When you are eager to begin your next journey with a new company, there is not much more exhilarating and nerve-racking than the job interview season. Meeting new potential employers during an interview is an exciting occasion because it acknowledges mutual interest in a likely long-term relationship.
To this point, you have dedicated hours preparing what to say, what to expect, and how to showcase your skills in a manner that convinces your interviewer you are best suited for the job. However, it is essential to remember that the interview is a two-way street, and you will be expected to ask questions. This can be a tricky line to walk as you balance 1) uncovering the unknowns surrounding the job while 2) staying appropriate and professional as not to deter your interviewer.
Your closing questions should not be a deep dive into specific company issues, nor should they be overly basic questions. Don’t tarnish any rapport you’ve built with your interviewer and spoil your shot at the job through incompetence. Here are a few questions you would be best suited to AVOID bringing up during your first-round interviews:
“What Does This Job Entail?”
At this point, you should have a decent understanding of the role you applied for and should avoid this generalized question. Instead, focus on specific aspects of the job, such as your daily responsibilities, who you will manage, or who you will be managed by. Ask about what future goals or projects they have in place and what you should prioritize within the role.
In a broader light, you can inquire about the work culture and work environment you will be joining.
*Pro-Tip* Look back on the notes you’ve taken throughout the interview and pose a question based on your interviewer’s own words. Seeking further insight on a topic they covered will not only show you are a good listener but reiterates your interest in the job as well.
“What Is The Salary For This Position?”
The subject of salary and bonus potential is not deemed appropriate for you to bring up as the candidate. Leave this topic for the employer to reveal in a second or third-round interview or, to ask you directly: “What are your salary demands?” To answer this question, offer a specific range based on the research you have conducted for the position, location, industry, and experience level. Providing this range will leave room for compromise and negotiation.
“What Exactly Does Your Company Do?”
Again, posing basic questions like this reveals a lack of preparation and a lack of interest to your interviewer. Either you failed to review the job description thoroughly, or you failed to conduct fundamental research into their website. Both will be seen as a red flag to any hiring manager or recruiter. As a general rule, you should never ask any question that you could have quickly answered for yourself online.
While you are expected to bring a blank notepad to track the information you receive during the interview, there is a similar expectation that you arrive with notes as well. From insight on the company’s mission statement, core values, target audience, provided resources, current challenges, and top competitors, speaking to these topics rather than asking about them will show you did your homework and are invested in making the most of your interview and interviewer’s time.
“What Is Your Policy On PTO & Health Benefits?”
Details surrounding paid vacation, 401k contributions, and provided health benefits can often weigh into your decision-making, but requiring this information early on will have your interviewer questioning your priorities. The more conventional approach is to evaluate these features in a later round of interviews or when weighing multiple job offers. Additionally, your immediate inquiry into paid time off will have employers questioning your commitment. If the details are not already revealed in the job description, it’s safe to assume the benefits will not surpass the industry standard.
“When Will I Be Up For A Promotion?”
While giving the impression that you are eager to grow and take more responsibility is admirable, your interviewer may not be keen to hear you are already looking beyond the job for which you are applying. Basic interview etiquette suggests that you should not be looking ahead to a new salary and job description before you’ve even been offered the job at hand.
Instead, ask your interviewer to define success within the role and provide an example of growth within the company. Turn your focus toward how you can impact the company rather than how it can best serve you. As the candidate being evaluated, you want to show you are ready to work hard and grow within the company rather than quick to pursue the next best opportunity.
Other Questions To Avoid (Which Shouldn’t Need Explaining)
– “Do I need to pass a drug test?”
– “Do your employees get breaks and if so, how long?”
– “Can I do this job from home?”
– “Will I be asked to work weekends or stay late?”
– “Will you be checking my references?”
– “Do you like your job?”
– “Do you have other openings I can apply for?”
Stay tuned for next week when I break down the meaningful, thought-provoking questions you should be asking during your interview.