The 3 Most Awkward Questions You Can Ask Your Interviewer

Want to embarrass yourself at your next job interview? Ask the wrong questions, instead of the right ones. There's no better way to look unprepared, disinterested, or disengaged in the hiring process. (OK, mispronouncing the name of the company, playing games on your phone, and bringing the cat with you are also right up there -- but then you're really making an effort at not making an effort.)

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(Photo Credit: Gratisography)

"In the first interview, you'll want to be sure to ask the right questions. Ask about the job and company; not questions that can come off as self-serving and give the impression you may not be a team player or be willing to give 100 percent," says Amy Hoover tells Business Insider. Hoover is president of the job site TalentZoo. "The sole purpose of the interview is to determine if you are a good fit for the company, and if it's a good fit for you. All the other issues and concerns should be addressed during negotiations after the job offer has been made."

So which questions should you never ask at the interview?

1. What does the company do?

Do your research ahead of time, so that you know about the company before the interview. Look at the organization's website, their page in PayScale's Research Center, and check their various social media accounts to get an idea of how they present themselves online. Google the company, to see if they've been in the news lately -- and for what.

2. What do you do here?

In the era of LinkedIn, there's no excuse for not knowing basic information about your interviewer. At the very least, you should know her title and role at the company, and any work history you can find online. Best-case scenario, you'll also have identified some common interests that you can use to forge a connection during the interview.

Just don't be creepy about it. Don't spend the whole interview waiting for a chance to spring on your hiring manager with proof that you should be BFFs. Let any connections happen organically.

3. Do I get the job?

Career counselors often advise job seekers to "close the deal" at the end of job interviews, and while this is good advice, the language some experts use might lead to believe that you should try to get a commitment out of the interviewer. In other words, you're not trying to put the hiring manager in a new car today; you're trying to express interest in the job and figure out what the next steps are.

So don't ask, "Am I hired?" Instead, go into the interview armed with knowledge and curiosity, ask engaged, intelligent questions during your meeting, and leave with a sense of when they might notify you with next steps.

Tell Us What You Think

What's the worst question you've ever asked -- or been asked -- in an interview? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


  1. 3 Mauritz 31 Jan
    Worst question for the position of salesperson - the interviewer asked me to sell him the product the company was making. Within the first three sentences - he interrupted to point out that something I said about the product was technically incorrect.....
  2. 2 John Hooper 05 Jun

    I always ask if they know my who my father is.

  3. 1 Rebecca 04 Jun

    Never ask what the salary when it hasn't been mentioend or outlined in the original ad. Personally, I think it's ridiculous that some employers are put off by that question but they are. This particular time I was at my second interview at the same place where salary had not been mentioned, so at the end of the second interview (which by all indications had gone VERY well) I asked if they could please tell me what the pay was. Right away I could see a change in at least two of the 3 people interviewing me. They visibly stiffened up - pursed lips and all. I didn't get the job and I know it was that exact moment when I asked about the salary it was off-putting to them. I had never asked any other self-serving questions like, vacations, lunch hours or anything else of that nature. But that one really turned them off. They did answer but were quite evasive in their reply. 


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