Questions you should never ask at a Job Interview

You wouldn’t, would you?


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11 Questions you should NEVER ask at a Job Interview

I have talked about the different types of questions that Interviewers use during interviews in other BLOGs, and also about how to anticipate what questions an Interviewer might choose to put to you.  

Check this out:  "10 Ways to Anticipate Interview Questions".  What many people forget, however, is that a good job interview is a two-way street.  When you attend a job interview you are an interviewer too.  Any interviewer worth their salt will give you an opportunity to ask them some questions and any interviewee that has a brain cell will grasp the opportunity with both hands. Well, yes you say.  So far, so obvious Nick.  And you would be right.  But you would be amazed how often interviewees ask inappropriate questions - questions that lose them the job before they have got it.  And you would be further amazed to learn that some people go into an interview without having prepared a list of questions to ask.  I'll talk about the questions you should ask another time, but this week let's talk about those you most definitely should not. Let's have some examples of questions that people should NOT ask.  What do you reckon to these?

"What's company policy on personal calls in office hours?"

"What's company policy on accessing the internet?"

"How many days sick leave do I get a year?"

"How flexible are you regarding starting and leaving times?"

"How long do I get for lunch?"

"What's the holiday entitlement?"

"How long before I get promoted?"

"What are the opportunities to transfer to a different division?"

"When will I get a pay rise?" "How often are company cars changed?"

"Which model of mobile phone will I get?"

I am cringing just writing these.  But people actually open their mouths and ask such questions.  Why?  Because on one level most of these questions are perfectly reasonable. But not during a job interview.  These "hygiene" or "practical" questions can be asked if you really feel the need, but ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN OFFERED THE JOB!  

The answer to most of them, like the car policy, and the sick leave arrangements, will be outlined  in the offer letter or the contract.  So be patient.  By asking them during your interview all you are doing is undermining your case in the eyes of the interviewer. Asking about sick leave?  The interviewer hears: "I am a malingerer". Which make of mobile phone will I get?  The interviewer hears "All I'm bothered about are the trappings of this job, not doing the job itself". Asking about promotion - they don't hear a question illustrating how ambitious you are.  No, they hear "I am impatient, I only see your piddling little job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things and even though you are going to be investing a lot of time and effort into training me I'm going to be off like a flash at the earliest opportunity".  Or something like that.

Is this fair?  No.  Probably not.   But I'm all about what happens in the real world.  In the case of the sick leave question this is of course perfectly appropriate if you have a genuine reason for asking it.  If you have a medical problem or disability it is important to declare it up front and you have protection under the law.  We live in the 21st century, I'm glad to say.  No problem. But if you are asking because you are perfectly fit and well but sometimes like to extend your weekend by a day - please think again. When you are given the opportunity to ask questions by an interviewer engage brain, and don't ask questions that will put the interviewer off.  

If you like my advice on CVs, Interviews and Job Hunting please sign up for updates, and please tell your friends. If you don’t like my advice – please keep it to yourself.  :-) To get expert help in preparation for an interview, check this out: "Live Interview Preparation".


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