Questions not to ask during an interview

Towards the end of an interview, almost every employer will […]

Towards the end of an interview, almost every employer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Job applicants should put just as much thought into asking questions as they do answering questions. Whether you intend it or not, each question you ask has the potential to reflect your knowledge of the company, your interest in the position, and your work ethic.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to come up with thoughtful questions for each interview.

On the flip side, there are some questions that it’s never appropriate to ask your interviewer. Here’s a list of questions never to ask an employer during an interview, along with information on why you shouldn’t ask them.

Questions Not to Ask at an Interview

  1. Can I do this job from home?
    If this is a telecommuting job, the job description would have said so. Asking to work from home implies that you dislike working with others, you do not work well under direct supervision, or you have a difficult schedule to work around. Occasionally, employees who have held a position for a long period are allowed to telecommute, but this is not a concession you should ask for on a first interview.
  2. What does your company do?Avoid asking any questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand on the company website.
    These questions demonstrate that you have not done your research, and imply that you are not interested in the position.
  3. When can I take time off for vacation?
    Do not discuss previous commitments before being offered a position. Asking about time off before getting a job offer implies that you are not going to be a fully committed employee.
  4. Did I get the job?
    This question puts employers on the spot and makes you appear impatient. Instead, you could ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. For example, you can ask, “Do you generally do multiple rounds of interviews with job candidates?” However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information before the end of the interview. Here are the best ways to ask for a job, without asking directly for the position.
  5. What is the salary for this position?
    Do not ask this question on a first interview. If you know that you will refuse a job that pays less than a certain amount, you can state the amount in your cover letter. However, if you are even somewhat flexible regarding salary, it is best not to discuss compensation until you are offered a position.
  6. How many hours will I be expected to work each work? Will I need to work on weekends?
    Questions about hours and extra work imply that you are hoping to work as little as possible. A better question would be, “What is a typical workday like?” The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours.
  7. How long would I have to wait to get promoted?
    This question implies that you are not interested in the position for which you are applying, and that you are merely waiting to move on to something better.
    Instead, you could ask the employer, “What are some of the opportunities for growth at this company?”
  8. What type of health insurance does this company offer?
    Wait until you are offered the position before you begin asking questions about benefits. However, if there is a benefit that you require from a job (such as a particular type of health insurance, a daycare program, etc.), bring it up with human resources rather than the interviewer.

More Questions Not to Ask

  • What is the astrological sign of the company president?
  • Can I see the break room?
  • How late can I be to work without getting fired?
  • How long is lunch?
  • Can I bring my dog to work?
  • Will I have to take a drug test?
  • Does this company monitor Internet usage?
  • How many warnings do you get before you are fired?

Originally published on

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