Don’t Ask These Questions!

By Joe Stein

It is a classic Job Seeker error…
 
A Job Seeker will spend considerable time preparing for any question that an Interviewer might present. At the same time, little or no time will be spent developing questions of your own to ask.
 
Don’t be this person! Spend time researching and preparing for meaningful questions that will not only provide valuable information, but also impress the Interviewer. Asking good questions will serve to display your strong communication skills, and demonstrate your interest in the position and company. In no situation, is it appropriate to inform the Interviewer that you do not have any questions, unless you have decided you already do not have any interest in the position.
 
The old saying is there is no such thing as a dumb question, but the items below stretch that point-of-view. 
 
·         Do I Need To Take a Test? – It does not matter if you are referring to a Criminal Background Check, Credit Check, DrugScreen, or Reference Check - all of these are not to be asked by you in an interview. By asking this question, the Interviewer may assume you have something to hide and will not “pass” a test. Wait for the Hiring Manager or Recruiter to inform you of what will be required. 
 
·         When Will I Be Promoted? – This may cause the Interviewer to assume that you are truly not interested in the currently open position. Or, that you will be bored in a short-period of time. Or, that you have a large ego and a sense of entitlement. None of these will be good for your candidacy. Finally, if you really want to make the conversation awkward, mention how you would like the Hiring Manager’s job someday.
 
·         Does It Matter If I Have (Insert Medical or Personal Situation)? – Asking a question like this, will automatically shift a positive part of the conversation to something that is more negative. This question may also cause the Interviewer to feel uncomfortable…feeling that they are being placed on the spot to commit to something or being set-up to say the wrong thing.
 
·         Will I Need To Work Overtime or Extra Hours? – This is one where you should be prepared to answer honestly (if asked) but will serve to place you in an extremely negative light if you present it yourself. By asking yourself, you will come across as negative and perhaps only willing to do the minimum (even if that is not true and not your purpose for the question). If you must know this early in the process, ask the question (instead) by inquiring about the daily/weekly responsibilities of the position. This should give you a sense of what kind of time commitment will be needed.
 
·         How Much Time-Off Will I Get? – The Interviewer will most likely question your interest in both the position and working overall. A Hiring Manager wants you to be excited about the potential opportunity, not thinking about how early you can get some time off. Once you receive the job offer is when you should ask questions regarding policies like this (unless the prospective employer informs you earlier on their own).
 
·         Why Did The Last Person Leave? – This one really places the Hiring Manager on the spot because: 1) if it was a voluntary departure, then they have to explain why the person left, and 2) if it was involuntary, then they can’t talk about it. I recommend, instead, just asking if this is a newly created position. At that point, the Hiring Manager will take you where they want to go (within their comfort level) with the question.
 
·         What Does Your Company Do? – This basic information should already be known to you by your research, prior to the interview. An elementary question like this will be a clear signal that you did not expend much effort preparing for the interview.
 
·         How Much Does This Job Pay? – You do not want to be the one who initiates the money discussion. In due time, the Recruiter or Hiring Manager will provide you with information regarding pay - for hourly positions, it is usually right before it is thrown to you for questions. You do not want to give the impression that money is all you are thinking about (even though it may be).
  
It is a terrible Job Seeker nightmare…you ace every question presented to you by the Interviewer, and then you draw a blank when it is time to ask questions. Don’t be this person! Prepare to ask the right questions and avoid the ones listed above. 
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.