Applying for new jobs and going for interviews can be a stressful experience for many people. There’s often a lot riding on the outcome, whether someone’s out of work and facing financial difficulties, dreams of climbing the career ladder, or has just had enough of their present position and needs a change. Interviews allow the employer and applicant to see if they are a good fit for each other, with both sides able to ask questions. The interviewee’s questions aren’t always harmless; some can ruin any chance of being offered a job. To put you in the best position of success, dodge common pitfalls and avoid asking the following questions.
1. How Much is the Salary?
Asking about pay can make it seem that a candidate only cares about finding money rather than genuinely being interested in the position they’ve applied for. Save salary questions until a later part of the recruitment process.
2. What Benefits Will I Get?
As with salary, discussing employment benefits, such as PTO, sick days, bonuses, gym membership, and similar benefits, may signal that you’re primarily interested in what you can get rather than what you can bring to the table. Although essential factors to consider before accepting a position, benefits should be discussed if a candidate is successfully offered a position.
3. What Does the Job Involve?
Asking basic questions about the job role can suggest that an interviewee applied on a whim and needs to learn what the job is about. An interviewer may then conclude that the applicant isn’t suitable for the position.
4. What Does the Company Do?
A little research can go a long way when scoring a job, and many companies have detailed information publicly available on their websites. The interview isn’t the time for candidates to look like they didn’t care enough to do their homework.
5. Are There Other Jobs Available?
Inquiring about other openings at the interview can make it appear that the interviewee isn’t serious about the role they applied for. Those conducting the interview might bypass such candidates in favor of potential employees who appear more committed and dedicated to the job in question.
6. When Can I apply for a Promotion?
Similarly, while knowing advancement opportunities are useful, asking about promotion at the interview can suggest that a person isn’t bothered about that particular job and is just looking for a foot through the door. Once in post, it’s helpful for people to create a good image and prove their abilities before considering climbing the career ladder.
7. Does the Job Offer Remote Working?
Although work-from-home and remote working positions are desirable, companies often want to know that an applicant is dedicated enough to come to a physical workplace. Plus, advertisements often say whether has position can be performed from other locations. Unless it’s a complete dealbreaker for an individual, it’s better to leave negotiations about the place of work until after an employment contract has been signed.
8. Will You Check References?
It’s only natural that a prospective employer will want to know more about people before trusting them to join the company. Without a good reason, asking whether the company will follow up with references could indicate that the applicant has something to hide. Interviewers may assume a wide range of issues, such as poor timekeeping, dishonesty, laziness, and lack of knowledge or skills.
9. Will You Do a Background Check?
Unless an interviewee has something to hide, performing a background check should rarely be a problem. Asking this question in a job interview can look shifty and make employers run for the hills. After all, if someone was upfront, honest, and clean, why would they worry about a background check?
10. Is This a Good Place to Work?
This question could indicate doubt about a company and the people who work there. Introducing negative aspects into an interview can be a major turn-off for a potential employee, adversely impacting the opinion of a potential employee and leading interviewers to think that a job applicant wouldn’t be committed.
11. Is the Dress Code Flexible?
Like asking about benefits and pay, this is another question that can look as though a job hopeful is only interested in themselves and not the company image and policies. Interviewers may worry that an individual can’t follow basic rules and would be a workplace rebel when faced with this question.
12. Shall We Grab Lunch?
Appearing too familiar, casual, and over-friendly at an interview can be a red flag for interviewers. It may indicate arrogance, nervousness, or cockiness, none of which are sought-after qualities when recruiting for a vacancy.
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Andrew Herrig is a finance expert and money nerd and the founder of Wealthy Nickel, where he writes about personal finance, side hustles, and entrepreneurship. As an avid real estate investor and owner of multiple businesses, he has a passion for helping others build wealth and shares his own family’s journey on his blog.
Andrew holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has worked as a financial analyst and accountant in many aspects of the financial world.
Andrew’s expert financial advice has been featured on CNBC, Entrepreneur, Fox News, GOBankingRates, MSN, and more.