to redo a search at no additional fee, not to mention the time required.

5. Am I a fit for the job / culture / company? Expose any reservations about the applicant. Is the candidate less than enthusiastic about the position? Do they lack the required education? Will they fit in with the company culture? Is there a concern about personality clashes? A candidate deserves to know these things; these types of apprehensions do not just vanish into thin air. Again, this speaks to retention.

With both sides of the process in the know, a right decision is more likely to be made. And isn't that was everyone wants?