11 Questions You Should Not Ask at Interviews

Toward the close of the interview, your interviewer might give you an opening to ask any questions you may have. This is a great opportunity to sound intelligent, prepared, and excited about the role. This is a good chance to impress the interviewer with your homework and understanding of the role and the organization. An unprepared question, on the other hand, could completely nullify your candidacy.

money where your mouth is

(Photo Credit: Danielle Moler/Flickr)

Here are a few questions you should avoid asking at all costs.

1. Can you tell me something about the company?

This clearly shows that you haven’t done your research. If you get to the interview table and still don’t know about the company, you are just not keen on knowing about the place you want to work in.

2. Anything that was already answered in the job description.

First read the job description. I have had people ask me questions about people management, when the job clearly states that it will be an individual contributor role.

3. What is the average time in the role for the next level?

No, this does not say that you are driven or ambitious, it just comes across as saying you are in a hurry, and maybe hierarchical. You need to prove yourself first in the role you are applying to.

4. Is there a medical/drug test?

Even if there isn’t, you’ve now raised their suspicion. Why would you be curious to know about this?

5. What is the salary? 

You will typically be told the salary range at the start of your candidature. Don’t be in a rush. Asking too many monetary questions — whether current role related or future — is a flag to employers. It sends across a message that you are in it for the wrong reasons.

6. How do you handle poor performance?

Unless this is a contextual question, i.e. you are in HR or are a performance management expert, this question should not be asked at interviews. You do not want the interviewer to think that you are overly concerned about poor performance. The next doubt in their heads will be around your performance.

7. When will you be calling my references?

Either you’ve rigged your references or you are too eager to join. You don’t have to share information about your references until after your employer has asked you for them.

8. What are the benefits? 

There’s time for negotiation and it’s definitely not during the interview. Don’t rush this discussion. Wait until after you’ve been made an offer.

9. What is your internet usage policy?

However important this may be to you, asking this question at the interview will raise a red flag about your work ethic. Would you rather use social media than work? Why would the company’s email monitoring policy affect you?

10. Are there any internal job opportunities?

You are applying for the job you are interviewing for, not future jobs that may open up, so don’t spend time talking about future opportunities when you are not even sure you’ve got the current job.

11. Any information that the company may not be comfortable sharing.

Don’t ask about a high profile exit or stock market results or anything that is controversial. It will make the interviewer uncomfortable, and that won’t help your candidature.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the worst question you’ve ever heard in a job interview? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.