Questions You Should Not Ask in a Job Interview


b2It’s a job interview – that much awaited slot that you have been hoping for. It may be run for just 30 minutes or extend into a couple of hours, but during the process there comes a point when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Recruitment experts say this is often a make-or-break moment in the entire hiring process, especially for senior positions. Most interviewers rely on your answer and these few minutes to distinguish your candidature from others. In short, it is that golden chance when you can demonstrate your insight into the organization’s philosophy, display your industry knowledge and most importantly communicate your commitment & motivation. But sometimes candidates lose the opportunity by asking questions that are either obvious or irrelevant.

The questions that you should avoid when it’s your turn to ask:

• Never ask something that is available online. Question like “When was the company established?” or “What’s the turnover of the company?” top the list in terms of what the interviewer expects you to know. Information that shows up when you Google Search the company and its management team are the minimum reading list before you head into an interview.

• Express your desire to grow, but do not amend the job description. You just received your run-down on the responsibilities, co-workers, training, or departmental policies of the role in question. The ‘does it also include’ series that expands the role or seeks to create a better fit with your profile are best left for after you come on board and test the waters.

• Avoid outright questions about the pay package, time off, or benefits. Salary is one giant question on every candidate’s mind, but it’s also one that you should not be the first to ask about. Wait for the offer or a direct question around expectations to begin your discussion on monetary benefits. Working hours & leave policies are obvious no-no’s!

• Hold back questions that you thought of too late. Questions that come after the opening give away your anxiety and make you appear uncertain. If you have missed out, let it ride. The classic fishing questions as you leave the room like “Do I get the job? / Will I be hearing from you?’ are also best avoided. Even, if you feel you must know!

• Stay away from pessimism on what the company is not doing. While it’s important to have a constructive suggestion or two questions that assume the worst and come across as superior (Do you have only 15 people in the Mumbai office?) will do irreparable harm, if you have a question that is phrased negatively. It probably needs a re-think. In a first, or even second meeting with you, the recruitment consultant wants to hear what you can do right, not what you think the company is doing wrong.

Interviews can be as engaging as you want them to be. Turn your only guaranteed meeting with a representative of the company into your best introduction with well-thought out questions rather than the ones best avoided!

The trick is to be sure that everything you ask is appropriate from an interview perspective. Have more to add to the list of questions to be avoided during an interview? Feel free to put it up on the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “Questions You Should Not Ask in a Job Interview

  1. Questions on Company growth plans, how leaders are developed, how performance parameters are laid out are very encouraging and engaging questions. Panel likes such constructive dialogue. its a very good reflection of an engaged interviewee/candidate.
    On the contrary: do not ask what is the company expectation from the ideal candidate or what is the overall feedback of the interviewer. it reflects candidate’s lack of maturity and insecurity.

    1. @Rishi: Good suggestions! Anything that facilitates a constructive dialogue about the company is welcomed by interviewing panel.

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