‘Can I just say, I find you terribly attractive and I wondered if you fancy dinner tonight?’
Writing an article about questions NOT to ask a prospective employer at your interview ought to be a piece of cake.
Here’s another to avoid:
‘So, where did you get the wig?’
But enough silliness!
Let’s focus on those questions that you might actually think about asking, but that would probably be best to avoid.
“Have you got any questions for us?”
It’s that point, usually towards the end of the session, when the panel or sole interviewer will smile and ask:
‘And what would you like to know about us?’ ‘Have you got any questions?”
This is merely a harmless and polite way to end the process, right?
Wrong! You are still on trial here, so you better get ready to impress!
Today, we’re going to go through questions you shouldn’t ask!
1. “When might I expect to be promoted?”
Which roughly translates to: ‘I’ll put up with the job you’re offering now, because I see it as a step towards a better position.’
There is nothing wrong with ambition and indeed very few prospective employers will see anything but good in such a trait.
However, the wording of the question could be a bit better. As it stands, this question makes it look like all you care about is climbing the corporate ladder.
A better question might be: ‘How do you see the role developing in the long term?’
This shows that you’re interested to stick around and see how that specific role will develop in the future – not just getting promoted.
2. “So, what exactly does your company do?”
In other words, I can’t think of anything to say and I haven’t bothered to do even minimal research into your potential future place of work.
But, once again, with a little reworking, the question can show you off in good light. How about: ‘I see that you have just won a contract with Blah Blah.
That’s really exciting, and I would love to learn more about it.
3. “What happens if I am sick?/ Do you offer sick pay?”
…because I am intending to throw a sicky at the first sign of a cough, after a good night out and when I want to do my Christmas shopping…
The only real reason for going down this route in an interview is if you have a pre-existing condition that might mean you are ill on a regular basis.
If that is the case, best to be up front. Whilst some employers will find an excuse not to offer you the job, many will appreciate your honesty and at the same time be aware of discrimination laws.
Leave sick pay (and holidays for that matter) until you have got the job, and then details should be in your contract of employment.
4. “Can I work from home?”
There is nothing wrong with working from home.
It saves commuting, takes away many of the distractions of the office and most of us today have the technology to do the job from pretty much anywhere.
But, while some employers might see home working (sometimes called telecommuting) as a real plus, chances are they will have stated this on the job advertisement, description or mentioned it prior to the interview.
An employer who doesn’t offer this kind of benefit, might find the question quite negative or even indicative of laziness and lack of team spirit.
If you really don’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t offer home working, then check prior to applying for a job/ interview.
5. “What’s the salary?”
Of course, you need to know what you will be earning.
But to ask at interview is a little bit premature and comes off a little rude.
(People do tend to get a little awkward when talking about money).
You should already know the salary range that’s been offered (from the job description or recruiter information).
But if not, wait until you are offered the post, at which stage all employers will be expecting some degree of negotiation.
Remember, you can always turn down an offer if the salary is too low.
6. “Why did the last person leave?”
Which is not really any of your business…
If you have genuine fears that it was because they were mistreated by the company, then why did you attend the interview in the first place?
7. “Did I get the job?”
It’s pretty rare that a single interviewer will make a decision on the spot – so asking this is just going to get a little bit awkward.
Even if they think it went really well, they’ve probably got other people to interview or senior staff to discuss the decision with!
You wouldn’t enter a marathon without training, so don’t go to a job interview without preparation.
You should always have some questions to ask yourself.
Research some good questions – and have a few, so that they can’t all be covered in the actual dialogue.
Basically, your interview preparation really is the key to success. You need to:
- Make sure you research the company
- Ensure that you are ready to answer the most common interview questions.
- BE prepared with some impressive interview questions of your own!
“Anthony is a recruitment veteran of 18 years and is also one of the original founders of Coburg Banks. He now trains recruitment consultants on the best methods to utilise when sourcing and assessing applicants for their clients.”