We all know, to be a successful candidate in an interview you need to be prepared. And being prepared includes having a list of questions that show your interest in the company. But, there are some red flag questions that interviewees should avoid asking at the risk of blowing it all.
A common instance in interviews is when the interviewer turns the table and says something like, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is your opportunity to ask smart questions that show you’ve done your research. Most employers would say, coming to an interview with no questions at all is frustrating and demonstrates lack of interest, so be prepared and ready to ask questions of interest.
Questions that include salary, vacation, perks, etc. can steer people in the wrong direction. These “red flag” questions can send the wrong message to hiring managers and show where you head is at with the position. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job warns to avoid red flag questions that could ultimately end your chance of being hired. “Your job interview could lead to a position that could change your life. So it’s worthwhile being prepared with good questions.” Let the hiring managers talk to you about these question
Here are some common questions you should avoid asking as the interviewee.
Anything about salary or compensation: A big pet peeve of employers is when a candidate asks about money. Take time to research the company and see what the average salary is for similar positions. If that’s not an option, research market averages so you are prepared if the interviewer asks you salary requirements. Best practice is to wait until you are approached with the salary question from the employer, not the other way around.
Benefits: This is another area where you should tread lightly. Leave it up to the employer to bring this up and instead ask questions about company culture, the position, etc.
“Tell me about the company?” This just start the conversation off on the wrong foot. As the interviewee, employers want to know you did your research before hand. “You should already be familiar with the company because we’re not in the Dark Ages … and there are typically endless research avenues on the web; not just their website, but via LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and general keyword searches,” Taylor says. If you ask these types of questions, it demonstrates your lack of interest and research in the position and company.
“Can I work from home or telecommute?” This is one of those questions, that will immediately make hiring manages ask why? Why would you want to work from home when you haven’t even worked in the office or experienced the company culture? Unless this was stated in the job description avoid this question at all costs.
“What’s the typical timeframe for being promoted?” There are better ways to get an understanding of the way promotions work, like asking about the history of the position. Understanding how the position has evolved will give you insights into promotions, and opportunities within the company. Hiring managers don’t want to give any false information or wild guesses so this question can really backfire on both ends if asked. While you might be eager to understand the opportunities within the company, be focused on the current role at hand.
“How did I do?” Of course you want to know how the interview went but asking this question can put the interviewer in a tough spot. Instead of asking this question, try asking something more insightful like, “What are the next steps?”
Background checks and drug use questions: These questions are strictly off limits. If you ask a question about either subject, the hiring manager will immediate assume something is up.
It’s best to use common sense when writing up interview questions to ask. Keep your eye on the prize and ask questions to collect information about the job, company, and other factors that will help you and the hiring manager determine if you’re the right fit. Demonstrating you have done research and interest in the position is key to next steps.