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Don’t Ask These 5 Questions During a Job Interview


We spend a lot of time thinking about how to answer the questions that hiring managers are likely to ask during interview. Equally important? The questions you’ve prepared prior to the meeting.

interview questions 

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1. “What does your company do?”

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“One of the most important things you need to arrive armed with is knowledge of the company you’re applying to intern or work for,” writes Alicia Thomas on Her Campus. “Employers assume that you know important information about them, like their mission statement and the head of their company. Asking this question indicates that you didn’t take the time to research those things, which sends a message to the employer that you don’t care.”

A quick search on the internet will tell you everything you need to know to look like you belong at the table, from who runs the company to how much you can expect to be paid for working there.

2. “Can I do this job from home?”

Alison Doyle of’s Job Searching site says that companies usually list telecommuting as a benefit right in the job description. If it’s not there, don’t ask.

3. “How much vacation do I get?”

That’s a question for later in the interview process, once they love you and want you to take the job. Asking this question right up front makes it look like you’re already dreaming of time away from the office.

4. “Do I need to work overtime?”

The answer to this question will generally be “yes” — and anyway, you can get a sense of the corporate culture during your research ahead of time. If you need more information than you can glean through the internet, you can approach this question sideways by asking how the department is structured and what an average day at the company is like.

5. “What’s the salary for this job?”

Again, you can get a sense of the range by researching the company and job title online, but don’t ask this question early in the interview process — it’s premature, and can shut down productive conversation about the position.

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.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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John Cowan
John Cowan

In tech, it’s quite common for companies not to really explain publicly what they do, or to do it in terms that make sense only to people in that sub-sector. I wouldn’t ask a major public company this, but a startup? Sure.


Here are some questions they shouldn’t be asking you:


After 10-15 years in an industry, doing specialized work, many job changes are fairly horizontal, with regard to salary and duties. Vacation time is a big reason to change jobs, or not to.


Not really true. In the software field, overtime is a giant red flag about how bad a company is. Most good software companies realize that long hours are actually counterproductive. The best ones often offer flexible hours.

Salary and benefits (including vacation) should be asked some time in the interview. Probably around the end. Someone could also ask possible career direction and how much money they’d expect to make on a promotion… it shows some level of ambition. It’s horrible for both sides when they realize that their expectations don’t match.

Kenny C
Kenny C

What’s wrong with asking about telecommuting up front? If enough people asked for it and if the jobs can be done equally well from home then the company ought to be thinking about implementing such a program. 


Never ever have I seen information regarding what salary I can expect to
be published anywhere that is easily accessible to the public. Even the
job offers that I get are 90% of the time listed as ‘negotiable’. 
Maybe you’re right that it is not something that should be covered early
in the interview, but not for the reasons stated here.


One thing I usually ask is ‘Is there any overtime readily available?”  because I love working overtime. Would this be considered a faux paus too?

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