10 Questions to Avoid Asking During an Interview

Often, as an interview winds down, you’re hit with that familiar phrase, “Do you have any questions for me?” Your aim should be to come forward with insightful questions, ones that reflect your attentiveness and thoroughness in researching both the company and the role in question. At the minimum, it’s crucial to have something to ask.

Many hiring professionals concur that responding with, “No, I have no questions,” is a clear misstep. Many employers say it is immensely disappointing when an interviewee has no questions. But it is also important to ask the right questions, which also means, avoiding the wrong questions. Below are 10 questions to avoid asking during an interview.

1. “What are the salary and benefits for this role?”: Topics like benefits and salary aren’t usually broached until a job offer is in the mix. It’s advisable to steer clear of anything that could possibly make you look money-motivated. Companies are more comfortable investing in candidates who are joining for reasons outside of financial gain.

2. “Why” Questions: Such questions can often come across as accusatory. For instance, instead of asking, “Why did the company have layoffs?”, you could frame it as, “I came across news of the company’s layoffs. What are your thoughts on the company’s future prospects?”

3. “Who’s Your Rival?”: This can show a lack of preparation on your part. It’s key to discern whether your question can be answered with a simple online search. If it can, not only should you refrain from asking, but you should’ve researched beforehand.

4. “How Regular Are Performance Reviews?”: Questions about performance reviews can send the wrong message. It might suggest you’re apprehensive about receiving negative feedback.

5. “How flexible are the work hours?”: Although many are looking for work-life balance, hinting at personal needs too early may signal to the interviewer that you’re prioritizing your requirements over the company’s.

6. “How often would I need to work over 40 hours a week?”: This can sound like you’re hoping to do the bare minimum. A better way to inquire might be, “What’s the typical workday like here?”

7. “Would you like me to share some references?”: Sharing references too hastily can seem like you’re overly eager and possibly desperate. Interviewing is like dating and It’s all about pacing yourself.

8. “How Quickly Can I Get a Promotion?”: This might paint you as presumptuous and overconfident.

9. “Do you have surveillance software on your work computers, or do you monitor your employee’s social media accounts?”: In the digital age, this is a concern for many. However, even hinting at it might suggest you have skeletons in your digital closet. The golden rule? Stay professional online and at work.

10. “What does the company do?”: Do your homework. Understand what the company does and the fundamental ethos and objectives of the company. Bring them up organically during the interview. This not only shows your commitment but will also leave a lasting positive impression.

The art of interviewing is a delicate balance between showcasing your skills and expressing genuine interest in the company. While it’s essential to ask questions that reflect your research and eagerness to join the team, it’s equally crucial to sidestep questions that might cast a shadow on your professionalism or intent. By reframing potentially problematic questions or avoiding them altogether, you can present yourself in the best possible light. Remember, every question you ask not only reveals your knowledge but also paints a picture of your character, aspirations, and values. Choose wisely, and you’ll undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.