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The No. 1 job interview question every candidate should be asking right now, according to a recruiting pro

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Without a crystal ball, you can't predict if — and when — you might lose your job.

2023 kicked off with massive layoffs in Big Tech, finance, real estate and beyond, leading some economists to warn that a "white-collar recession" is on the horizon.

Newer employees are often among the first to be targeted for job cuts by companies in a recession following the popular "last in, first out" approach. 

If you're in the market for a new role, you might be worried about what this means for you — but asking the right questions during a job interview can tell you a lot about the security of the role and the company. 

Bert Bean is the CEO of Insight Global, one of the largest IT staffing firms in the U.S., where he has been advising managers and candidates alike on how to navigate the tumultuous job market. 

A job interview, he says, is the best tool you can use to suss out the stability of a company and security of the specific role you've applied to.

You just need to ask the interviewer one question: "How close is this role going to be to the core functions of what the company does, and would I be working on projects that are mission critical, or closer to revenue?" 

The answer should reveal what the company's priorities are right now and how closely the job aligns with those objectives. If the role is on a newer, experimental team, or in a department that's been struggling, that could be a red flag, Bean says. 

"Whenever times get tough and business leaders face increased pressure to meet their revenue goals, they're going to do whatever they can to not cut the people that are helping them hit those numbers," Bean explains. "That's why we're seeing so many recruiters get laid off at tech companies for example, because those jobs are not seen as mission critical to keep the business afloat." 

You should also pay close attention to how a hiring manager treats you throughout the application process: Does it seem like they are excited to bring you on board, or does hiring seem like a chore for them? Do they follow up with candidates in a timely fashion, or do you need to reach out three times before you get a response? 

"Be cautious … These are all signs of an apathetic company culture," Bean says. "And that's not a good place to be."

Check out:

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