What Not to Ask in the Interview Room

  • Posted by: Chaloner

There always comes a moment in the interview when the people across the table ask the candidate what questions they have. This can be a stressful moment for candidates who may have not have given it thought prior to the interview. While we’ve written about great questions candidates can ask in this scenario, this week’s blog post is about highlighting a few questions to avoid asking so as not to accidentally undo the great work you did in the rest of the interview.

Don’t look underprepared
Even if you’re panicking, don’t ask a question that you already know the answer to, or that could have been answered with an Internet search. Excellent candidates will have researched the company and the leadership as well as important initiatives, accounts, and campaigns at the company. It would be a big red flag for potential employers to have to field a simple question.

Don’t raise eyebrows
You may be interested in applying to other jobs within the company or their background check process, but asking about these things can unfortunately send the wrong message— that you’re disinterested in this particular opportunity or that you have some reason to want to avoid a background check. Questions like “How quickly can I be promoted?” or “When can I start applying to other positions within the company?” can leave a funny taste in the HR manager’s mouth and can also make you look a little suspicious. Trust the process and know that information is coming to you. If you’re working with a recruiter, they may have some of that information that you can ask about. Recruiters want to give you as much information as possible so you can verify that this opportunity is the right one for you.

Don’t get into the nitty-gritty
Your initial interview may get you excited, but it’s not the time to iron out details about compensation, benefits, or time off. Be careful not to put the cart ahead of the horse, and also be aware that at the time of your interview, even the company may not have a clear answer. They may be working with a range for potential salary and it’s important to not be presumptuous and jump to that conversation before getting further along in the process.

Don’t focus on the interviewer too much
Sometimes, when candidates are nervous, their casual chit-chat turns into a reverse interview in which the candidate asks extensive questions about the interviewer’s background. While it’s alright to ask the interviewer relevant questions, don’t focus too much on their background or personal life. Not only are they there to find out more about you, it can also feel like a violation of privacy to get too many personal questions. Use your gut and read the room!

While HR managers and employers love to get thoughtful questions about the role or the company, don’t push it. If you don’t have any questions at the moment, it’s completely okay to say so!