10 Questions NOT to Ask in a Job Interview

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A job interview is a great opportunity for a professional, two-way conversation, but the key to effective dialogue is keeping in mind the word “professional.”

In order to leave a good impression with your potential employer, make sure to avoid these questions when interviewing for a job.

Focusing on what employee recognition actually is will save precious resources, and face. Think of it as a gesture that acknowledges hard work and a job well done. Don’t worry about assigning a specific monetary value, or having the right people aware that you have gone through the trouble acknowledge an employee.

1. What does your company do?
You should know this prior to arriving at the interview. Do your homework and research the company thoroughly for every interview. This will show that you are serious about the role and have taken the time to learn about the organization.

2. Before we proceed, how much does this pay?
While an important question for any job candidate, it’s one that can wait. Often the salary is negotiable or is provided to the candidate later in the interview process; asking up front can make you look greedy.

3. Do you monitor Internet usage?
This is a red flag to any employer that the candidate has intentions up front to waste time at work instead of being a hard-working employee.

4. How many vacation days do you allow?
Again, this type of question will very likely be answered later in the interview process. A candidate whose decision hinges on how much time they can take off work does not appear to be a diligent employee.

5. Can I work from home?
Working remotely has been a hot topic in the staffing world as of late, but it’s still a question best saved for an employee who has been with the organization for a while.

6. Do I have to stay after work/work on weekends?
While no employee wants work to follow them home, staying late when necessary can show an employer that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. Stating up front that you are unwilling to be an effective team member is a bad sign of things to come.

7. Do you perform a background check?
Even if the employer does not typically perform a check, this tips them off to check into your history. Avoid asking this question even if you have nothing to hide, as it causes the employer to seriously question your past.

8. How long is lunch?
Irrelevant to the role and something that will be addressed in your onboarding experience.

9. How long until I get a raise?
Appearing money-hungry might make it look like instead of working your way to the top, you expect to be highly compensated simply for showing up.

10. Are you going to do [this horrible thing your last employer did]?
Save the trash talk. Employers don’t like to hear candidates bad-mouthing their past employers or supervisors, even if they are trying to speak highly of the organization for which they are interviewing. Maintain a positive attitude even when telling stories regarding your previous employment and focus instead on what you learned.


In addition to avoiding these interviewing landmines, always have the right questions prepared. When the employer asks if you have any questions at the end of the interview, it makes you look interested, engaged and curious about the company, the role, and your career objectives.

Stay tuned for What NOT to ask Part Two: Interview Questions to Avoid as the Employer

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  1. Amy L. Adler says:

    Thanks for pointing me to this article (from http://www.careerealism.com/interview-mistakes-sabotage-chances). These are excellent recommendations!

    Amy L. Adler
    Five Strengths Career Transition Experts

  2. Prank says:

    Great article. Actually, if anyone asks one of these 10 questions, it’s the end of the interview. I have not thought of asking more.

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