It’s a common interview tactic to ask if you, the applicant, have any questions that you’d like ask the hiring employer. While this seems like an opportunity to find out more about the potential new job, you must proceed with caution. An initial interview isn’t the place for you to negotiate or evaluate your employment prospects. Rather, any questions you ask should serve the purpose of making you look more attractive to the hiring company.
Knowing that, here are five interview topics that will land your résumé squarely in the “Do Not Hire” pile:
Asking about salary/benefits
There’s a time and a place to negotiate compensation. That time and place is after an offer has been extended. Not only will you be negotiating from a position of strength (they want to hire you, rather than you being one of many applicants), but asking about what you’ll be making during the interview comes off arrogant, like you’ve already landed the job they’re supposed to be offering you.
Asking for special arrangements
This is another question that indicates you’re getting ahead of yourself. Plenty of employees need to make arrangements to take care of their children or accommodate something in their life. Asking about it in an interview, however, makes it seem like you’re preoccupied with your personal life in a situation where you should be going all out to land the job. This could indicate to your employer that you have issues balancing your personal and professional issues. Similarly, asking to telecommute so early comes off as asking for special treatment before you’ve earned it.
Asking about anything that can be Googled
This is an interview, not a guided tour. If you’re serious about a job, you should have done your research, and any questions you have should be ones that you can’t find on the “About” page on a company’s website. Instead, try questions specific to the experience of working at that company, the sort of questions that only an employee (like your interviewer) could answer.
Just about everyone has met a small child or seen one on TV that asks a never-ending series of “why?” questions. Just as it’s reductive and annoying then, “why” questions can put interviewers on the defensive in a professional interview. Contextualizing your questions not only softens the blow to make you seem less demanding, it makes you look like you did your homework before coming in for the interview.
“Do you check job candidates’ social media?”
This is a very bad question. You should always keep your social media pages clean and professional, and privacy settings allow you to control who sees those. But asking about social media monitoring makes you sound like you have something to hide. If you do have something to hide, don’t draw attention to it; remove it from your social media as soon as possible.
Don’t let silly questions cost you a potential job. Learn how we can help you navigate interviews like a season pro, and get in touch with one of our staffing experts today.