5 Questions to Skip During a Job Interview
Posted by Christina Hills on July 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM
“Do you have any questions?”
We’ve all been there. It’s the worst! I know that this is the moment I dread the most during a job interview. If I ask too many questions, will I look stupid or like I wasn’t paying attention? If I don’t ask any, do I look disinterested? But what about if I ask the wrong questions? Here are five questions you should never ask on a job interview. Steer clear of these and you’ll be acing every interview you go on!
1. Don’t ask: “What are the office hours?”
It’s a fact of life that 9-to-5 just isn’t cutting it anymore. Employees work long before (and after) they sit in their cubes. The average employee checks his email at 7:42 a.m. and doesn’t fully stop working until 7:19 p.m., says a recent study. So by asking about the hours, you’re showing the hiring manager that you only plan on working when you’re behind a desk, which is not a desirable trait.
Ask instead: “What kind of career development programs does your company offer?”
Just because you’re done with school, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. It demonstrates that you’re interested in improving your skills and knowledge base, to help both yourself and the company.
2. Don’t ask: “Who’s your competition?”
Your biggest rule-of-thumb: Don’t ask anything that’s Googleable. Instead, treat your interview like a homework assignment and do plenty of research before you shake your first hand or have the first phone call. In the eyes of employers, a lack of research means you’re not really serious about the position.
Ask instead: “What’s the typical career path from this position?”
You should always try to talk from a career standpoint because companies spend money on employee orientation and training and they want to make a good investment. So you know, they want to know that you’re staying with them for more than 18 months. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Don’t ask: “Do I get time off around the holidays?”
Umm, you didn’t even get the job yet and you’re already counting down the days until a break? Bad move. Focus on showing that you want to contribute to the company as much as you can—notspend time away from it. You can negotiate your time off after you get the job.
Ask instead: “Why did you decide to work for this company?”
The question proves you’re looking for more insight into whether or not the job is right for you. Before extending an offer, employers want to know that you’re confident you’ll mesh with the company both professionally and personally.
4. Don’t ask: “Can I borrow a pen?”
Three words: Come prepared, girl.
Ask instead: “Would it be okay if I take notes?”
Bring your résumé, paper, pen, a business card, and any examples of previous work that could help your case. Take plenty of notes so when you write your follow-up letter, you’ll have more than enough info to include. Plus: Before the interview, write down things that you want to remember during the meeting. This way you won’t panic and you’ll know exactly what you want to ask, and jot down any nervous habits that you have: “don’t fidget,” “slow down,” or “eye contact.”
5. Don’t Ask: Nothing!
A quiet candidate is a boring candidate.
Ask instead: Anything but the four questions above
There’s no rule that says you have to wait till the end to ask your questions. In fact, aim for a 50/50 split: Match each question you receive with one of your own. It’s a conversation, not interrogation!
What questions have you asked in interviews? If you work in HR, what questions do you like to be asked?