Say What? Questions Not to Ask in a Job Interview

Posted: 08/08/2010 in Interviewing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

While it’s important to ask questions in a job interview to make it a mutual exchange, get more info, and show interest, there are some questions that aren’t a good idea to ask. Here are a few:

  • How many sick days would I get? – Once you’ve had an offer, it’s okay to ask about benefits as part of the negotiation process, but you don’t want to ask about that stuff until then. It makes it look like that’s all you care about. And of course, if you ask about sick days, it’ll imply that you need them because, well, you’re sick.
  • Who was that hunk in the lobby? – I know you wouldn’t really ask that, would you? Of course you wouldn’t.
  • Where are you from? I can’t quite place the accent. Believe it or not, sometimes clueless employers ask these kind of questions. You certainly don’t want to be the idiot applicant who asks them.
  • I didn’t have time for lunch. Do you mind if I eat my sandwich while we’re talking? You do want to establish rapport in an interview and have a conversation rather than an interrogation, but chomping on your Chicken McNuggets won’t exactly bowl over the employer.
  •  How flexible is your company on the 8:00 a.m. thing? Now, many companies do have flex time, and you may need to be aware of their policies around it (once you have an offer) if you have kids, an insomniac dog, or an alternate vampire identity, but otherwise, well, don’t ask.
  • Has your company ever been sued? It’s a good idea to sniff around Google to find out as much info on them as you can, as well as to discover any dirt on them that would make you run for the hillocks, but it isn’t a question to actually ask them. I mean really, it’s just rude.
  • What other jobs are available here? Even if you’d give your left nostril to work for that company and are possibly interested in positions similar to the one for which you’re interviewing, you don’t want to sound like you’re not interested in that one. If it’s clearly not a fit and you decide not to pursue it, in your thank-you letter you can always ask at that point if there are any other open positions that would be a better match. If you ask in the interview, it’s kind of like asking your date if he has a single brother. 
  1. Randy Pena says:

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

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