Six Questions You Shouldn’t Ask in a Job Interview

By Chelsea Babin

Preparing for a job interview should mostly be focused on familiarizing yourself with the company, coming up with questions to ask to assess the company culture, job requirements, and company culture, and improving your body language and attire. You’re aiming for the best possible outcome, a job offer you can be excited about! But, keep in mind, knowing what not to say is equally as important as knowing what to say. Avoid these five questions in your next job interview.

1. When can I start using my vacation time? Although this question may be intended as a logistical clarification, it’s not as harmless as it appears. When you ask about the earliest date you can use your vacation time, it might signal to hiring managers that you already have one foot out the door before you’ve even started at the position and adjusted to the requirements and workload you’ll have every day. This question is better left for HR when you’ve been offered the job and need to know the logistics due to an already planned vacation or a desire to understand how your benefits work.

2. What does your company do? This is a question you should never ask during an interview. Instead, familiarize yourself with the company before your interview and feel free to ask them about specifics on current or upcoming projects that you’d be contributing too. But, if you don’t have an idea in general of what the company does, you’ll come across as unprepared and uninterested in taking this job opportunity seriously.

3. How often does everyone hang out after work? Caring about company culture and camaraderie is one thing, focusing on happy hour and the social scene is another. You can ask about the company culture or about how the team works together but hold off on asking about after hours hang outs until you start working there.

4. Will I need to work weekends or extra hours? When you ask this question you may just be trying to get an idea of what your work-life balance might look like but it can often be taken the wrong way. You may appear like you’re trying to put in the least amount of hours and effort possible, which isn’t exactly a selling point to hiring managers. Instead, try asking about what a typical day on the job would look like.

5. If this position doesn’t work out, would you consider me for another opening? You don’t want to knock yourself out of the running for this job before you’ve even finish your interview so you shouldn’t ask this question. This will make it look like you’re applying for any job and ready to accept whatever comes your way rather than focusing on this specific opening. If you’d really like the opportunity to work for this company and you don’t get offered this specific position, feel free to reach out to the people who interviewed you, thank them for their time, and let them know you’d love to be considered for future positions at their organization and why you want to work there.

6. Do I have the job? This question is tricky and, while some people in some industries in some overwhelmingly positive interviews have gotten good results from asking this question, it’s not always the case. If you want to avoid putting your interviewer in an awkward position, save this question for your recruiter or your follow up call a week later. And, even still, you may not want to put it so bluntly.

Preparing for an interview doesn’t have to be difficult. If you want your interview to run smoothly, avoid these questions and instead arm yourself with questions about the company culture, job expectations, upcoming projects, or specific company details to show that you’re prepared, engaged, and truly interested in this position.


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