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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.

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.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

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.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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Steve
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Steve

Hmmm. Many experts have indicated that salary should not be discussed in an interview. Then the next expert suggest you should discuss salary. Perhaps what makes us an expert is the mistakes we make and hopefully learn from plus the knowledge we learn from years being in the particular field. Recently went through an interview. In the initial greetings and small talk I had with the interviewers (3) all of my prepared questions were answered. Upon the conclusion of the interview the potential employers asked if I had any questions. I think my response surprised them. I had no questions… Read more »

Harriet
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Harriet

My experience has been that asking a recruiter about the pay range, when asked in a respectful manner, is perfectly fine. There can be a wide variation in the pay range for even a single position, with the bottom of the range sometimes being tens of thousands of dollars less than the upper end of the range. And most employers, in my experience, prefer to bring people in in the lower half of the pay range for a given position, allowing time for future salary growth within the position. How much an employer will actually offer, should they decide a… Read more »

Seasoned
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Seasoned

Asking the salary in a first interview is like going on a date and asking to go all the way. There is a political “dance” going on and they want to see if you let them do the leading. Sorry, but that’s interviewing correctly and proper protocol is never ask salary on first or second meetings-phone or otherwise. After they share with you the job details and they begin talking about you coming onboard or make you an offer, then you have the position of power to negotiate. That’s what it’s about-playing the dance and seeing if you’re s good… Read more »

Tabatha
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Tabatha

I think it’s fine to ask about salaries. I don’t know how many times they have asked me, so why can’t I ask them? I tell my clients to submit to jobs where that type of stuff is clear in the posting. We all know that they are all about negotiating, so why not tell them. I’m on the fence about the benefits. I know I kind of want to know upfront. I would really hate to drive to a hiring appointment to find out that I don’t get a 401K. That is a waste of my time and gas.… Read more »

Susan
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Susan

I am astounded how many people commenting here cannot spell, type or even proof their comment. That makes you look unintelligent and lazy.

JD & Company
Guest
JD & Company

My advice for job applicants is never apply for any position that does not clearly indicate a salary range or grade level. Never apply for a position on-line that requires going through Teleo software. That is an instant black hole, and after you upload your resume, you will still need to complete a job history. Both or either of these conditions from a potential employer should suggest a red flag. You will only waste time and become frustrated. Get a good job, or at least a better job by networking.

Volker
Guest
Volker

Salary question on both sides: they ask, you should ask. Neither they nor you want to waste time (their time is no more valuable than your time). I had people fly me to other continents only to find out they are totally uninformed what the position in question needs to pay (off by factor 2). Such basic questions (salary range) should actually be covered in a phone interview or email exchange prior to an in person interview. Keep in mind: there are dumb job applicants out there, but there are also dumb hiring people. I like: – why is position… Read more »

Abdo
Guest
Abdo

I am little confused :
i had interview this afternoon and when the interviewer asked if i have question i asked him this questions:
– what is policy of the company ?
– how many candidates applied for this job ?
– have you ever laid off people from your company ?
– in the end I asked him if he has more questions for me ?

and one more thing when he asked me about salary and shift :
i told him i don’t care about salary and shift all i need is have job which can share and improve my skills and gain more experiences

Greg
Guest
Greg

The interview almost always includes a question about your current salary. The company doesn’t want to waste time if they can’t pay you. Shouldn’t you be afforded the same courtesy? If the company isn’t offended by your questions on salary, you know they are employee considerate, and a good place to work.

Eli
Guest
Eli

Isn’t it ridiculous that you should never ask about the pay? Most people only do jobs to get paid. Do you think we would have any people in boring professions like Law, Banking or Accountancy if they did it for the love of the job?

Pete
Guest
Pete

I wonder how so many of these people can post WHY they did not get a job. I have never had that type of feedback from an interviewer/hiring manager.

Vivian
Guest
Vivian

A lot depends on whether you are looking a life or a job.I have worked for a couple of big Corporations.They promise a lot and expect a lot more. Your life belong to them, no consideration for your family or you if it comes time for you to collect what is due you the pressure and harassment is unbearble. Is it worth your soul

Marcy
Guest
Marcy

I didn’t find this to very helpful.

Derek
Guest
Derek

Of course, if you play by all of the rules during the job interview, I would imagine you might not actually have anything to offer. Any potential employer who would give up on a prospect do easily guarantees themselves a batch of mediocre employees at best.

Katlego
Guest
Katlego

Great article.

May I use it in our Graduate Career Booklet that we distribute to our graduates and finalists as part preparation for the world of work?

Rob
Guest
Rob

Great article. Thank you for posting. I feel there are plenty of websites now that will give you an idea of how much you are going to make in the position you are applying for:

– Glassdoor
– Payscale

I feel it is important to sell yourself as someone who is completely interested and passionate about the position in which you are applying for and make the employer bring up the salary first. It also puts you in a great position when the time comes to negotiate your salary.

Good Luck,

Rob

Hanine
Guest
Hanine

Nowadays it’s all about salary!!! You have the right to ask in a professional matter of course. Who wants to walk out of an interview not knowing if working there is going to be worth it?! Or how much are you going to pay me???!!! I’d toss and turn all
night and it’ll drive me crazy!

