The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

5 questions not to ask at interview (And more!)

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Bad questions

Towards the end of an interview, almost every employer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Job applicants should put just as much thought into asking questions as they do answering questions. Whether you intend it or not, each question you ask has the potential to reflect your knowledge of the company, your interest in the position, and your work ethic.

That’s why it’s important take the time to come up with thoughtful questions for each interview. Here’s a list of interview questions to ask the employer you can use as a starting point for creating your own list of questions.

Last week, I blogged about the good questions candidates ask. This week, I thought it only fair to look at which questions definitely not to ask at interview.

1. What is the salary for this position?
Do not ask this question on a first interview. If you know that you will refuse a job that pays less than a certain amount, you can state the amount in your cover letter. However, if you are even somewhat flexible regarding salary, it is best not to discuss compensation until you are offered a position. Wait until the appropriate time. Sooner or later, they will want to know how much you want to earn. Don’t ask until the interviewer raises the subject. If you do, you risk looking greedy and motivated by the wrong things.

2. What does your company do?

Errr….. Should you have checked the website before you accepted the interview offer? Avoid asking any questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand on the company website. These questions demonstrate that you have not done your research, and imply that you are not interested in the position.

3. When can I take time off for vacation?
Do not discuss previous commitments before being offered a position. Asking about time off before getting a job offer implies that you are not going to be a fully committed employee.

4. How many hours will I be expected to work each work? Will I need to work on weekends? WHen do I get holiday?
Questions about hours and extra work imply that you are hoping to work as little as possible. A better question would be, “What is a typical workday like?” The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours.

5. Did I get the job?

This question puts employers on the spot and makes you appear impatient. Instead, you could ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. For example, you can ask, “Do you generally do multiple rounds of interviews with job candidates?” However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information before the end of the interview.

And a few more, for good measure:

  • What is the astrological sign of the company president?
  • Can I see the break room?
  • How late can I be to work without getting fired?
  • How long is lunch?
  • Can I bring my dog to work?
  • Will I have to take a drug test?
  • Does this company monitor Internet usage?
  • How many warnings do you get before you are fired?

Written by Cathy Richardson

February 17, 2014 at 10:11 am

Posted in Recruitment

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