Peter
Guest
Peter

From the comments, the grammar, and the spelling from the people who responded above I would be very surprised if ANY of them found a job. Idiots

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

This was a waste of time.

Madinah
Guest
Madinah

This Article no is True ! … Dont’t are deceiving the people You can ask for the salary is profesioanal to ask. Also every one is diferent so the human resourses knoe about and you can ask wherever you conciderate to ask of course some cuestion maybe will be inapropiate but is your own satisfaction.

mike
Guest
mike

Stupid article

James
Guest
James

I think salary is an important issue to address early in the process. I used to avoid this question when I was less experienced (and had less options), but now I find it better addressed at the beginning of the interview process to avoid wasting everyone’s time if the proposed salary is “not in the ballpark.”

alex
Guest
alex

I once explained to a prospective employer that I am highly motivated in getting things accomplished and need little or no supervision. I did not get the job, because they thought that I do not want to listen to my authority/boss figures.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Both #5 and #8 ONLY apply if you are not working and you are desperate for a job. If you already have a job, and you are looking for, particularly more money and benefits, then these are both fair questions. My job interview advice…. they either like you or they don’t.. and if they don’t… on to the next interview!

Alan
Guest
Alan

#5. Nonsense! You should definitely be careful with this subject. But if in an early interview the company breaks the ice by asking what your desired salary is and what your current salary is you most definitely have the initiative to ask what they want to pay for the position.

This seems to be a popular sorting question for employers and sends a clear message to the applicant what their values are as well.

Tip for employers: Stop asking this question if you don’t want it turned around on you.

Phuck
Guest
Phuck

blah, blah, blah. Know somebody.

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

My top question is: How long does it take to get up to speed in this job?
Alternatively, what would you anticipate is the time of the learning curve for this job?

My second question: what do you envision as my chief accomplishments in the next three months? (or 6 months).

Cash
Guest
Cash

I agree with all the above but if you ask the interviewer intelligent questions about the job like FTE’s, retation,PPD and food cost to the interviewer they says to you don’t know and will have the person you will be replacing give you a call how do you handle that or are being blow off and a nice way.

Cash
Guest
Cash

I agree with all the above but if you ask the interviewer intelligent questions about the job like FTE’s, retation,PPD and food cost to the interviewer they says to you don’t know and will have the person you will be replacing give you a call how do you handle that or are being blow off and a nice way.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I always want to know why the position is vacant or soon to be so. I don’t always get an honest answer, but it is an important question to me. Sometimes it is easier to ask questions around the corporate culture and team culture to get a feel for work life balance or opinions on things like the ability to work from home where necessary.

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I think #10 is fine because I think it’s important to see if there is a possibility for you to cross train or be promoted from within. If they say no, then you know that it’s not the company for you. The question that I’m over is, “When do I start?” or “How long until I get your job?” I do tell my Vets to not ask anything about background or drug screenings because they will let you know that anyways and if they have a problem with their background they will discover it on their own, don’t tell them… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Asking about the company is a lot different than reading about it in the media or the public relations that the company provides. The oral exchange gives some indication as to the how the public image matches the employee image.

Gloria
Guest
Gloria

I would like to know how to handle questions about previous employment that did not end variably. I know it is not good to play the blame game, but how much detail is need? Do you not include that work experience? What do you do?

Cindy Bandur
Guest
Cindy Bandur

I like to know how long key people have been with the company? Says a lot if there appears to be a high turnover rate, especially in critical roles.

Ginny
Guest
Ginny

These are very common sense. If candidate needs to be told NOT to ask these questions, they are not someone I would want working for me in the first place.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I always like asking : “How do you like working here? And have you been happy with your career development?” Because if they don’t like working there or see no future in their career I probably won’t either.

George
Guest
George

3. “What is the average time in the role for the next level?” This is a perfectly fine question if phrased as “what is a typical career path for people hired into this position?” followed up by “what qualities make a person successful and able to expand their contributions?” 12. “Don’t ask about a high profile exit or stock market results or anything that is controversial.” There’s a time and a place for this, and a right phrasing, such as “How has the company handled the unexpected departure of the CEO?” or “The company’s stock has suffered for a few… Read more »

Diane
Guest
Diane

A couple of questions I have read are appropriate to ask: “What is a typical day like for the employee in this position?” “Why did the previous employee leave this position?”

Dale
Guest
Dale

Hello. How about a follow up on, The top 5 questions you would considerf asking & the impact of asking nothing can have.

Thx,
Dale

Naz
Guest
Naz

I find this article pretty dumb. As an applicant, you should be able to tell during the interview which questions will be welcomed and responded to and which will lead you to the door out. If you can’t figure this then you need to be in school getting your resume redone. Having said that, all the following are relevant Qs to ask during an interview: 1. Salary range? 2. Reason for vacancy? 3. Who will be mentoring you in the position? 4. Probation period? 5. Can you speak with the supervisor? 6. How long has the supervisor been on the… Read more »

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